Football: Mount Union's Alex Kocheff Named Finalist For Gagliardi Trophy

Alex Kocheff (Photo by Steven Kachilla)
Alex Kocheff (Photo by Steven Kachilla)

Fan Vote Form

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- University of Mount Union senior safety Alex Kocheff (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) has been named one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy given to the top all-around football player in NCAA Division III.

Kocheff is a two-year team captain and one of the leading tacklers on the nation's top rated defense.  He has 54 tackles, 0.5 sacks, a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception this season as Mount Union won its 24th consecutive and 27th overall OAC title.

He is a three-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference first team selection who in 2014 was the conference's defensive back of the year and an All-American.

Off the field, the Exercise Science major with a 3.10 grade point average, has been involved in a variety of campus leadership and community service efforts.  Headlining those is organizing the Raider Buddy program which had 70 football players visiting local elementary schools to read and mentor students.  He was also involved in a fitness initative with Mount Union students at Alliance City Schools along with volunteering with Trick or Treat with the Raiders, Relay for Life, Be The Match and the Rodman Public Library.

A record six Purple Raiders have won the Gagliardi Trophy seven times. 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, quarterback Greg Micheli won the award in 2008 then Burke in 2013 and 2014.

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 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. 16 as part of festivities leading up to the NCAA Division III National Championship game, the Stagg Bowl, in Salem, VA.

2015 Gagliardi Trophy Finalists

  • Alex Kocheff, safety - University of Mount Union
  • Joe Callahan, quarterback - Wesley (Del.) College
  • Kodie McNamara, linebacker - Gettysburg (Pa.) College
  • Matt Pawlowski, quarterback - Guilford (N.C.) College
  • Jessie Ramos, wide receiver/returner - Hardin-Simmons (Texas) University
  • Logan Schrader, quarterback - Wartburg (Iowa) College
  • David Simmet, offensive tackle - University of St. Thomas (Minn.)
  • Matt Snebold, offensive tackle - Wheaton (Ill.) College
  • Sam Sura, running back - St. John's (Minn.) University
  • Dayton Winn, running back/returner - Hendrix (Ark.) College