Oct. 29, 2008
BERKELEY - California senior center Alex Mack has been selected one of 15 finalists for the 2008 Draddy Trophy by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, an award that is presented to the top football scholar-athlete in the country. As a finalist, he will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average 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. Selected by the NFF Awards Committee, the 15 National Scholar-Athlete Award recipients will be honored at the 2008 NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 9 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The event will also include the induction of the 2008 College Football Hall of Fame and the presentation of several major awards.
"We set extremely high standards just to be considered as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete class," said NFF chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Draddy winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "These individuals far exceed even those high standards, defining well-rounded excellence throughout their college careers. They are true ambassadors of our mission and a testament to the positive influence of football's ability to build our nation's future leaders."
Mack is the third Cal player to be named an NFF Scholar-Athlete, joining previous recipients Je'Rod Cherry (1995) and Pat Newell (1959).
A first-team Pac-10 All-Academic and ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District choice last year, Mack is one of the most accomplished offensive linemen in the nation. Already this season, he has been named a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award and a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. He was also chosen a midseason first-team All-American by College Football News and a second-team midseason All-American by PhilSteele.com.
As a junior in 2007, Mack earned the Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-10, an award voted on by the conference's defensive linemen. He was chosen a first-team All-American by The Sporting News, as well as first-team All-Pac-10.
"This year's selection process was incredibly difficult, as all 164 semifinalists were more than worthy of this award," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "We feel the 2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class is the most complete group - academically, athletically and in the community - we've ever showcased, and the finalists are without a doubt the most outstanding student-athletes among all college sports."
Each Draddy finalist will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one of the 15 will be announced as the recipient of the 2008 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. 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 increases the winner's scholarship to $25,000. A total distribution of more than $275,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
The 15 individuals are:
Andrew Berry - CB - Harvard
Ryan Berry - QB - South Dakota State
Chase Daniel - QB - Missouri
Brian Freeman - OT - Carnegie Mellon (Pa.)
Casey Gerald - CB - Yale
Graham Harrell - QB - Texas Tech
Quin Harris - LB - Louisiana Tech
Jeff Horinek - LB - Colorado State
Ryan Kees - DE - St. Cloud State (Minn.)
Alex Mack - C - California
Ryan McDonald - OL - Illinois
Greg Micheli - QB - Mount Union (Ohio)
Darryl Richard - DT - Georgia Tech
Brian Robiskie - WR - Ohio State
Louie Sakoda - P/K - Utah
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is recognized as the first and most prestigious initiative in the history of college sports to honor football players for their combined athletic ability, academic success and civic leadership. This year's class members finds themselves in good company, as former National Scholar-Athletes 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).
Each will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and one of the 15 will be announced as the recipient of the 2008 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. 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 increases the winner's scholarship to $25,000. A total distribution of more than $275,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
For more information, visit footballfoundation.com.