Known simply as the "Draddy", the Vincent dePaul Draddy Trophy is one of the most distinguished individual postseason college football honors a student-athlete can receive. Although it is virtually unknown by most college football fans, the Draddy is regarded as the "Academic Heisman." It is awarded annually by the National Football Foundation (NFF) since 1990, with past winners such as Peyton Manning and Chad Pennington. California's All-American center Alex Mack is one of the 15 finalists for the 2008 Draddy Award.
The Draddy is awarded to the best American college football player with the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance. It was named in honor of Vincent dePaul Draddy, who served the National Football Foundation and its College Football Hall of Fame for 33 years, including 19 years as Chairman of the Board. Draddy was a Manhattan College quarterback who later went on to develop the Izod and Lacoste brands. His trophy has become the most prestigious and desirable "academic" award in college football.
The trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The trophy was established by Draddy, and after his passing in July of 1990, the National Football Foundation perpetuated his memory and beliefs by establishing a scholarship that would recognize the scholar-athlete who most fully embodies the ideals of the NFF.
"The Draddy Trophy is one of college football's most sought after and competitive awards," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (Draddy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar athletes in 1997 and 2003 respectively. "It recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership, and we're incredibly proud to select the next winner from the remarkable group of semifinalists."
Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour and head coach Jeff Tedford, plus Mack and his family will make the trip to New York City for the Tuesday night ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Along with Mack, the other fourteen 2008 Draddy Trophy finalists are Andrew Berry, Harvard University; Ryan Berry, South Dakota State University; Chase Daniel, University of Missouri ; Brian Freeman, Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), Casey Gerald, Yale University; Graham Harrell, Texas Tech University; Quin Harris, Louisiana Tech University; Jeff Horinek, Colorado State University; Ryan Kees, St. Cloud State University (Minn.); Ryan McDonald, University of Illinois; Greg Micheli, Mount Union College (Ohio); Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech; Brian Robiskie, Ohio State University; Louie Sakoda, University of Utah.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, semifinalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2008 National Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post graduate scholarship. The Draddy winner will receive a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship, plus the 25-pound bronze trophy.
The award is presented by HealthSouth Corporation.