The semifinalists included nine seniors and one junior. The nine senior semifinalists are Ramos, Joe Callahan, Wesley (Del.) quarterback; Alex Kocheff, Mount Union (Ohio) safety; Kodie McNamara, Gettysburg (Pa.) linebacker; Matt Pawlowski, Guilford (N.C.) quarterback; Logan Schrader, Wartburg (Iowa) quarterback; David Simmet, St. Thomas (Minn.) offensive lineman; Matt Snebold, Wheaton (Ill.) offensive lineman; and Sam Sura, Saint John's (Minn.) running back.
The lone junior semifinalist is Dayton Winn, Hendrix (Ark.) running back/returner.
Seven of the 10 semifinalists played Nov. 21 in the first round of the Division III national playoffs: Callahan, Kocheff, Ramos, Simmet, Snebold, Sura and Winn. The candidates included six quarterbacks, four wide receivers, three running backs, two offensive linemen, one defensive lineman, one linebacker and one safety.
Ramos finished his stellar career on Saturday. Including the playoff game he finished the year with 77 receptions for 1,466 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. He also averaged 33.2 yards on kick returns with one touchdown and 16.5 yards on 19 punt returns with two touchdowns.
For his career he had 5,941 all-purpose yards and 48 total touchdowns.
The Gagliardi Trophy, given annually since 1993, recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service.
The 23rd annual Gagliardi Trophy will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 16, in Salem, Va., at a banquet kicking off the Division III championship weekend, which culminates in the Stagg Bowl on Friday, Dec. 18. The four finalists, who will be announced Dec. 8, will be on hand for the announcement of the winner and presentation of the trophy at the banquet.
The Gagliardi Trophy national-selection committee is comprised of 40 former small college football players, former Gagliardi Trophy recipients, business leaders, academicians and sports writers from around the country. Each casts a ballot ranking the 10 semifinalists. A fan vote, which will serve as the 41st committee member, will be launched on D3football.com Nov. 23 and run until Monday, Dec. 7.
The trophy design features a sculpture of Gagliardi and a player representing the teacher-coach and the student-athlete in a classic one-on-one sideline consultation. Hand-cast in bronze on a polished wood base, the trophy stands nearly two feet tall and weighs approximately 64 pounds. The words "The Gagliardi Trophy presented by Jostens & J-Club" are printed on the acrylic panel behind the figures. The words "Division III 2015 Player of the Year" and "Honoring Excellence in Football, Academics and Community Service" are etched on two panels below the figures.
The 2015 Gagliardi Trophy semifinalists include (listed alphabetically; statistics are through the end of regular season, Nov. 14):
• Joe Callahan, Wesley College (Del.)
6-1, 215 | Senior | Quarterback | Exercise Science
Absecon, N.J./Holy Spirit H.S.
-Led Division III in five categories: passing efficiency (196.0), passing touchdowns (43), passing yards (3,809), points responsible for per game (29.6) and total offense (410.6 ypg.)…recorded nine games of 300 passing yards or more, including four over 400…2014 Gagliardi Trophy finalist…active volunteer at the annual Wesley SAAC Food Drive for the Food Bank of Delaware...also participated with the Boys and Girls Club and Read Across America.
• Alex Kocheff, University of Mount Union (Ohio)
5-10, 205 | Senior | Safety | Exercise Science
Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston H.S.
-Tied for the team-lead in tackles (50) on Division III's top defense (3.4 ppg., 136.3 ypg)…organized and managed Raider Buddies program where football student-athletes read to and mentored elementary students…also volunteered with Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser for domestic violence, Be The Match bone marrow drive, Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life.
• Kodie McNamara, Gettysburg College (Pa.)
5-11, 200 | Senior | Linebacker | Mathematics
Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan H.S.
-Started all 40 games in his career…led the Bullets' defense in tackles each of the past three seasons…finished third, among active career leaders, with 396 tackles…two-time Academic All-District honoree…co-founder of the Cure Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy theme house in 2013…raised money as member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, of which he is the scholarship chair…serves as a mathematics tutor.
• Matt Pawlowski, Guilford College (N.C.)
6-2, 205 | Senior | Quarterback | Sport Management
Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford H.S.
-Finished second in Division III in passing touchdowns (39) and was fifth in passing yards (3,333)…was sixth in both passing efficiency (180.5) and points responsible for per game (23.8)…set school and conference records for passing total offense and passing yards in a game…2014 Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist…volunteers weekly during the off-season mentoring students with academic or behavioral challenges…also served as a motivational speaker to local youth teams and volunteered with Relay for Life.
• Jessie Ramos, Hardin-Simmons University (Texas)
5-11, 175 | Senior | Wide Receiver/Returner | Fitness and Sports Science
Stamford, Texas/Stamford H.S.
-Finished as the Division III leader in punt-return average (19.4) and receiving yards (1,443)…fifth in all-purpose yardage (189.2 ypg.) and entered the postseason second in active career all-purpose yards…set school records for all-purpose yards in a season and career kick-return yards…volunteered with Special Olympics and the Reading Cowboy program…mentors teens at nearby Clack Middle School.
• Logan Schrader, Wartburg College (Iowa)
5-11, 200 | Senior | Quarterback | Fitness Management
Kildeer, Ill./Dunlap H.S.
-Two-time IIAC Offensive Player of the Year…2015 preseason All-American…ended his career as the school's all-time leader in passing yards, completions and touchdown passes…2014 Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist…volunteered with Special Olympics' Unified Sports Day…is an active volunteer at the Bremwood Lutheran Children's Home in Waverly, Iowa.
• David Simmet, University of St. Thomas (Minn.)
6-9, 350 | Senior | Offensive Tackle | Accounting
Stillwater, Minn./Hill-Murray H.S.
-Starting right tackle on an offense that led Division III in scoring (56.4 ppg.), finished third in total offense (564.8 ypg.) and fourth in first downs (274)…the Tommies allowed nine sacks and punted 12 times, including two 3-and-outs by the starting offense, during the regular season….2014 Academic All-American and 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree…collected money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital…involved with community clean-up and Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF)…active with Feed My Starving Children and Special Olympics, as well as his home parish.
• Matt Snebold, Wheaton College (Ill.)
6-4, 295 | Senior | Offensive Tackle | Business/Economics
Onalaska, Wis./Onalaska H.S.
-Has not allowed a quarterback sack the past two seasons…2015 preseason All-American…leading lineman in an offense that finished 24th in Division III in total offense (481.2 ypg.) and 28th in rushing offense (241.4 ypg.)…2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree…has worked with the Ross K. MacNeill Foundation, which raises money for pediatric brain cancer research…participated in a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
• Sam Sura, Saint John's University (Minn.)
5-11, 205 | Senior | Running Back | Accounting
South St. Paul, Minn./South St. Paul H.S.
-Ended the regular season fourth in Division III in rushing touchdowns (23) and average yards per carry (5.83), among backs with 250 carries or more…school's record-holder in career rushing attempts and entered the postseason one rushing touchdown and 41 rushing yards away from those school records…2014 Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist…volunteers with Feed My Starving Children and collected money for Tackle Cancer and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
• Dayton Winn, Hendrix College (Ark.)
5-10, 155 | Junior | Running Back/Returner | Kinesiology/Sports Management
Pea Ridge, Ark./Pea Ridge H.S.
-Led Division III in all-purpose yards (252.7 ypg.)…finished second in rushing yards (1,640) and third in rushing yards per game (164.0)…recorded 437 all-purpose yards at Centre (Ky.) Oct. 3…volunteers with Activate Men, an on-campus service that escorts female students when walking alone on campus…provides leadership in Remnant Youth Ministries in Rogers, Ark., as well as Seven Hills Church in Fayetteville, Ark.
Jostens has been manufacturing rings since 1897. In 1897, our founder Otto Josten set out to repair people's keepsake jewelry. Jostens manufactures products including: Championship Rings and Awards, Class Rings, Graduation Caps and Gowns, Diplomas and Announcements, Photo Books and Memory Books. We've strategically formed partnerships with Disney, Harley Davidson, NASCAR, Heisman Trophy, College Football Playoff and more. Every year, Jostens is privileged to collaborate with over 750 colleges and universities to create a custom championship ring to tell the unique story of each team's season. Jostens is proud to work with teams at all collegiate levels to help celebrate and capture the moments that matter.
About Saint John's University J-Club
Founded in 1959, the Saint John's University J-Club is a dues-based booster organization of former Johnnie student-athletes, parents and fans, and plays a key role in support of the SJU varsity programs, intramurals and club sports. Saint John's is a private liberal arts college for men located in Collegeville, Minn.
--- www.hsuathletics.com ---