Vols Erik Ainge A 2007 Draddy Trophy Semifinalist

Selected as the best and the brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) today announced the 153 semifinalists for the 2007 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the NFF 2007 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 NFF is extremely proud of this year's group of semifinalists," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "Their substantial commitment to academic excellence, athletic prowess and community service is commendable, and it is our responsibility to honor them for their dedication on and off the playing field. These players are the greatest illustration of how we hope to build leaders through football."

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, 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 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.

This year's semifinalists maintain a 3.58 average GPA in diverse majors such as physics and ocean engineering. Sixty-six players have earned all- conference recognition on the field and 106 have served as captains. The offensive line produced the most nominees with 31 candidates. Receivers and linebackers followed with 26 nominees each. Offense outscored the defense with 80 to 53 hopefuls. Twenty special teams aspirants completed the contingent. Nominees hail from all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, including a record 67 contenders from the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A).

The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 25. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2007 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 4 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. 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); Michael Munoz (Tennessee, 2004); Rudy Niswanger (Louisiana State, 2005); and Brian Leonard (Rutgers, 2006).

2007 NATIONAL SCHOLAR- ATHLETE NOMINEES AND
DRADDY TROPHY SEMIFINALISTS:

FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION
(Formerly Division I-A)

School -- Nominee
Arizona -- Spencer Larsen
Arizona State -- Michael Marquardt
Arkansas -- Farod Jackson
Arkansas State -- Matthew Reibe
Army -- Connor Wicklund
Auburn -- Cole Bennett
Boise State -- Nick Schlekeway
Boston College -- Nicholas Larkin
Bowling Green State -- Kory Lichtensteiger
Brigham Young -- Matthew Allen
Buffalo -- Jameson Richard
Central Florida -- Keith Shologan
Central Michigan -- Thomas Keith
Cincinnati -- Glenn Bujnoch
Colorado -- Kevin Eberhart
Colorado State -- Jesse Nading
Duke -- Patrick Bailey
Eastern Michigan -- Kenneth Bohnet
Florida Atlantic -- Zachary Wichner
Fresno State -- Clint Stitser
Georgia Tech -- Kevin Tuminello
Illinois -- J Leman
Indiana -- Kevin Trulock
Iowa -- Mike Klinkenborg
Iowa State -- Bryce Braaksma
Kent State -- Matthew Muller
Kentucky -- Jacob Tamme
Louisiana-Lafayette -- Lamar Morgan
Louisville -- Daniel Barlowe
Memphis -- Jake Kasser
Middle Tennessee State -- Clinton Corder
Minnesota -- Anthony Brinkhaus
Mississippi State -- Dezmond Sherrod
Missouri -- Matthew Crossett
Navy -- Gregory Veteto
Nebraska -- James Phillips II
New Mexico -- Cody Kase
North Carolina -- Joseph Dailey
North Texas -- Raifu Durodoye, Jr.
Notre Dame -- John Carlson
Ohio -- Chidozie Nwokocha
Oregon -- Dennis Dixon
Purdue -- Jared Armstrong
Rice -- Robert Heos
Rutgers -- Brandon Renkart
SMU -- Benjamin Poynter
Southern Mississippi -- Jeremy Young
Syracuse -- Ryan Durand
TCU -- Chris Manfredini
Tennessee -- Erik Ainge
Texas -- Dallas Griffin
Texas A&M -- Cody Wallace
Texas Tech -- Alex Trilica
Toledo -- Brett Kern
Troy -- Gregory Whibbs, Jr.
Tulsa -- Paul Smith
UCLA -- Christopher Joseph
Utah -- Stephen Tate
Vanderbilt -- Hamilton Holliday
Virginia -- Michael Santi, Jr.
Wake Forest -- Zachary Selmon
Washington -- Cody Ellis
Washington State -- Alex Brink
West Virginia -- Bobby Hathaway
Western Kentucky -- Marion Rumph
Western Michigan -- Anthony Gebhart
Wisconsin -- Luke Swan

FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION
(Formerly Division I-AA)

School -- Nominee
Alcorn State -- Antonio Cooper, Jr.
Austin Peay State -- James Williams, Jr.
Brown -- Steven Morgan
Bucknell -- Nicholas Mozal
Charleston Southern -- Nick Ellis
Coastal Carolina -- Elliott McKinnon, Jr.
Columbia -- Justin Smith
Dayton -- Brandon Cramer
Delaware -- Michael Byrne
Delaware State -- Josh Brite
Eastern Illinois -- Jordan Campanella
Eastern Kentucky -- Justin Curry
Eastern Washington -- Thomas McAndrews
Elon -- Charles Porterfield
Georgetown -- Kyle VanFleet
Hampton -- Marcus Dixon
Harvard -- Noah Van Niel
Idaho State -- Sterling Mennear
Iona -- Christopher Lofrese
Maine -- Shawn Demaray
Montana -- Torrey Thomas
Norfolk State -- Andre Twine
North Carolina A&T -- Oritz Green III
Northeastern -- Anthony Orio
Northern Colorado -- Aaron Henderson
Northern Iowa -- Chad Rinehart
Princeton -- Brendan Circle
Sacramento State -- Ryan Coogler
Sacred Heart -- Jason Richardson
Samford -- Jefferson Adcock
South Dakota State -- Parker Douglass
Southeast Missouri State -- Adam Casper
Southern Illinios -- Nick Hill
Tennessee Tech -- John Jackson
Texas State -- Nicholas Clark
Towson -- John Webb
Valparaiso -- Justin Wiler
Wofford -- Kevin Adleman
Yale -- Alan Kimball
Youngstown State -- Thomas Zetts

DIVISION II

School -- Nominee
Ashland (Mich.) -- Vincent Cashdollar
Chadron State (Neb.) -- Daniel Woodhead
Concordia (Minn.) -- Kole Goodchild
Delta State (Miss.) -- Michael Eubanks
Hillsdale (Mich.) -- Mark Nicolet
Midwestern State (Texas) -- Anthony Burson
Minnesota State, Mankato -- Spencer Dickinson
Minnesota, Duluth -- Britt Baumann
Missouri Southern State -- Colin Bado
Missouri-Rolla -- Ashton Gronewold
North Dakota -- Weston Dressler
Slippery Rock (Pa.) -- Michael Butterworth
Southeastern Oklahoma State -- Cliff Eddings
Southwest Minnesota State -- Tyler Fischer
Virginia State -- Theodore Washington
Wayne State (Mich.) -- Frank Lietke

DIVISION III

School -- Nominee
Allegheny (Pa.) -- Mateo Villa
Augustana (Ill.) -- Joel Campbell
Bridgewater (Va.) -- Jefferson Highfill, Jr.
Case Western Reserve (Ohio) -- Thomas Brew
Centre (Ky.) -- Christopher Riney
Emory & Henry (Va.) -- Matthew Assenat
Gettysburg (Pa.) -- Kyle Luciano
Greensboro (N.C.) -- Christopher Palme
Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) -- Jared Sieling
Illinois College -- Jake Weller
Lewis& Clark (Ore.) -- Mike Wennerlind
Mount Union (Ohio) -- Frederick Safran
Saint John's (Minn.) -- John Cloeter
Shenandoah (Va.) -- Chris Dooley
St. Olaf (Minn.) -- Matthew Penz
Thiel (Pa.) -- Michael Stimac
Trinity (Conn.) -- Benjamin Willig
Wabash (Ind.) -- Brian Hilts
Wartburg (Iowa) -- Kyle Duchman
Washington Univ. in STL (Mo.) -- Kevin Brooks
Wesleyan (Conn.) -- Zachary Librizzi
Western New England (Mass.) -- Kevin Miculcy
Widener (Pa.) -- Jamie Schild
Wisconsin-Eau Claire -- Anthony Hull

NAIA

School -- Nominee
Bethel (Tenn.) -- Knox Baggett
Carroll (Mont.) -- Nick Milodragovich
Eastern Oregon -- Michael Eby
Jamestown (N.D.) -- Nathan Pederson
Northwestern (Iowa) -- Scott Stahl
Urbana (Ohio) -- Kevin Weber

Story Courtesy: NFF


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