Dec. 15, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior James Oleinik added to an awards-filled postseason by being selected as the 2008 Nils V. “Swede” Nelson Award winner. Presented at the “Bob” Whelan College Awards Dinner by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston, the “Swede” Nelson Award is the fourth-oldest nationally recognized collegiate football award in the nation.
The Nelson Award is given annually to the “very best, and most academically talented,” college senior in New England, playing at the Division II and III levels. Oleinik started all 10 games for the Engineers this past season, and was the dominant force behind MIT’s impressive running game.
As the starting right guard, Oleinik helped produce the NCAA’s ninth-best rushing attack (275.4 yards per game) while the Engineers as a group yielded just six sacks. Oleinik, who hails from Ellicott City, Md., was named the New England Football Conference (NEFC) Offensive Lineman of the Year for the second straight season in addition to First Team All-Division plaudits. Named team captain for the 2008 campaign, Oleinik was also a semifinalist for the coveted Draddy Trophy.
In the classroom, Oleinik has maintained a 4.6 grade point average while pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering. Adding the 6.170 Anti-Chess Artificial Intelligence Tournament Championship to his list of academic accolades, Oleinik earned a Northrop Gruman Engineering Scholars Scholarship.
Given annually since 1946, the Nelson Award follows only the Heisman, Maxwell, and The Gridiron Club’s own “Bulger” Lowe in longevity.