Andrew Rodriguez (National Football Foundation)
DALLAS- Andrew Rodriguez, the Army linebacker who claimed the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy from the National Football Foundation in December as college football's premier scholar-athlete, tonight took home the 82nd James E. Sullivan Award, presented by the Amateur Athletic Union to America's top amateur athlete.
The announcement was made during a ceremony at the prestigious New York Athletic Club overlooking Central Park. Rodriguez joins five other football recipients of the Sullivan Award, including College Football Hall of Fame inductees Felix "Doc" Blanchard (Army, 1945), Arnold Tucker (Army, 1946), and Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), and NFF National Scholar-Athletes and William V. Campbell Trophy winners Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997) and Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007).
"We are ecstatic for Andrew and everything he represents," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "It is a tremendous honor not only for Andrew but for Army football, the National Football Foundation and all of college football. We would like to thank the Sullivan Award Committee as well as Army Athletics Director Boo Corrigan, who has been an enormous supporter of the National Football Foundation and its efforts to promote the scholar-athlete ideal."
First presented in 1930, the Sullivan Award honors an athlete who demonstrates the qualities leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism. The nominees for the award were selected from personal nominations following a review by the AAU Sullivan Award Executive Committee. The winner was determined through voting by select members of the media, previous winners and the AAU staff. The public was also allowed input through nationwide polling on the USA Today website.
Rodriguez, a standout on the field, missed the entire 2010 season due to a potential career-ending back injury, but he returned as a team captain in 2011 to start at outside linebacker. He finished the season with 59 tackles while leading the team in pass breakups, passes defended, and fumble recoveries. Combined with his team leading 85 tackles in 2009, he concluded his career with 144 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in 24 games.
The Alexandria, Va., native stands among our nation's future military leaders, ranking third in his class of 1,052 cadets at West Point. He carried a 4.14 GPA as a mechanical engineering major, recording six terms with a GPA of 4.0 or higher. A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District I selection, he earned First-Team Academic All-America accolades in 2011.
A member of the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments, Rodriguez claimed the Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, on December 6, 2011 at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City during the 54th NFF Annual Awards Dinner. Click here to read a release announcing him as the winner; click here to watch a video of his acceptance speech; and click here to watch a highlight reel of him on the field.
Notable past Sullivan Award recipients from sports other than football include Bruce Jenner (track & field), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Jackie Joyner-Kersey (athletics), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Jessica Long (paralympian), Greg Louganis (diving), Evan Lysacek (figure skating), Michael Phelps (swimming), Wilma Rudolph (athletics), and Mark Spitz (swimming).
The award is named for the founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, James E. Sullivan. Recognized as a pioneer in the amateur sports movement, Sullivan is credited with developing the current concept of the playground and organized recreation of the present day.