(COLLEGEVILLE, Minn.) - Thomas More College senior defensive back Zach Autenrieb (Elder) has been named one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy given to the top all-around football player in NCAA Division III.
Autenrieb was named the 2012 Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Player of the Year and first team All-PAC. He 48 tackles (36 solo, 12 assisted), including a half tackle for a loss, eight interceptions, five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Two of his interceptions were returned for a touchdown. With his eight interceptions he finished his career with 32 interceptions, which is the new NCAA Division III career interception record.
Off the field, Autenrieb carries a 3.33 grade point average in accounting and was named to the Capital One Academic All-District II team earlier in the month. He has participated in Thomas More's efforts with Special Olympics and the school's Relay for Life fundraising. Autenrieb has also been involved with the Friends of Jacyln Foundation.
The Gagliardi Trophy was first presented in 1993. Since that time, the award has become one of the leading collegiate football awards and is widely recognized as the premier individual award in Division III football, honoring excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is named for John Gagliardi who recently retired after coaching 64 years, 60 of those at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. He is college football's all-time wins leader with 489 victories.
Nominations for the award are made by the college president with supporting letters and credentials provided by the head football coach. After screening the nominations, the SJU J-Club Board of Directors narrows the field to 10 finalists including at least one finalist in each of the four NCAA regions.
The 35-member Gagliardi Trophy national selection committee reviews the credentials, ranks the candidates 1-10 and casts their votes.
For the fourth year, fans will be given one collective vote by casting votes on the web site www.d3football.com. The student-athlete with the highest vote total is named recipient.
The field will be narrowed down to four regional finalists who will be invited to an award dinner where the the winner will be announced at banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 12 as part of festivities leading up to the NCAA Division III National Championship game, the Stagg Bowl, in Salem, Virginia.
2012 Gagliardi Trophy Finalists
- Zach Autenrieb, senior defensive back, Thomas More
- Nick Driskill, senior defensive back, Mount Union
- McCallum Foote, junior quarterback, Middlebury
- Wyatt Hanus, senior quarterback, Dubuque
- Luke Heinsohn, senior running back/kicker, Washington & Lee
- Curtis James, senior center, St. Thomas
- Noah Joseph, senior wide receiver, Union
- Craig Sykes, senior linebacker, Heidelberg
- Nate Wara, senior quarterback, Wisconsin-Oshkosh
- Scottie Williams, senior running back, Elmhurst