Andrew Banuskevich: Capital One Academic All-American

The Norwich University football team takes pride in working hard to achieve success; not only success on the field but in the classroom as well. Head coach Mark Murnyack reminds his players that the Norwich Education’s importance is a founding principle in the football constitution.

One player who has exemplified these aspects of being a NU football player is junior punter Drew Banuskevich. His hard work on both the gridiron and the classroom have paid off.

This past fall Banuskevich, from Peterborough N.H., earned an Eastern Colligate Football Conference (ECFC) Honorable Mention for his outstanding job pinning opponents back and giving the Cadets great field position.

Not only is he an excellent punter, but also Banuskevich is a Sports Medicine major with an overall GPA of 3.83. His scholarly work has earned him another honor.

Banuskevich has been named to the Capital One Academic All-American team, an extremely prestigious honor for honor for a colligate student athlete. Every season Capital One recognizes student athletes from across the nation. Performing extremely well in the classroom and in the athletic venue is the qualifications for this honor. Banuskevich has met these standards.

“Balancing school and football has been easy for me. I love learning and I love football. It is easy to make time for both when both are important to you,” Banuskevich said.

Murnyack says that is Banuskevich work ethic, discipline, and character that allow him to perform so well academically and athletically.

“We are very proud of Drew for this accomplishment.  Being an outstanding student-athlete requires a great amount of commitment and discipline, both qualities that Andrew possesses,” Murnyack said.

Fellow junior Jimmy LaBell a linebacker from Stanhope, N.J., came in with Banuskevich in 2010 and he has watched the punter develop.

“Andrew really came into his own and was a weapon for us last year.  I had known him since we were freshmen and I knew right away what a great student he was,” LaBell said.

“He was someone I admired because of his hard work and determination. Andrew was buried on the depth chart his freshmen and sophomore year, and now look he is one of the best punters in the league,” LaBell said.

The reason Banuskevich was buried was because of the tremendous amount of talent the Cadets boasted on their special teams. Some of this talent included All ECFC punter Brian Seigett, and “All- World” kicker Long Ding.

Seiget was recruited by Division I programs to punt, but because he was such an athlete he chose to play wide receiver at NU.  Eventually his punting talents became such a weapon for the team, they could not risk injury to him at the receiver position so he became a full time punter.

Ding was an international sensation who was twice an all ECFC all conference kicker, multiple times a ECFC special teams player of the week and, the kicker from China’s latest claim to fame an invite to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ mini-camp last spring. Ding is expected to get further looks from other professional teams.

Ding served not only as the kicker, he punted for the Cadets his senior year after Seiget graduated.

“Having kickers like Seig and Ding above me was awesome,” Banuskevich said. “In high school all I did was kick field goals and play other various positions. I never really punted until my freshman year here.”

“Those two really taught me key little techniques that helped me improve drastically. It never really got frustrating. They both had great personalities and taught me a lot,” he said.

The young punter was adjusting to college academics and learning the art of punting from his older teammates. He had chosen to attend Norwich, in large part because his father is in the military.

Banuskevich, who also cited academics as a leading reason to come to Norwich thought he to would want a military. However, a heart-murmur prevented him from doing so.

“Luckily, it did not prevent me from playing football here,” he said.

His hard work and determination helped him move up the depth chart. “I have seen guys come and go. A lot of us were stars in high school so it is hard to sit the bench freshmen year. Andy did and his hard work now pays off,” LaBell said.

While his teammates have noticed the punter’s unique qualities, he was somewhat surprised, but mostly honored when he learned of his accolade.

“When capital one recognized me, I was honored. It is always nice to be recognized for things you do. I was just doing my job, being a student athlete, and to be recognized for it is awesome,” Banuskevich said.

Having a Banuskevich type of student athlete is good for any college program. He has set an example for his teammates to follow.

“This is something that every player in this program strives for and should aspire to achieve. This is everything that college football is about, being one of the nation’s top performers in the classroom and on the field.  We are excited to have him back for another year,” Murnyack said.

Look for the Banuskevich to help the Cadets this fall as they work towards winning their third ECFC championship in five years. But also look for the punter who is used to landing perfectly placed punts, to land a nice job after he graduates thanks to his hard work.



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