Nine quarterbacks and one running back are finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, awarded each year to honor the outstanding NCAA Division III football player. Sponsored by Jostens and the Saint John’s University, Minnesota, J-Club, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service.
The winner of the Gagliardi Trophy is selected by a national selection committee comprised of coaches, sports writers, community leaders and former Division III student-athletes enshrined in the National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame. This will be the second year fans will be able to rank the 10 finalists and cast an electronic ballot that collectively will be added to the 35 votes of the national selection committee. Ballots may be cast immediately through 12:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, December 9 at www.d3football.com. Fans may only vote one time.
The trophy is named for Saint John’s University head football coach John Gagliardi, the first active head coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2006) and the coach with the best winning record in college football history with a record of 461-125-11 (.781). Gagliardi set the all-time win record on November 8, 2003.
The 16th annual Gagliardi award will be presented on Thursday, December 18, in Salem, Va., as part of the festivities leading up to the Division III National Championship game played in Salem on Saturday, December 20.
NCAA Division III Gagliardi Trophy Finalists:
Jordan Berg, Augsburg College (Minnesota) senior QB, West Region is a resident of Gaylord, Minnesota. At 6-2, 207, he is an all-conference performer and finished the season ranked number two in Division III in pass completions per game with 29.7, ranked number three in total passing yards with 3,226 and threw for over 300 yards in six games. He is a physics major with a 3.80 GPA and volunteers at a local food shelf and with the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Jason Boltus, Hartwick College (New York) senior QB, East Region is a resident of Baldwinsville, New York. At 6-4, 220, he topped the nation in 2008 with a single-game mark of 558 yards passing and led the nation with an average of 397.6 yards passing per game and is ranked number three in passing efficiency at 172.9. He is a pre-med major and is active with the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, campus blood drive and Habit for Humanity.
Justin Feaster, Hardin-Simmons University (Texas) junior QB, South Region is a resident of Glen Rose, Texas. At 6-1, 210, he led team to a 9-1 record and berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs. He threw for 2,717 yards and 27 touchdowns, rushed for 7 touchdowns and ranked number five nationally in passing efficiency at 171.64. He is a two-time academic all-conference winner as an education and economics major and a Special Olympics volunteer.
Juan Joseph, Millsaps College (Mississippi) senior QB, South Region is a resident of Edgard, Louisiana. At 6-2, 188, he completed nearly 70% of his passes for 2,778 yards and 28 touchdowns. He helped his NCAA playoff team attain Millsaps’ first ever 10-victory season and is a candidate for the Conerly Trophy as the state’s top player. A business major, he is a member of the Black Student Association and involved with the Deuce McCallister Catch 22 Foundation.
Greg Micheli, Mount Union College (Ohio) senior QB, North Region is a resident of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. At 6-3, 203, he is the nation’s number one passer with a 215.8 rating on 28 touchdowns with only two interceptions. He directed the nation’s top offense (551.43 yards/game) in a return to the playoffs. With a 3.84 GPA in physics and math, he is a semifinalist for Draddy Trophy, a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and volunteers in an elementary school program.
Jack Rafferty, Otterbein College (Ohio) post-grad QB, North Region is a resident of Columbus, Ohio. At 6-1, 195, he led the team to a 9-1 record and post-season berth. His pass efficiency rating at 162.2 was number 11 in the nation. A religion major, he received the college’s New Testament Award and is presently pursuing a masters in business administration. He volunteers by serving food at a local food kitchen.
Chad Rupp, Franklin College (Indiana) senior QB, North Region is a resident of Evansville, Indiana. At 6-1, 200, with a 7-0 league record, he helped his team win its second straight conference championship NCAA berth. He threw 32 touchdown passes and ranked number eight in passing efficiency (166.7). He is a recreation (physical education) major and volunteers at Second Helpings, an Indianapolis mission and has helped raise funds for Special Olympics.
Dominic Sulo, North Central College (Illinois) junior RB, West Region is a resident of Oak Forest, Illinois. At 5-10, 200, he is the conference rushing leader and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. He helped his team go 10-0 for a NCAA playoff berth and had five games with over 100 yards rushing. A marketing and management major, he is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and active with the “Into the Streets” volunteer initiative.
Bobby Swallow, Washington and Jefferson College (Pennsylvania) senior QB, East Region is a resident of Salem, Ohio. At 6-2, 210, the conference MVP guided his team to the playoffs. Ranked number nine nationally in passing efficiency at 166.5, he threw for 33 touchdowns this year. A business administration major, he is active with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, peer mentor program, Relay for Life and Special Olympics.
Dan Whalen, Case Western Reserve (Ohio) junior QB, North Region is a resident of Cleveland, Ohio. He is a four-time conference athlete of the week and led the league with 1,973 passing yards and passing efficiency at 155.4. He threw for 17 touchdowns and rushed for four on the way to the NCAA playoffs. An English and psychology major, he interned at Sports Illustrated, writes for the student paper and volunteers with a Cleveland youth program.
Additional information can be found at www.gojohnnies.com/gagliarditrophy
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About Saint John’s University J-Club
Founded in 1959, the Saint John’s University J-Club is a dues-based booster organization of former Johnnie student-athletes, parents and fans, and plays a key role in support of the SJU varsity programs, intramurals and club sports.