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 February.
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.
February's student-athletes of the month are Derrick Bryant [Football], Raph Rhymes [Baseball], Michael Saco [Swimming & Diving], Lacey Sanchez [Track & Field] and Paul Turner [Football]. Danielle Martin [Track & Field] was selected as the Shaquille O'Neal CHAMPS/Student-Athlete Affairs Athlete of the Month.
Bryant is an interdisciplinary studies major, while Rhymes is majoring in sports administration. Saco is majoring in general studies whereas Sanchez is an English literature major. Turner is an accounting major, and Martin is majoring in architecture.
Bryant, a senior from Lawrenceville, Ga., served as a backup safety and special teams contributor during his junior and senior seasons. He saw some field action in his freshman and sophomore seasons as a Tiger. He greatly contributed to the 2011 game against Ole Miss, where he took the place of an injured Eric Reid and posted a career-high eight tackles. Bryant is also an active participant in the community, as he joined other football teammates to serve the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank in November.
A junior outfielder from Monroe, La., Rhymes is a significant asset to his team and will serve as starting left fielder and designated hitter in the upcoming season. After transferring from LSU-Eunice, he was named First-Team All-Louisiana and Newcomer of the Year by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association after his first season at LSU in 2011. In addition to his athletic achievement, he was also named to the 2011 SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Saco, a sophomore sprint freestyle and backstroke swimmer from Miami, Fla., competed in eight dual-meets during his freshman season, and he won the 50 free in the meet against Alabama. Saco recently helped his team to a second place finish in the 400 free relay during the Tennessee Invite in November. In January, he joined numerous other student-athletes from varying sports to volunteer for the Allstate BCS Service Project, where they helped to renovate the Boys & Girls Club of New Orleans. In October, Saco also volunteered in the BREC I'm a Good Kid Too Festival, which allowed him to mentor the young kids who attended.
A junior pole vaulter from Baton Rouge, La., Sanchez is expected to be a great talent in the upcoming season. A transfer from Southeastern Louisiana University, she will take part in her first meet as a Tiger this year. Sanchez set the SLU school record in pole vault with a clearance of 13 feet, 1.5 inches, her personal best. She also won pole vault titles outdoors in the Cole-Lancon Twilight, South Alabama Invitational and McNeese State Cowboys Relays.
Turner, a freshman wide receiver from West Monroe, La., led West Monroe High School to a 5A State Championship in 2009 and state runner up in 2010. He was voted the Louisiana Sports Writers Association 5A Most Outstanding Offensive Player his senior year.
A senior thrower from Chalmette, La., Martin competes in weight throw, discus and hammer. She completed an impressive junior season that was initiated by a personal best 20 pound weight throw with a mark of 23 feet and 9.75 inches that earned her a sixth-place finish at the Purple Tiger Invitational. Martin's performance earned the No. 10 LSU all-time outdoor performance in hammer throw. She also played a huge part of the recent Big Buddy Zumbathon, as she is a certified Zumba instructor and led the exercises.
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.