January 17, 2014 04:20PM
By Sean Krofssik
Wallingford’s Brett Biestek has had a stellar collegiate career on the field at Fordham and has been even more successful in the classroom.
The defensive lineman out of Sheehan was one of 43 players nationally named to the 16th annual Football Championship Subdivision Directors Association’s Academic All-Star Team.
“It certainly feels good to be recognized academically,” Biestek said. “There is certainly a perception that many football players don’t go to class, but we actually perform in the classroom as well.”
Along with the FCS honor, Biestek was recently named Capital One Academic All-America and Academic All-Patriot League.
“It’s a great feeling because not many people are chosen as Academic All-American,” Biestek said. “I think it’s easier to focus on school work during the football season because I only have a certain amount of time to get everything done. It’s a very tight schedule and I do my assignments right when I get them.”
Whatever Biestek has done in the classroom, it’s worked. He graduated with a finance major in 3 1/2 years and walked in a December ceremony with a 3.78 GPA. He is now enrolled in Fordham’s MBA program.
“As a student-athlete, this is probably the highest honor you could get,” Fordham head coach Joe Mooreland said. “It’s a very difficult to do, but this is what the Patriot League and Fordham are all about: getting a degree and winning national championships. He has already done the first part.”
On the field, Biestek has been a stalwart on the defensive line. He played in all 14 games this fall as the Rams reached the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs and finished ninth in the NCAA FCS Sports Network poll and 10th in the NCAA FCS Coaches Poll, the highest rankings ever for Fordham at the end of a season.
Fordham had it’s most successful season on the gridiron with a 12-2 mark and Biestek was named a first team All-Patriot League lineman.
“He had a huge impact on the team,” Moorhead said. “The defense ranked at the top of the Patriot League and Brett made game-changing plays.”
Biestek piled up 58 total tackles, 40 of them solo,. He had 14.5 tackles for a total loss of 74 yards, including sacks for 36 yards. He also had five quarterback hurries, four pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
Biestek tied for second in the Patriot League in tackles for loss per game (1.04) and tied for seventh in sacks per game (0.36).
In his Fordham career, Biestek has 86 total tackles, 58 solo, including 20 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He also has eleven pass breakups.
Biestek, who just had offseason shoulder surgery, still has one year of eligibility left and he has the highest expectations for the Rams in 2014.
“We have a ton of guys coming back from a great season,” Biestek said. “We have a great opportunity to win a national championship. We expect it. If we go out and work for it, then we can win it.”
Moorhead, who was an assistant at UConn for three years, said Fordham returns the offensive and defense player of the year and several standouts next fall, including defensive back Jordan Chapman of Southington.
“There is unfinished business,” Moorhead said. “We were two games short of a national championship last year, but we are going to have to work harder next year to reach our goals.”
Biestek, who was a standout quarterback at Sheehan, said he has learned a lot about football playing at the Division I level.
“It’s entirely different mindset playing on this team,” Biestek said. “When I graduated from high school I thought I knew football. I had no idea there is so much that goes on. I’m still learning the game and knowing more about it has made it even better and easier to play.”