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Football: Morgan a Draddy Trophy Semifinalist

Morgan a Draddy Trophy Semifinalist
Football  10/11/2007  Courtesy RaginCajuns.com
 

 
DALLAS – Selected as the best and the brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) today announced the 153 semifinalists for the 2007 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the NFF 2007 National Scholar-Athlete Awards.

Ragin’ Cajuns senior safety Lamar Morgan appears on the list. Morgan boasts an accomplished football career at Louisiana-Lafayette. 

One of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, the Draddy Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.

Morgan has been viewed as a warrior by coaches and is well respected by and inspirational to his teammates.

A bad knee injury cost him the final three games of his freshman season and the entire 2004 season. After much hard work and dedication, Morgan was back on the field in 2005. He led the team with 26 tackles and an interception through the first five games.  In the seventh game of the season, Morgan suffered a deep leg laceration that cost him two of the last four games.

Morgan had hip surgery after the 2006 season. 
His teammates are very aware of the sacrifices Morgan has made to try and help the Cajuns win.  In fact, Morgan was not fully recovered from hip surgery entering fall camp in 2007, but was still voted as a team captain.  He missed the season opener, but returned for the Cajuns second game of the season.

Through all the tough times, Morgan still remains a standout on the football field and in the classroom.  He has either been on the Sun Belt Conference Honor Roll or Commissioner’s list every year since he began his collegiate career.

"The NFF is extremely proud of this year’s group of semifinalists," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "Their substantial commitment to academic excellence, athletic prowess and community service is commendable, and it is our responsibility to honor them for their dedication on and off the playing field. These players are the greatest illustration of how we hope to build leaders through football."

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, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Established to honor former NFF Chairman Vincent dePaul Draddy, a Manhattan College quarterback who developed the Izod and Lacoste brands, the award comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.

This year’s semifinalists maintain a 3.58 average GPA in diverse majors such as physics and ocean engineering. Sixty-six players have earned all- conference recognition on the field and 106 have served as captains. The offensive line produced the most nominees with 31 candidates. Receivers and linebackers followed with 26 nominees each. Offense outscored the defense with 80 to 53 hopefuls. Twenty special teams aspirants completed the contingent. Nominees hail from all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, including a record 67 contenders from the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A).

The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 25. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2007 National Scholar- Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Draddy winner, who will receive a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship, will be announced at the NFF’s Annual Awards Dinner on December 4 at the prestigious Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.

Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to credit a player for both academic and athletic accomplishments. The Draddy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program’s mystique. Past Draddy winners, including two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, a Heisman winner and a 3.7 average GPA, are: Chris Howard (Air Force, 1990); John B. Culpepper (Florida, 1991); Jim Hansen (Colorado, 1992); Thomas Burns (Virginia, 1993); Robert Zatechka (Nebraska, 1994); Bobby Hoying (Ohio State, 1995); Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1996); Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997); Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1998); Chad Pennington (Marshall, 1999); Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska, 2000); Joaquin Gonzalez (Miami, 2001); Brandon Roberts (Washington University-Mo., 2002); Craig Krenzel (Ohio State, 2003); Michael Munoz (Tennessee, 2004); Rudy Niswanger (Louisiana State, 2005); and Brian Leonard (Rutgers, 2006).

FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION SEMIFINALISTS
(Formerly Division I-A)

School — Nominee
Arizona — Spencer Larsen
Arizona State — Michael Marquardt
Arkansas — Farod Jackson
Arkansas State — Matthew Reibe
Army — Connor Wicklund
Auburn — Cole Bennett
Boise State — Nick Schlekeway
Boston College — Nicholas Larkin
Bowling Green State — Kory Lichtensteiger
Brigham Young — Matthew Allen
Buffalo — Jameson Richard
Central Florida — Keith Shologan
Central Michigan — Thomas Keith
Cincinnati — Glenn Bujnoch
Colorado — Kevin Eberhart
Colorado State — Jesse Nading
Duke — Patrick Bailey
Eastern Michigan — Kenneth Bohnet
Florida Atlantic — Zachary Wichner
Fresno State — Clint Stitser
Georgia Tech — Kevin Tuminello
Illinois — J Leman
Indiana — Kevin Trulock
Iowa — Mike Klinkenborg
Iowa State — Bryce Braaksma
Kent State — Matthew Muller
Kentucky — Jacob Tamme
Louisiana-Lafayette — Lamar Morgan
Louisville — Daniel Barlowe
Memphis — Jake Kasser
Middle Tennessee State — Clinton Corder
Minnesota — Anthony Brinkhaus
Mississippi State — Dezmond Sherrod
Missouri — Matthew Crossett
Navy — Gregory Veteto
Nebraska — James Phillips II
New Mexico — Cody Kase
North Carolina — Joseph Dailey
North Texas — Raifu Durodoye, Jr.
Notre Dame — John Carlson
Ohio — Chidozie Nwokocha
Oregon — Dennis Dixon
Purdue — Jared Armstrong
Rice — Robert Heos
Rutgers — Brandon Renkart
SMU — Benjamin Poynter
Southern Mississippi — Jeremy Young
Syracuse — Ryan Durand
TCU — Chris Manfredini
Tennessee — Erik Ainge
Texas — Dallas Griffin
Texas A&M — Cody Wallace
Texas Tech — Alex Trilica
Toledo — Brett Kern
Troy — Gregory Whibbs, Jr.
Tulsa — Paul Smith
UCLA — Christopher Joseph
Utah — Stephen Tate
Vanderbilt — Hamilton Holliday
Virginia — Michael Santi, Jr.
Wake Forest — Zachary Selmon
Washington — Cody Ellis
Washington State — Alex Brink
West Virginia — Bobby Hathaway
Western Kentucky — Marion Rumph
Western Michigan — Anthony Gebhart
Wisconsin — Luke Swan