BATON ROUGE - The Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes honored six LSU student-athletes as part of their academic achievements and community service for April.
Each month, five student-athletes are recognized for their academic improvement, dedication and proven ability. In addition, one student-athlete is chosen through LSU's Student-Athlete Affairs program for their volunteerism and commitment to the community.
April’s student-athletes of the month are Roger Anderson [Men’s Tennis], Cleveland Davis [Football], Anthony Jennings [Football], Jeanne Kenney [Women’s Basketball] and Maliah Mathis [Gymnastics]. Kaitlin Burns [Women’s Tennis] was selected as the Shaquille O'Neal Life Skills Program Student-Athlete of the Month.
Anderson, Davis and Jennings are majoring in sport administration, while Kenney is a sports studies major. Mathis is majoring in interdisciplinary studies, and Burns is a mass communication major.
Burns, a senior women’s tennis player from Wilmington, N.C., plays primarily in the top spot in singles and claims the No. 3 doubles position with partner Ella Taylor. Her quick victory over Mizzou’s then-No.114 Cierra Gaytan-Leach propelled the Lady Tigers to tally a 6-1 triumph and their first conference win of the season, and her consistent performance garnered her current No.123 spot in the national rankings by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). This summer, Burns will participate in the Nike Summer Internship Program held at Nike’s World Headquarters, an honor only 10 students are selected for yearly. Helping out the community is also a factor for Burns, as she has made multiple visits to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital to interact with its many patients and their families.
A senior men’s tennis player from Coppell, Texas, Anderson plays primarily court two doubles with partner Olivier Borsos and has notched victories in singles against opponents from then-No.54 South Florida and the formerly 28th-ranked Indiana this season. Anderson also competed for the consolation singles title at the USTA/ITA Southern Regional tournament in the fall.
Davis, a junior defensive lineman from Baton Rouge, La., competed in the Tigers’ 63-14 triumph over the University of Idaho during the 2012 season and was a participant in LSU’s recent Pro Day, where he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.46 seconds. Also active in the community, Davis read books for students at two elementary schools as part of March’s Read Across America, created by the National Education Association. His other community service events include a visit to Whealdon Estates Independent Senior Living Community, speaking to the children of Guardian Angels Daycare Summer Camp about achieving their goals and taking part in the Allstate BCS Service Project to renovate the Boys & Girls Club in New Orleans. His hard work in the community does not prevent him from excelling in the classroom, as Davis claimed 2012 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll honors.
A freshman quarterback from Marietta, Ga., Jennings joins the Tigers as a consensus four-star prospect by all of the major recruiting publications. He made the finals of ESPN Rise’s Elite 11 passing competition and was named the MVP of the Elite 11 Atlanta Region over 86 quarterbacks from 19 states. As a December high school graduate, Jennings is participating in spring football practices and connected four-of-nine passes during a recent scrimmage in Tiger Stadium.
Kenney, a junior guard from Baton Rouge helped lead the women’s basketball team to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2008. This season, Kenney played in 32 games while earning 24 starts at the point guard position. She averaged 5.5 points per game to go along with 4.3 assists per contest, eighth-most in the SEC. Her 2.0 assists-to-turnover ratio also ranked fourth on the SEC leaderboard. Off the court, Kenney assisted in facilitating a free basketball clinic for the students of the Louisiana School for the Deaf, volunteered at the Charlie’s Place Respite Center and offered her time to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Her involvement in the community garnered her a spot on the 2013 SEC Community Service Team and earned her the honor of being selected as January’s Shaquille O'Neal Life Skills Program Student-Athlete of the Month.
A junior all-around gymnast from San Antonio, Texas, Mathis helped the team capture the NCAA Columbus Regional title for the first time since 2009, advancing the Lady Tigers to the NCAA Championships. With a 9.90 score on her floor routine, she also assisted LSU in claiming the top team floor total of the meet. Mathis earned SEC Specialist of the Week honors following impressive scores in both floor and vault during the Metroplex Challenge, and her hard work for the team and in the classroom earned her a Student-Athlete of the Month selection in August of 2012.
For putting forth extra effort in the classroom and community in addition to their rigorous academic and competition schedules, these six student-athletes will have their pictures displayed on the wall in the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes.