FRISCO, Texas (NDSU Athletics) -- North Dakota State tight end Ben Ellefson won the NCAA Elite 90 Award presented Friday, Jan. 4, at the NCAA Division I Football Championship banquet at Toyota Stadium.
The award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average at each of the NCAA's 90 national championships. Ellefson, a junior from Hawley, Minn., has a 3.941 GPA in sport management.
An award founded by the NCAA, the Elite 90 recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers.
"It's about managing time well. We talk about that a lot from the moment we arrive as freshman at NDSU," Ellefson said. "Having football helped with my time management. It made me have to be on top of things because, if I didn't, it would come back to bite me. You have to always be aware of what you need to get done as a student."
Ellefson garnered Missouri Valley Football Conference all-academic first team honors. He will graduate in the spring with a sport management degree and plans to start work on a master's degree in physical education and leadership.
No. 1-ranked North Dakota State (14-0) faces third-ranked Eastern Washington (12-2) in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at Toyota Stadium live on ESPN2.
NDSU's Elite 90 Award Winners
2011 - Amy Anderson, women's golf
2011 - Whitney Carlson, women's outdoor track and field
2013 - Esley Thorton, football
2014 - Carson Wentz, football
2015 - Carson Wentz, football
2016 - Carson Wentz, football
2016 - Clay Ream, wrestling
2017 - Clay Ream, wrestling
2018 - Daniel Polansky, football
2018 - Clay Ream, wrestling
2019 - Ben Ellefson, football