Niswanger a semifinalist for Academic Heisman

LSU senior center Rudy Niswanger is among 184 football players from across the country in all divisions who have been named as semifinalists for the 2005 Draddy Trophy, otherwise known as the Academic Heisman Trophy, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday.

Niswanger, who is in his second year as a starter on the LSU offensive line, recently graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in pre-medicine. Niswanger earned First-Team Academic All-America honors in 2004.

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.

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.

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.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories