COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. - Senior Trevor Heitland (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) has been named one of four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, given to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III.
Heitland is joined by Monmouth senior linebacker Matt Barnes, Saint John's senior linebacker Carter Hanson and Linfield senior quarterback Sam Riddle. The award is presented by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University.
With 223.92 all-purpose yards per game, Heitland led NCAA Division III in the category. He also led the nation with 1,913 yards rushing and ranked second with 159.4 yards rushing per game. His 114 points scored ranks 10th in the nation, as do his 19 total touchdowns.
Heitland selection as a finalist is the third time a Kohawk has been selected. Carey Bender was a finalist in 1993 and 1994, winning the award in 1994. Coe joins Central and Simpson as the only schools in the Iowa Conference with three or more finalist.
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 will be on hand for the announcement of the winner and presentation of the trophy at the banquet, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
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 semifinalists were selected by the J-Club Board of Directors. The Gagliardi Trophy national-selection committee is comprised of 40 former college football players, former Gagliardi Trophy recipients, business leaders, academicians and sports writers from around the country. Each casts a ballot ranking the finalists.