Central

Fans can vote now to support Blaine Hawkins for the Gagliardi Trophy

PELLA — Record-setting Central College quarterback Blaine Hawkins (5th-year, Ankeny) is among 15 semifinalists named Tuesday for the Gagliardi Trophy, an award presented by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John’s University (Minn.) to the most outstanding NCAA Division III football player.

Given annually since 1993, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes athletics, academics and community service and is named for the late John Gagliardi, the former Saint John’s coach who retired with 489 career victories.

The Gagliardi Trophy finalists will be announced Thursday, Dec. 9, on a show streamed via D3football.com. The winner will be revealed on D3football.com the following week, prior to the Division III national championship game, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, Friday, Dec. 17.

North Central College (Ill.) quarterback Broc Rutter was the 27th recipient of the award in 2019. The award was not presented in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

Fan vote—The national selection committee is comprised of 16 Division III coaches, four Division III athletics administrators, eight at-large regional voters and eight at-large national voters with Division III backgrounds. A fan vote, which runs until Dec. 3, is accessible via D3football.com or directly at https://d3football.com/notables/2021/11/gagliardi-voting. Fans may cast one vote per digital device.

Prolific year for Hawkins—Hawkins has racked up numbers that are unparalleled in Central’s rich football history. Named the American Rivers Conference offensive player of the year last week for the second time, Hawkins won the league’s offensive player of the week award six times in the 10-week regular season. He’s led the Dutch to an 11-0 record and the second round of the Division III playoffs.

Hawkins leads all divisions of the NCAA in touchdown passes (57) and points responsible for (372) and is the Division III leader in passing yards (3,755) and pass efficiency (211.3) while ranking second in total offense (365.2 yards) and completion percentage (.733). His season TD pass total matches the second-most in Division III history and last week he broke the Division III career record for touchdowns responsible for with 172. He set American Rivers season records in eight league games for most touchdown passes (44) and season passing yards (2,811).

For the season he’s completed 263 of 359 passes (.733) for 3,755 yards with 57 touchdowns. He’s also rushed 58 times for 439 yards and six TDs. He’s thrown five or more touchdown passes in each of the last eight games and has thrown six or more seven times in that span, including a school record-tying seven-TD pass performance in last Saturday’s 61-35 NCAA playoff victory over Bethel University (Minn.). He also threw seven touchdown passes in just one half of action at Simpson College Sept. 25.

Hawkins has broken more than 20 school passing and total offense records. He’s compiled 11,082 career passing yards and 12,814 yards total offense.

Strong academic, leadership record—Hawkins, who has majors in economics and business management, carries a 3.58 cumulative grade point average. He was recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team and is a three-time academic all-conference honoree.

A two-time team co-captain, Hawkins served for three years in Central’s student senate and two years on the college’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He was also a Service Day volunteer.

Hawkins interned for two summers at the corporate headquarters for Casey’s General Stores, Inc. and also studied in London during the spring semester in 2020, interning with Nimble Babies, a small British firm that sells cleaning products for infants.

In September Hawkins was named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy as the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

Gagliardi Trophy semifinalists

Ian Blankenship, QB, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy


Jefferson Fritz, DB/P/Ret., Mary-Hardin Baylor (Texas)

Cody Gustafson, WR, Grove City (N.J.)

Blaine Hawkins, QB, Central

Michael Hnatkowsky, QB, Muhlenberg (Pa.)


Tucker Horn, QB, Trinity (Texas)

Tyler Jarnagin, QB, Benedictine (Ill.)

Kyle Jones, QB, Hardin-Simmons (Texas)


Andrew Kamienski, WR, North Central (Ill.)

Max Meylor, QB, Wis.-Whitewater


Braxton Plunk, QB, Mount Union (Ohio)

Jaran Roste, QB, Bethel (Minn.)

Brees Segala, QB, Cortland State (N.Y.)

Wyatt Smith, QB, Linfield (Ore.)

Gavin Zimbelman, QB, Aurora (Ill.)

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