Saffell Named Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete Of The Year
SAN FRANCISCO – Cal senior center Michael Saffell was named the 2020 Pac-12 Football Scholar Athlete of the Year the conference announced Tuesday. The award, which is presented in each of the 24 sports sponsored by the Pac-12, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their respective sports disciplines.
"I am so grateful to the Pac-12 for selecting me as the football scholar-athlete of the year," Saffell said. "It is truly an incredible honor. I want to thank the Cal coaches, professors and support staff who have helped me achieve this award. I am so grateful to so many people at the university for all they have done for me in my athletic and academic career."
Saffell becomes the fourth Cal player to win the award since its inception in 2007 and the second in the last four seasons following placekicker Matt Anderson in 2017. Cal's other winners were Alex Mack (2008) and Mike Mohamed (2010).
Saffell earned his bachelor's degree from the Cal's Haas School of Business in three-and-a-half years in December of 2020 and had a 3.62 undergraduate grade point average. He was accepted into the university's Master of Information and Data Science program, which he began in January of 2021.
Saffell is planning to return for a fifth collegiate football season at Cal in the fall of 2021.
In order to be eligible for the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, students must be a senior in athletics ability on track to receive a degree, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least 50 percent of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum of one year residence at the institution. Each Pac-12 institution may nominate one individual per sport, and the winners are selected by a committee of Pac-12 staff members at the conclusion of each sport's regular season. The athletic accomplishments of the nominees are a consideration in voting for the award.
Below are notes on Saffell with an extended bio available by clicking on his name.
Michael Saffell, OL, 6-2, 290, Sr., 3L, Huntington Beach, CA (Edison HS)
– Racked up the honors as a 2020 Cal senior when he named the Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year, as well as second-team (Pro Football Focus), third-team (Sports Pac-12) and honorable mention (Pac-12) All-Pac-12, and was a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy and Wuerffel Trophy honors considered to be college football's premier honors for academics and community service, while he was also a team season captain
– Has played in 28 career games with 23 starts at Cal since his 2017 arrival including all four contests during the team's 2020 season shortened by COVID-19 with his first eight career starts coming at right guard and his next 15 at center
– Honored with the Pac-12's annual academic recognition as a first-team Pac-12 All-Academic selection as a 2018 sophomore and a member of the league's inaugural Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll that replaced its Pac-12 All-Academic teams as a 2019 junior (award has not been announced for 2020)
– Took over from Patrick Laird as the lead ambassador for the Cal Athletics Summer Reading Challenge in 2019 and visited approximately 25 organizations while speaking to over 5000 kids during the summer of 2019 to promote reading and combat summer learning loss before returning in the role in the summer of 2020 and taking the event online due to the COVID-19 pandemic