Oct. 2, 2008
DALLAS, Texas - Selected as the best and brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the 164 semifinalists for the 2008 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the 2008 NFF National Scholar- Athlete Awards. MIT senior guard James Oleinik was listed among the honorees.
"The Draddy Trophy is one of college football's most sought after and competitive awards," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (Draddy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "It recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership, and we're incredibly proud to select the next winner from this remarkable group of semifinalists."
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 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Established to honor former NFF Chairman Vincent dePaul Draddy, a Manhattan College quarterback who developed the Izod and Lacoste brands, the award comes with a 25- pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
"The Draddy semifinalists represent everything good about college football," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "They are another fine example of how football builds leaders, and it is the NFF's duty to promote their accomplishments while encouraging future generations of gridiron standouts to aim high on and off the football field."
The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 29. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2008 National Scholar- Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Draddy winner, who will receive a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship, will be announced at the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner on December 9 at the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
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, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a Heisman winner. The University of Texas's Dallas Griffin was named the 2007 Draddy recipient.
Notable NFF National Scholar-Athlete alumni include NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker (Oregon State), Gary Beban (UCLA); Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Danny Wuerffel (Florida).