Brian Robiskie had a head start on balancing sports and school.
"My mom always threatened to sit me from football if my grades weren't good enough," he said Wednesday afternoon at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center. "When I got here, I didn't have to think about it too much because it was always grades come first, then you take care of football, so for me to have those fundamentals growing up made it easier."
What has followed for the Chagrin Falls product is a college career in which he has already caught 115 passes for 1,629 yards and 21 touchdowns and been named Academic All-Big Ten and Academic All-American.
Wednesday he added National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award winner and Draddy Award nominee to his list of accomplishments.
"It's definitely a big honor," said Robiskie, who will receive a post-graduate scholarship of $18,000. "I have to give all the credit to my parents. Growing up in a household that stressed academics, getting an education was the biggest thing for them. I know that both of them are proud."
So, too, is OSU head coach Jim Tressel.
"Brian is a good football player – everyone knows that," Tressel said. "He's an excellent leader as evidenced by the fact that his teammates voted him captain. He was the Arthur Ashe Award winner and has fabulous academics and community service and all of those things that lend to becoming a finalist for an award like the Draddy. It's exciting for us because that would be neat to get another Draddy Award winner."
Two previous Buckeyes – quarterbacks Bobby Hoying in 1995 and Craig Krenzel in 2003 – have won the Draddy Award, which is often referred to as the "Academic Heisman".
Robiskie, who is scheduled to receive a degree in marketing at the conclusion of winter quarter, said the culture Tressel has cultivated at Ohio State lends itself to having players qualify for such honors.
"For all the guys who might not have an opportunity to get this award, they're all taking part in what Coach Tressel does getting us out in the community, getting us to a lot of the hospitals in the area, getting us to a lot of schools," Robiskie said. "He really stresses that in coming here to be a part of this program, it's big for us to pay forward and continue to reach back to the community and touch those people."
Robiskie is the 20th Buckeye to win an NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award, meaning Ohio State ties Nebraska with the most NFF National Scholar-Athletes in the 50 years of the program. Notre Dame and Penn State are tied in third place with 15 NFF National Scholar-Athletes each.
Ohio State's previous NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award winners are Arnie Chonko (1964), Willard Sander (1965), Dave Foley (1968), Rex Kern (1970), Randy Gradishar (1973), Brian Baschnagel (1975), James Laughlin (1979), Joe Smith (1982), John Frank (1983), Dave Crecelius (1984), Mike Lanese (1985), Joe Staysniak (1988), Gregory Frey (1990), Gregory Smith (1992), Joey Galloway (1994), Bobby Hoying (1995), Greg Bellisari (1996), Ahmed Plummer (1999) and Craig Krenzel (2003).
The Foundation's National Scholar-Athlete Awards program consists of graduate fellowships that are awarded on an annual basis to a select group of college football players in their senior year of eligibility who have demonstrated outstanding academic success, exemplary community leadership and superior football performance.
Each recipient travels to New York City as the guest for the Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, where they sit on the dais for the College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.
At the same event this season, former Ohio State head coach John Cooper and assistant coach Lou Holtz will be inducted into the hall of fame, and OSU director of athletics Gene Smith will receive the John L. Toner award for his work "demonstrating superior administrative abilities", especially in relation to college football.
The other finalists for the Draddy Award are Andrew Berry (Harvard), Ryan Berry (South Dakota State), Chase Daniel (Missouri), Brian Freeman (Carnegie Mellon, Pa.), Casey Gerald (Yale), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Quin Harris (La. Tech), Jeff Horinek (Colorado State), Ryan Kees (St. Cloud State, Minn.) Alex Mack (California), Ryan McDonald (Illinois), Greg Micheli (Mount Union), Darryl Richard (Georgia Tech) and Louis Sakoda (Utah).