Junior quarterback Kevin Burke from Mount Union (Ohio), senior quarterback McCallum Foote from Middlebury (Vt.), senior linebacker Cole Klotz from Wisconsin-Whitewater and senior running back Octavias McKoy from Western Connecticut State have been named finalists for the 2013 Gagliardi Trophy, given to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University (Minn.).
The trophy will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 18, in Salem, Va., at a banquet kicking-off a series of Division III Stagg Bowl championship events. The final four candidates will be on hand for the banquet.
The Gagliardi Trophy, given annually since 1993, recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is named after John Gagliardi, Saint John's legendary Hall of Fame head football coach, who retired in November 2012 with 489 career victories, the most in college football history. Gagliardi will receive the National College Football Awards Association's Contributions to College Football Award during the Home Depot College Football Awards show, which will be televised live on ESPN, at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 12.
Background on the 2013 Gagliardi Trophy final four candidates, including statistics through the end of the regular season, academic major and community service is listed below.
Both Burke and Klotz are playing in the Division III semifinals Dec. 14 and are one win away from meeting Dec. 20 at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem. Foote is a two-time Gagliardi Trophy finalist, while McKoy ended the regular season as Division III’s leader in scoring (17.3 ppg.) and rushing touchdowns (26).
- Kevin Burke, University of Mount Union (Ohio)
5-10, 190 | Junior | Quarterback | Business Administration
Westlake, Ohio/St. Edward H.S.
-Second in Division III in passing efficiency (193.7) and third in points responsible for (234)…24-0 record as a starting quarterback…led Mount Union to 2012 national title…volunteers with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Mount Union Relay for Life.
- McCallum Foote, Middlebury College (Vt.)
6-4, 201 | Senior | Quarterback | Economics
Newton, Mass./Noble and Greenough School
-Division III leader in completions/game (32.4) and second in passing yards/game (345.8)…Capital One Academic All-American…volunteers with Special Olympics and served on leadership team for “Team Impact Program”…also served as a teacher’s assistant in Spain.
- Cole Klotz, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
6-4, 245 | Senior | Linebacker | Cell Physiology
Elm Grove, Wis./New Berlin Eisenhower H.S.
-Leading tackler (70) on defense that finished the regular season second in Division III in scoring defense (8.0 ppg.) and seventh against the run (75.4 ypg.)…2013 WIAC Player of the Year…volunteer engagement includes WIAC Food Drive, local meal program and food pantry.
- Octavias McKoy, Western Connecticut State University
5-10, 191 | Senior | Running Back | Professional Writing
Stratford, Conn./Stratford H.S.
-Division III leader in scoring (17.3 ppg.) and rushing touchdowns (26)…second in all-purpose yardage (206.4 ypg.) and rushing yards (1,715)…set a then-NCAA All-Divisions record with 455 rushing yards Oct. 26…volunteer engagement includes local bone marrow registry drive and road race to benefit the Newtown (Conn.) Police Union.
Gagliardi Trophy nominations were submitted by 16 colleges across the country. The 10 finalists were selected by the J-Club Board of Directors and the final four were determined by a national selection committee composed of 38 former small college football players, business leaders, academicians and sports writers from around the country. Each committee member cast a ballot ranking the 10 finalists.
College football fans also voted online, and their tally represented the 39th committee member. Senior defensive lineman Adham Talaat from Gallaudet (D.C.) received the highest number of online fan votes with 9,542.
Six other standout student-athletes were considered for this year’s Gagliardi Trophy:
- Graham Craig, LaGrange College (Ga.)
5-11, 185 | Junior | Quarterback | Accounting
Hoover, Ala./Spain Park H.S.
-Division III leader in passing yards (3,571), third in passing touchdowns (32) and sixth in completions/game (28.3)…member of Georgia Society of CPA’s and Sigma Alpha Pi (Leadership Honor Society)…volunteers with the American Red Cross Blood Drive and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club.
- Austin Damaschke, Concordia University (Wis.)
6-0, 191 | Junior | Quarterback | Biomedical Science
Bristol, Wis./Westosha Central H.S.
-10th in Division III in points responsible for (204) and 11th in passing yards (2,846)…set two conference career records and eight school records in 2013…volunteers with various team fundraisers, at church and with local blood drives.
- Kyle Linville, Franklin College (Ind.)
6-1, 185 | Senior | Wide Receiver | Quantitative Analysis/Economics
Speedway, Ind./Speedway H.S.
-Fourth in Division III in receiving touchdowns (13), seventh in receiving yards (1,155) and eighth in receptions/game (8.3)…two-time Academic All-Region…holds every school receiving record…volunteers with underprivileged youth, the Special Olympics and coordinated a dance marathon for cancer research.
- Adham Talaat, Gallaudet University (D.C.)
6-6, 275 | Senior | Defensive End | Physical Education
Springfield, Va./West Springfield H.S.
-Helped lead Gallaudet, the nation’s deaf and hard-of-hearing university, to program’s first ECFC title and playoff appearance…team is 12th in Division III in total defense (260.5 ypg.)…two-time Academic All-Region…volunteers with freshmen move-in day, construction and maintenance of on-campus garden and Relay for Life.
- Keith Welch, Jr.; Lewis & Clark College (Ore.)
6-0, 190 | Senior | Quarterback | Rhetoric and Media Studies
Vallejo, Calif./Fairfield H.S.
-Fourth in Division III in points responsible for/game (23.1), fifth in total offense/game (347.6), seventh in passing yards/game (304.0) and eighth in passing touchdowns (28)…volunteers with freshmen move-in day, peer mentorship and as a local care provider/counselor.
- Erik Westerberg, Augustana College (Ill.)
6-3, 215 | Senior | Linebacker | Mathematics/Secondary Education
Elmhurst, Ill./York H.S.
-19th in Division III in solo tackles/game (6.8)…two-time Academic All-American…member of Pi Mu Epsilon, a math honor society…volunteers with Athletes Giving Back, Habitat for Humanity and Relay For Life…organized an event where students with disabilities met players and played a simulated game with current team.
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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. Saint John's is a private liberal arts college for men located in Collegeville, Minn.