COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. - Senior Trevor Heitland (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, an award given to the most outstanding player in NCAA Division III football.
Heitland is one of nine seniors and a junior that make up the semifinalists for the 2016 Gagliardi Trophy, an accolade presented by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III.
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.
The 24th Gagliardi Trophy will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Salem, Va., at a banquet kicking off the Division III championship weekend, which culminates in the Stagg Bowl on Friday, Dec. 16. The four finalists, who will be announced on Dec. 6, will be on hand for the announcement of the winner and presentation of the trophy at the banquet.
The trophy design features a sculpture of Gagliardi and a player, representing the teacher-coach and the student-athlete in a one-on-one sideline consultation. Hand-cast in bronze on a polished wood base, the trophy stands nearly two feet tall and weighs approximately 64 pounds. The words "The Gagliardi Trophy presented by Jostens & J-Club" are printed on the acrylic panel behind the figures. The words "Division III 2016 Player of the Year" and "Honoring Excellence in Football, Academics and Community Service" are etched on two panels below the figures.
Nominations were submitted by colleges across the country, and the final 10 were selected by the J-Club Board of Directors. The Gagliardi Trophy national selection committee is comprised of 40 former small college football players, former Gagliardi Trophy recipients, business leaders, academicians and sports writers from around the country. Each casts a ballot ranking the 10 semifinalists. A fan vote, which will serve as the 41st committee member, will be launched on D3football.com Nov. 21 and run until Monday, Dec. 5. Fans can click here to vote for Heitland.
Heitland was one of the nine semifinalists that played in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs last weekend. Six of the nine advanced to the second round this weekend. Heitland is one of two running backs that were selected to be semifinalists.
Heitland currently leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game (224.73) and rushing yards (1,870). His 170.0 yards per game ranks second in the nation, while he ranks eighth in the nation with 114 points scored.
The Kohawks are no strangers to the Gagliardi Trophy, as Carey Bender was a finalist in 1993 and 1994. Bender won the award in 1994.
Coe, ranked 16th in the nation, returns to action on Saturday, as they travel to third-ranked St. Thomas in the second round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. in Saint Paul, Minn. A link to live video and statistics will be available at CoeAthletics.com.