You'd be hard-pressed to find a statistic where USF football has made progress every season since joining the Big East, but that can be said for the steady rise in the number of Bulls players honored on the Big East's annual All-Academic team, which recognizes players who maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average after at least two semesters of college.
USF had 18 players make the All-Academic team, continuing a streak of equaling or improving that total every season since the Bulls joined the league in 2005. That first year, USF had five players honored, then seven after the 2006 and 2007 seasons, then eight after 2008, 13 for 2009, 16 in 2010 and now 18 players.
This year's list includes six Bulls who were honored for the third year in a row -- former Bulls Chaz Hine, Joel Miller and Armando Sanchez, as well as three rising seniors for 2012 in kicker Maikon Bonani, linebacker Mike Lanaris and tight end Evan Landi. Three more players were honored for the second year in a row -- offensive lineman Steven Jacques, receiver Lindsey Lamar and walk-on defensive back Saki Mihalakos.
The 18 Bulls were split evenly between nine scholarship players and nine walk-ons -- the first-time honorees were defensive tackle Luke Sager and eight walk-ons: tight end Robert Arnemann, linebacker Sharly Azard, receiver Jordan Duval, quarterback Baylin Trujillo and defensive backs Patrice Pierre, Brandon Salinas, Allen Singleton and Ernie Tabuteau.
In fairness, we should also mention that USF's 18 players is the second-lowest total among the Big East's eight football schools. Syracuse led the way with 28, followed by West Virginia (27), Rutgers (26), Cincinnati (23), Connecticut (22), Louisville (22), USF (18) and Pittsburgh (16). Here's the full release from USF's official site.