/notables/2017/11/gagliardi-semifinalists-announced

Gagliardi Trophy semifinalists announced

Carter Hanson and his parents
St. John's linebacker Carter Hanson took home the 2016 Gagliardi Trophy.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com

The 10 semifinalists for the 2017 Gagliardi Trophy have been announced, releasing the names on the ballot in voting for Division III football's top student-athlete. The winner will be announced in Salem, with four finalists present for the ceremony. The ceremony, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, will be aired live by D3sports.com.

Nine seniors and one junior make up the 10 semifinalists for the trophy, which is awarded by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University of Minnesota.

The candidates include three quarterbacks, three running backs, two wide receivers, a linebacker and an offensive lineman.

After screening the nominations, the SJU J-Club Board of Directors narrowed the field to 10 finalists. The 40-member Gagliardi Trophy national selection committee reviews the credentials, ranks the candidates 1-10 and casts their votes. Fan balloting, which is available on D3football.com, accounts for the 41st ballot, and is being conducted on D3football.com for the eighth consecutive year. Fans will be permitted to cast one ballot per device, through 1 p.m. ET on Dec. 4. 

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 2012 with 489 career victories, the most in college football history.

In its message to the voting panel, the Gagliardi Trophy administration reminded voters: "The Gagliardi Trophy is a football award but incorporates the philosophy of the well-rounded student-athlete."

 


Austin Breunig Austin Breunig

North Central senior running back; Sandwich, Illinois

The 2017 CCIW Offensive Player of the Year…rushed 212 times for 1,266 yards and 15 touchdowns heading into Division III playoffs…also had 26 receptions for 411 yards and four touchdowns…his 1,686 all-purpose yards was a CCIW record…three-time all-conference selection and a three-time Academic All-CCIW selection…holds North Central single-game records for rushing yards (264), all-purpose yards (350) and points scored (30)….has volunteered with Feed My Starving Children and participated in service events to benefit Special Olympics hosted on North Central’s campus as part of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.


Matt Gono Matt Gono

Wesley senior offensive tackle; Cinnaminson, New Jersey

Has started every game since his freshman season…two-time D3football All-East Region first-team member, and a two-time All-NJAC selection…Wolverines average more than 400 yards of offense per game…Wesley led the NJAC in total offense and points scored going into the NCAA Division III playoffs…member of the Legal Society and Leaders Empowerment for Tomorrow on campus…has been involved with the Reading Across America at local elementary schools, and has collected food for the Delaware Food Bank…volunteer for the North Dover Elementary Field Day, and has volunteered at the Delaware Big Man Camp.


Nick Holcomb Nick Holcomb

UW-La Crosse senior wide receiver; Germantown, Wisconsin

Compiled 80 receptions, led Division III in receiving yards (1,401) and touchdowns (20), which are all single-season school records…set a school record with 15 receptions for 190 yards and two touchdowns against UW-Oshkosh in 2017…had four games with 10 or more receptions…caught a touchdown reception in nine of 10 regular-season games, and had at least two TD catches in six games…posted a four-touchdown, 263-yard receiving game against Ripon (Wis.) and caught a WIAC-record five touchdowns vs. UW-River Falls…volunteers with Veterans Day Breakfast and UW-La Crosse football camps…worked with local high school special needs students teaching life skills…participated in a “Walking School Bus,” leading children to school in the morning.


Brett Kasper Brett Kasper

UW-Oshkosh senior quarterback; Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Named the 2017 WIAC Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons…completed 125 of 191 passes for 2,034 yards with 21 touchdowns and four interceptions in nine games…has a .654 completion percentage and a 186.99 pass-efficiency rating…threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns against Wisconsin-La Crosse this season, and passed for 339 yards and three scores against Wisconsin-Whitewater…has a career record of 37-5 in starting all four seasons for the Titans…led Oshkosh to appearance in the 2016 Stagg Bowl…in January 2017, was the first Division III captain of the Allstate AFCA Good Works team…volunteered with Be the Match…his bone marrow matched a girl in need of a transplant, and underwent the life-saving procedure…regularly volunteers with organizations, including Feeding America and Special Olympics. 


Ty Parsons Ty Parsons

East Texas Baptist senior linebacker; Rowlett, Texas

Has played at the Division I (Georgetown), Division II (Harding) and Division III levels (East Texas Baptist) in his collegiate career…collected 143 total tackles in 2017, including 61 solo and 82 assisted tackles…tied for second in Division III with total tackles…recorded 8.5 tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions…broke the ETBU and American Southwest Conference tackle records…helped defensive unit tie for 10th in Division III in turnover margin…an NFF Campbell Trophy semifinalist this season…works as a security guard on campus…volunteers at a junior-high weekly reading program…volunteers time over the summer helping high school athletes train for their sports…helps at his high school with its elementary-school field days the past two years.


Matt Sacia Matt Sacia

Wartburg junior quarterback; Eldridge, Iowa

Voted the IIAC Offensive Most Valuable Player in 2017…led Knights to fifth undefeated regular season (10-0) in program history…completed 186 of 278 passes for 2,552 yards for 28 touchdowns and only three interceptions…had a school record five-touchdown performance against Nebraska Wesleyan Nov. 11, and tossed four touchdown passes in four other games…ranks seventh in Division III passing efficiency (175.1)…is a two-time All-IIAC selection, in addition to earning Academic All-IIAC honors…serves on the executive team for Wartburg’s Dance Marathon this year, after serving on the at-large committee last year…also volunteers at the annual Unified Sports Day, which is a day of activities with local Special Olympic athletes.


John Smith John Smith

Husson senior running back; Fayetteville, Georgia

Has rushed for at least 1,400 yards in each of his four seasons…in 2017, rushed 265 times for 1,917 yards and 28 touchdowns…averaged 7.2 yards per carry, and 191.7 yards per game…the Eagles averaged 273 rushing yards per game…helped team to 9-1 record and berth in NCAA Division III playoffs…the leading career rusher in Maine and New England college football, regardless of division, with 6,597 yards…ran for 301 yards against Endicott Sept. 30, and rushed for 287 yards and five touchdowns against Mount Ida on Nov. 11…currently sits fourth in career rushing yards in Division III history.


Jordan Wilcox Jordan Wilcox

Springfield senior fullback; Saratoga Springs, New York

The Pride is averaging 450 yards rushing per game, the top rushing offense in the country at any level…Wilcox leads Division III in yards per rush (8.13), fourth in total rushing yards (1,675) and seventh in rushing touchdowns (19)…has rushed for over 200 yards in four games this season, and has five games with at least three touchdowns…named the NEWMAC Offensive Player of the Year….is 267 rushing yards away from breaking the program’s single-season rushing mark…two-time Liberty League All-Academic honoree…is a NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree this season…is involved with Team IMPACT, which supports children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses…has been involved with Be The Match, increasing awareness about bone marrow registry…also has participated in the annual St. Baldrick’s Children’s Cancer awareness event.

 


Evan Wyse Evan Wyse

Trine senior quarterback; Archbold, Ohio

The 2017 MIAA Offensive Player of the Year…led the conference in touchdown passes (17) and ranked sixth in passing yards (1,401) during the regular season…second on team, and sixth in MIAA, with 905 rushing yards…has six 100-yard rushing games this season…has scored or aided in 28 touchdowns…led offensive unit that set single-season records for rushing yards (3,403), rushing touchdown (41), rushing yards per game (340.3), pass efficiency (195.4) and average yards per pass (11.5)…has volunteered helping the Steuben County Humane Society…serves on the Trine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee…has been involved with clean-ups on campus and local highways…volunteered with the March of Dimes and at the Cameron Ball…shoveled snow for elderly members of the community .


Jesse Zubik Jesse Zubik

Washington & Jefferson senior wide receiver; Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Was a Lindy’s Preseason All-American and its Preseason Offensive Player of the Year…a Street and Smith’s Preseason All-American…an NFF Campbell Trophy semifinalist…All-PAC first-team selection…seventh player in Division III history to reach 4,500 receiving yards…enters the Division III playoffs with 65 receptions for 1,210 yards and 14 touchdowns…had 322 receiving yards and six touchdowns against Thomas More on Sept. 16…had 97 receptions for 1,413 yards in 11 games in 2016…has 22 career 100-yard receiving games…holds every career receiving record in the Presidents’ program…off the field, he is involved with the Be the Match bone marrow drive…also participates as a staff member at Washington and Jefferson football camps…was named a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 2016.

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North Central (Ill.) 43, at Christopher Newport 13
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Wesley 69, at Franklin Pierce 0
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at Muhlenberg 45, TCNJ 26
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Ithaca 66, at St. Vincent 28
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at Susquehanna 42, Lycoming 26
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at Washington and Jefferson 16, Wittenberg 8
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at John Carroll 21, UW-Stevens Point 7
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Centre 45, at Hanover 31
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Berry 31, at Maryville (Tenn.) 10
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at Bethel 42, Simpson 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 38, at Monmouth 0
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St. John's 14, at UW-Stout 7
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at UW-La Crosse 21, Concordia-Moorhead 14
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at St. Thomas 69, Trinity International 3
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at UW-Whitewater 42, Dubuque 7
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Mount Union 66, at Rose-Hulman 14
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Hardin-Simmons 64, at Sul Ross State 0
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Washington U. 43, at Chicago 7
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