Elmhurst College running back Scottie Williams, a Woodridge native and 2009 graduate of Downers Grove South, has been announced as one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, the award that recognizes the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III.
Named for St. John’s football coach John Gagliardi, the recently retired winningest coach in college football history with 489 wins, the Gagliardi Trophy has been awarded annually since the 1993 season, according to a press release. The trophy is presented by Jostens and the J-Club of St. John’s University in Minnesota for excellence in football, academics and community service.
Williams is the first Elmhurst player to be selected as a finalist for the prestigious award, school officials said.
On the field, Williams has led the Elmhurst offense football team to its best season in school history. The Bluejays won a share of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) title for the first time since 1980, and became the first Elmhurst team to be selected to the NCAA playoffs and also win an NCAA playoff game.
Williams is a four-time all-conference honoree and was named the CCIW Offensive Player of the Year for the 2012 season. He has compiled 1,928 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, setting new Elmhurst single-season records in the process. He has averaged 175.3 yards per game and 6.4 yards per carry this year while catching 22 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
He currently ranks second in NCAA Division III in rushing (based on yards per game average). Williams shattered Elmhurst’s career rushing record with 5,085 yards, eclipsing the previous mark by almost 1,500 yards while also establishing new career records for rushing touchdowns (49) and points scored (326). He currently is the active career-leading rusher in Division III.
Williams has had success in the classroom as well. He has twice earned Academic All-Conference honors and was a first-team Capital One Academic All-American in 2011.
Off the field, Williams has participated in President Barack Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, a nationwide initiative to promote interfaith dialogue and cooperation. He also helped build homes as part of Elmhurst's Habitat for Humanity chapter.
Williams has participated in the College’s annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and also helped raise money for the Ray Graham Association, a local organization that provides opportunities to people with disabilities.
The son of a pastor, Williams also has volunteered at a vacation bible school at his father’s church, the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church.
The Gagliardi Trophy will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 12, in Salem, VA, at a banquet that kicks off the festivities that surround the NCAA Division III Championship Stagg Bowl. Nominations for the award must be submitted by the college president. The J-Club Board of Directors narrows the candidates down to 10 finalists. A 36-member national selection committee will then vote on the 10 finalists. The top four vote getters will be on hand at the banquet for the presentation of the trophy.
Joining Williams as a finalist for the trophy are: Thomas More defensive back Zach Autenrieb, Mount Union defensive back Nick Driskill, Middlebury quarterback McCallum Foote, Dubuque quarterback Wyatt Hanus, Washington & Lee running back/kicker Luke Heinsohn, St. Thomas center Curtis James, Union linebacker Noah Joseph, Heidelberg linebacker Craig Sykes, and Wisconsin-Oshkosh quarterback Nate Wara.
Editor's Note: Information in this article was submitted to Patch by Elmhurst College.
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