Known in many circles as the „Academic‰ Heisman, the Draddy Trophy continues to be one of college football‚s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.
"The Draddy epitomizes everything right about college football," said NFF President Steven J. Hatchell. "By recognizing this group, we highlight the countless hours and demands that each college football player must balance as they pursue their dreams of a higher education and their passion for football. The NFF has both the privilege and responsibility to pay tribute to this exceptional group of role models, who truly embody the term student-athlete."
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, semi-finalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Established to honor former NFF Chairman Vincent dePaul Draddy, a Manhattan College quarterback who founded the Izod and Lacoste brands, the award comes with a stunning 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
Alabama nominee DeMeco Ryans is on track to be graduated in December with a degree in management in just seven semesters at Alabama. The senior linebacker from Bessemer is a 2005 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar and on the Lott Trophy watch list. He was the 2005 male recipient of the Bryant Award, symbolic as the athletics department's top student-athlete. He is a three-time Academic All-Southeastern Conference selection. He earned the Mal Moore Leadership Award following spring practice.
With a 3.5 average GPA and majors such as biomedical engineering, the group includes 106 players who have earned all-conference recognition on the field and 125 captains. The offensive line produced the most nominees with 45. Linebackers came in second with 30 candidates. Offense outscored the defense with 88 to 80 hopefuls. The 16 special teams aspirants complete the contingent. Nominees hail from all NCAA divisions and the NAIA: 63 from Division I-A; 44 from Division I-AA; 20 from Division II; 43 from Division III; and 14 from the NAIA.
The NFF Awards Committee, comprised of former coaches, Hall of Famers and college administrators, will select and announce 15 finalists on Oct. 27. The winner, also selected by the committee, will be announced at the 48th NFF Awards Dinner on December 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Each finalist will also be recognized that night as part of the 2005 National Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship.