Gagliardi Trophy goes to a lineman
Augustana athletics photo
For the first time in the 16-year history of the Gagliardi
Trophy, the award has been given to an offensive lineman.
On Tuesday, Augustana tackle Blaine Westemeyer will be named winner of the award, which is given to the top Division III football student-athlete and takes on-field performance, academics and community service into account. Fourteen of the previous 15 winners have played either quarterback, running back or wide receiver, with the sole exception being Wesley safety Rocky Meyers in 2004.
The award is named after St. John's coach John Gagliardi, the
winningest coach in NCAA football history.
A four-year starter at offensive tackle, Westemeyer was a big reason why the Vikings consistently ranked in the top 10 in Division III in rushing offense during his first three years. This year Augustana threw the ball quite a bit more and Westemeyer was a big factor as sophomore quarterback David Lee erased Ken Anderson, former NFL MVP, from the school record books twice. He and Lee also shared the team's most valuable offensive player award.
Westemeyer is a biochemistry/pre-medicine major with a 3.94 grade point average. He is a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America and his free time is spent in a variety of community involvement, most notably with Heartland Hospice.
Coach Jim Barnes said, “Blaine is clearly the greatest
player I have been associated with or coached. I have never seen a
player who so clearly dominates his position. In addition, he is by
far the most humble ‘achiever' I have ever been associated
with in sports. He goes about his business, with great success
academically and athletically, quietly and without any
Westemeyer was recently awarded an $18,000.00 William V. Campbell Post-graduate Scholarship by the National Football Foundation at a banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. There were just 16 players, encompassing all divisions, to win this award and only Westemeyer and Hardin-Simmons receiver ZaVious Robbins came from Division III.
Westemeyer will receiver the award at a ceremony in Salem, Va., on Thursday evening, Dec. 17.