Eslinger Named Draddy Trophy Finalist

Gophers center Greg Eslinger up for scholar-athlete award.

University of Minnesota All-American center Greg Eslinger was named one of 16 members of the 2005 National Scholar-Athlete Class as selected by the National Football Foundation. Chosen from a pool of 184 nominees, Eslinger receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship and is now a finalist for the Draddy Trophy, which recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Eslinger was the only student-athlete selected from the Big Ten Conference and he will be honored at the 48th NFF Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

To be considered for the award, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of athletic eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.0, be a starter with outstanding football ability and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship qualities.

On the field, Eslinger is regarded as one of the nation's premier offensive linemen. He was recently named a Lombardi Award semifinalist for the second consecutive season and could become the only player in Minnesota school history to be named a consensus All-Big Ten selection three consecutive seasons. A two-time team captain, Eslinger has been a cornerstone of Minnesota's offense for four straight seasons, starting every game during his collegiate career. The 6-3, 285-pound center from Bismarck, N.D., has helped lead a Gopher offense that ranks first in the nation in rushing yardage (299.1 ypg) and third in the Big Ten and tenth in the nation in total offense (490.3 ypg).

Equally competitive in the classroom, Eslinger boasts a 3.4 GPA, majoring in health and wellness studies. He was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Second team in 2004 and is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.

Additionally, Eslinger has helped organize shoe collections and gathered donations for underprivileged children while volunteering in the community. He has also assisted with Special Olympics.

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