Veteran USC DE named first Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Nick Figueroa, USC Football, USC Trojans
Nick Figueroa, USC Football, USC Trojans / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Football DE Nick Figueroa has been named Pac-12 Football Scholar Athlete of the Year by the conference. According to the Pac-12, "The award was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their respective sports disciplines."

Figueroa had 4.5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, and 22 total tackles on the year. Figueroa is the first USC Football player to ever win the award. The award came about during the 2007-2008 school year.

SEE MORE: USC football’s most dominant defenders of all-time, ranked

Therefore, it's important that Figueroa was able to win this one for USC. He finished his bachelor's degree in real estate development in spring 2021, and is getting his master's degree in finance done right now. He had a 3.76 GPA as he was finishing his bachelor's.

Figueroa has a history of academic success. He won the Trojan Howard Jones/Football Alumni Club Academic Award from USC last year. He was named a CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team selection as well last year. Each Pac-12 school can pick one player per sport for the Scholar Athlete of the Year, and Figueroa represents USC.

USC Football DE Nick Figueroa was selected as a David X Marks Scholar Athlete twice.

USC Football DE Nick Figueroa was given that selection both times due to his GPA. Only athletes with GPA's of 3.0 or higher get that recognition. Figueroa has no eligibility left, so his time with football at USC is over. He will be most remembered for his 2020 season--where he posted 3.5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and 20 tackles in the pandemic-shortened six-game season.

Next. Predictions for rest of USC Football season. dark

Academically, though, he'll be remembered for a lot more. Figueroa was the perfect definition of what a student-athlete should be, and took advantage of the elite academic opportunities he earned in his time at USC. Hopefully his teammates who have more eligibility to stay with this program will continue to follow suit.