Scottie Williams, senior running back for Elmhurst College, was named a Top 4 Finalist for the 2012 Gagliardi Trophy, which is given to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University of Minnesota. The winner will be announced on Wednesday in Salem, Va.
Williams was named to the Top 10 finalists in November after his stellar performance with Elmhurst College this season.
The Bluejays' record-breaking season came to an end in the second round of NCAA playoffs against the University of St. Thomas (Minn.).
Williams, a marketing major, led the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin in rushing, with 1,153 yards. He closed out his CCIW career ranked second all-time, with 3,507 rushing yards. He was named conference offensive player of the year; second in rushing nationally and seventh in scoring. He is an Academic All-American and is active with campus interfaith and community service projects.
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 with 489 career victories, the most in college football history.
Rounding out the Top 4 are Zach Autenrieb from Thomas More College, Luke Heinsohn from Washington and Lee, and Nathan Wara from Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Following is a little background on the other three finalists from the SJU's gojohnnies.com website:
Zach Autenrieb: Thomas More College (Kentucky), senior defensive back, accounting major, national D-III leader with eight interceptions in 2012 (2 returned for TDs), 32 interceptions for his career. Honor roll student, volunteer engagement includes Special Olympics and Relay for Life.
Luke Heinsohn: Washington and Lee University (Virginia), senior running back/place kicker, business administration major . National scoring leader (all divisions) with 180 points, 21 TDs; field goal in 4-overtime win. Off-field engagement includes American Cancer Society, Bike MS, directing fellowship music program.
Nathan Wara: University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, senior quarterback and a physical education major . Helped team to first-ever playoff berth; threw 22 touchdowns and 1 interception in 10 games. Member, all-conference honor roll. Volunteer engagement includes food pantry, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity.
Gagliardi Trophy nominations were submitted by the college presidents at 21 institutions nationwide. Finalists were determined by a national selection committee composed of 38 former small college football players, business leaders, academics and sports writers from around the country. Each committee member casts a ballot ranking the 10 finalists.
College football fans also voted online; Williams received the highest number of fan votes on
D3football.com, with a total of 20,489.
The Gagliardi Trophy will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 12, in Salem, Va., at a banquet kicking-off a series of Division III Stagg Bowl championship events. All four finalists will be on hand for the announcement and presentation.
Read more on the Elmhurst College Bluejays website.