COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- University of Mount Union senior safety Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) was named one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy given to the top all-around football player in NCAA Division III.
Driskill has been a consistent performer for four years on one of nation's top ranked defenses. He is a three-time All-OAC selection, including first team nods in 2011 and 2012 and in both those seasons won the OAC's Lee Tressel Award as the conference's top defesive back. In 2011, he was a consensus All-American and the D3football.com 2011 National Defensive Player of the Year. This season he leads the nation's top defense with 63 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He has played in 53 career games with 299 tackles and 50.5 tackles for loss.
Off the field, Driskill, who has a 3.77 grade point average as an exercise science major, is an Academic All-OAC, two-time Academic All-District and an Academic All-American in 2011. He recently was one of 15 players in all levels of college football to be honored with an $18,000 post-graduate scholar athlete award from the National Football Foundation. He has aided in service projects such as Trick-or-Treat with the Raiders and been a volunteer and camp counselor back home in Wabash, Indiana.
A record five other Purple Raiders have won the Gagliardi Trophy. Quarterback Jim Ballard won the inaugural award in 1993, fellow quarterback Bill Borchert in 1997, running backs Chuck Moore and Dan Pugh won the award in 2001 and 2002, while quarterback Greg Micheli won the award in 2008.
The Gagliardi Trophy was first presented in 1993. Since that time, the award has become one of the leading collegiate football awards and is widely recognized as the premier individual award in Division III football, honoring excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is named for John Gagliardi who recently retired after coaching 64 years, 60 of those at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. He is college football's all-time wins leader with 489 victories.
Nominations for the award are made by the college president with supporting letters and credentials provided by the head football coach. After screening the nominations, the SJU J-Club Board of Directors narrows the field to 10 finalists including at least one finalist in each of the four NCAA regions.
The 35-member Gagliardi Trophy national selection committee reviews the credentials, ranks the candidates 1-10 and casts their votes.
For the fourth year, fans will be given one collective vote by casting votes on the web site www.d3football.com. The student-athlete with the highest vote total is named recipient.
The field will be narrowed down to four regional finalists who will be invited to an award dinner where the the winner will be announced at banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 12 as part of festivities leading up to the NCAA Division III National Championship game, the Stagg Bowl, in Salem, VA.
2012 Gagliardi Trophy Finalists
- Nick Driskill, senior defensive back, Mount Union
- Zach Autenrieb, senior defensive back, Thomas More (Ky.)
- McCallum Foote, junior quarterback, Middlebury (Vt.)
- Wyatt Hanus, senior quarterback, Dubuque (Iowa)
- Luke Heinsohn, senior running back/kicker, Washington & Lee (Va.)
- Curtis James, senior center, St. Thomas (Minn.)
- Noah Joseph, senior wide receiver, Union (N.Y.)
- Craig Sykes, senior linebacker, Heidelberg
- Nate Wara, senior quarterback, UW-Oshkosh
- Scottie Williams, senior running back, Elmhurst (Ill.)