MORRISTOWN, N.J., October 4, 2005 – Selected as the best of the brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) today announced the 184 semifinalists for the 2005 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the NFF 2005 National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
One of college football's most sought after and competitive awards, the Draddy Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.
"The Draddy epitomizes everything right about college football," said NFF President Steven J. Hatchell. "By recognizing this group, we highlight the countless hours and demands that each college football player must balance as they pursue their dreams of a higher education and their passion for football. The NFF has both the privilege and responsibility to pay tribute to this exceptional group of role models, who truly embody the term student-athlete."
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, semifinalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Established to honor former NFF Chairman Vincent dePaul Draddy, a Manhattan College quarterback who founded the Izod and Lacoste brands, the award comes with a stunning 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
With a 3.5 average GPA and majors such as biomedical engineering, the group includes 106 players who have earned all-conference recognition on the field and 125 captains. The offensive line produced the most nominees with 45. Linebackers came in second with 30 candidates. Offense outscored the defense with 88 to 80 hopefuls. The 16 special teams aspirants complete the contingent. Nominees hail from all NCAA divisions and the NAIA: 63 from Division I-A; 44 from Division I-AA; 20 from Division II; 43 from Division III; and 14 from the NAIA.
The NFF Awards Committee, comprised of former coaches, Hall of Famers and college administrators, will select and announce 15 finalists on Oct. 27. The winner, also selected by the committee, will be announced at the 48th NFF Awards Dinner on December 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Each finalist will also be recognized that night as part of the 2005 National Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship.
Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to credit a player for both academic and athletic accomplishments. The Draddy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique. Past Draddy winners, including two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, a Heisman winner and a 3.7 average GPA, are: Chris Howard (Air Force, 1990); John B. Culpepper (Florida, 1991); Jim Hansen (Colorado, 1992); Thomas Burns (Virginia, 1993); Robert Zatechka (Nebraska, 1994); Bobby Hoying (Ohio State, 1995); Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1996); Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997); Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1998); Chad Pennington (Marshall, 1999); Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska, 2000); Joaquin Gonzalez (Miami, 2001); Brandon Roberts (Washington University-Mo., 2002); Craig Krenzel (Ohio State, 2003); and Michael Munoz (Tennessee, 2004).