Oct. 1, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. -
Selected as the best and brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the 164 semifinalists for the 2008 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the 2008 NFF National Scholar- Athlete Awards. The list includes UCF senior safety Shareff Rashad (Jacksonville, Fla.).
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. 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 25- pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
Rashad, who was named on Tuesday as one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, was named All-Conference USA a year ago as he helped lead the Knights to their first ever league championship and a berth in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. He was an honorable mention All-C-USA pick in 2006 and played in 10 games as a redshirt freshman in 2005 as the Knights won C-USA's East Division and played in their first-ever bowl game, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Last year he became the first Knight since 2003 to make over 100 tackles in a single season as he completed the campaign with 103. This fall he has started all four games and ranks fifth on the Knights with 18 tackles while breaking up four passes. His career totals include 205 tackles, 10.5 of which were for a loss, 22 pass breakups and nine interceptions which ranks him fourth in UCF history. He has started 37 games for UCF including each of the last 31.
Meanwhile, in the class room, he received his undergraduate degree in criminal justice, with a minor in psychology, this past spring with a 3.428 grade point average. He is presently working towards a master's degree in criminal justice. The UCF Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2007, Rashad has twice been named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team. He has twice been named to the Conference USA Football All-Academic Team and is a two-time first-team honoree on the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholars Team. He is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Thurgood Marshall Achievers Society. Rashad is a four-time member of the UCF Dean's List (3.4-or-better GPA) and an eight-time UCF Athletics Director's Honor Roll honoree (3.0-or-better GPA). He also has a President's Honor Roll Certificate for having a 4.0 semester. Rashad was named to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's Hampshire Honor Society last fall. He was a 2007 Order of Pegasus Finalist which is the highest honor a UCF student can receive. He was awarded the UCF Scholar Athlete Inspiration Award in 2007 and leads the UCF football bible study program.
Rashad has also generously given his time to The Ronald McDonald House, the Orange County Public Schools Transition Program, Habitat For Humanity and Florida Children's Hospital. Back home in Jacksonville, he has also volunteers at Salzbacher Homeless Shelter and Wolfson's Children's Hospital. Proficient in Spanish as well as English, Rashad volunteers for summer camps at his alma mater, Episcopal High School in Jacksonville and still finds time to work a part time job as a sales associate at an Oviedo sports store.
"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 this remarkable group of semifinalists."
"The Draddy semifinalists represent everything good about college football," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "They are another fine example of how football builds leaders, and it is the NFF's duty to promote their accomplishments while encouraging future generations of gridiron standouts to aim high on and off the football field."
The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 29. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2008 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 9 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, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a Heisman winner. The University of Texas's Dallas Griffin was named the 2007 Draddy recipient.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.