PELLA – In a season of many firsts for the Central College quarterback Blaine Hawkins (5th year, Ankeny), add one more.
Hawkins is the first Gagliardi Trophy (guh-LAHR-dee) winner in Central football history. The award is presented by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John’s University (Minn.) To the most outstanding soccer player in NCAA Division III.
The announcement was made on D3football.com on Friday night, just before the kick-off for the Division III Championship game, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Canton, Ohio.
Hawkins gave superlatives a grueling workout in his marvel of season and career. He set an NCAA all-division record with 63 touchdown passes that season. In 13 games he completed 331 of 468 passes (70.7%) for 4,475 yards and eight interceptions, while he achieved a pass efficiency of 192.1. He also rushed for 230 yards and five touchdowns at 83 carries.
Awarded annually since 1993, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes athletics, academics and community service and is named after the late John Gagliardi, the former coach of Saint John who retired with 489 career wins.
“Winning the Gagliardi Trophy is definitely something very special,” said Hawkins. “It’s a prestigious award, of course, and I have to thank my team-mates, my family and my coaches for helping me reach this point. I’ll be the trophy winner, but I look forward to sharing it. ” with them because it’s something we got for the work we do as a team. It’s pretty great to represent the guys and to share that honor with them. “
It is a milestone for one of the most traditional football programs in the country, said coach Jeff McMartin.
“This is very special,” he said. “It’s important to both what Blaine achieved and the legacy of our program. And it represents what he’s accomplished over the past five years.
“He set a standard for what Central College quarterback game should be from now on.”
Hawkins was one of five finalists, including defensive back / punter / return specialist Jefferson Fritz from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Texas; Wide receiver Andrew Kamienski from North Central College (Ill.), Quarterback Wyatt Smith from Linfield University (Ore.) And Quarterback Gavin Zimbelman from Aurora University (Ill.). The J-Club Board of Directors selected 15 semi-finalists from nominations submitted by colleges. The five finalists were selected by the Gagliardi Trophy National Selection Committee, which was composed of 18 coaches, six Division III administrators, 12 regional voters and seven general voters. Everyone cast a ballot listing the semi-finalists. A fan vote resulted in an additional vote by the committee and had more than 30,000 votes on D3football.com.
Previously, Hawkins was named American Rivers Offensive Player of the Year for the second time and was a first-team selection for the AFCA Division III All-America. Hawkins, who has a grade point average of 3.58 majoring in economics and business studies, has been appointed to the second team at CoSIDA Academic All-America®. He was a semi-finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy for Best Football Scholarship in the Country, which was selected by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.
In 2021, Hawkins Division III led on touchdown passes (63) and points responsible for (410), while finishing second in passing yards (4,475) and all offensive (4,705 yards) in passing efficiency ( 192.1) finished third and fourth for completion percentage (70.7) and fifth in yards per pass attempt (9.56).
In the history of Division III, he ranks second in career touchdown passes (148), seventh in season passing yards (4,475), 11th in career passing efficiency (175.32) and the 13. He has accumulated more than twice as many passing yards in his career as any quarterbacks except for one in Central history, Tim Connell (2004-07), who ranks second at 6,181 yards.
He set school records for a game, season, and career in passing yards, pass completions, pass completion percentage, touchdown passes, pass attempts, and overall offense. He also set school grades for consecutive passes without interception (251, April through October 3), consecutive games with six or more touchdown passes (6), consecutive games with five or more touchdown passes (8), and season games 300 yards over or more (7). He set a 38-6 career record as a quarterback for Central.
Hawkins developed a Dutch offensive that took first place in Division III on overall offensive (570.1 yards per game), passing offensive (394.5 yards) and first downs (382), while taking first place in the completion percentage (70.9) and took second place in the scoring offensive (53.5).
Hawkins, two-time team co-captain and winner of the Heerema Schilder Award as Team MVP (2018, 2019), helped lead Central to its 32nd conference championship and 22nd NCAA playoff spot. The Dutch were 10-0 in the regular season and finished 12-1 overall, reaching the NCAA quarter-finals.
Hawkins also set NCAA Division III records for career touchdowns responsible for (rushing / passing) (176) and most touchdown passes in one half (7, in Simpson, Sept. 25).
He’s delivered in countless clutch situations, but perhaps his John Elway moment was at the end of the second-round NCAA playoff game against Wheaton College (Ill.), Who beat the Dutch 49-13 in the 2019 NCAA first-round game had. In the rematch on November 27 at Pella, Wheaton took the lead 2:41 to go 28:24, but Hawkins and the Dutch drove 63 yards in 13 games and converted into fourth place twice. With the clock ticking and less than 6 seconds left, Hawkins hit makeup for a 3-yard touchdown in the 30-28 triumph.
“All you have to do is put on the Wheaton game and only look for the fourth-from-last games,” said Hawkins. “And watch it from the end zone. That’ll tell you everything you need to know about Blaine. “
Hawkins’ humility is sincere, and he fully acknowledges that he had help. Wide receiver Tanner make-up (5th year, Boone) leads Division III in receiving yards (1,536) and touchdown receptions (19). Wide receiver Erik Knaack (5th year, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) set the school’s career touchdown reception record (36). Wide receiver Jeff Herbers (Junior, Urbandale, Des Moines Christian HS) occupies fifth place in Division III at touchdown receptions (16) and eleventh place at Received Yards (1,151) and continued with 16 receptions in Central’s NCAA playoff win against Wheaton College (Ill.) on 27 November a school single game brand. Hawkins also played an offensive line behind it, which included the offensive guard of the first team for the entire conference Joshua Mayhew (5th year, Aurora, Ill, West Aurora HS), First team offensive tackle Travis Wagner (5th year, Mesa, Arizona, Mountain View HS), Second team offensive tackle Que Baker-McCaulay (Junior, Mesa, Arizona, Tempe HS) and second team center Ian Den Herder (Junior, Mesa, Arizona, Desert Ridge HS).
“We had a lot of time to build some chemistry together,” said Hawkins. “We have had a lot of confidence in each other and know where we will be in every game. We work with two great senior receivers in Erik Knaack and Tanner make-up and then a really smart guy and great receiver Jeff Herbers helps a lot. They made some really spectacular catches and runs behind the catch. And then of course the guys in front, Josh (Mayhew), Que (Baker-McCaulay), Ian (Den Herder, Travis (Wagner) and Colton (Anderson) (Sr., Boone) along with the narrow ends, Billy Friis (Senior, West Branch) and Aaron Roelfs (Senior, Ackley, AGWSR HS) made my life easier. It makes it really easy to sit back and scan the field. Linemen don’t have stats, but a lot of our success as an offensive really comes from a lot of work they put in. “
Yet while McMartin said this was all true, he puts Hawkins’ contributions way above the crowd.
“He’s been playing amazing games all along,” he said. “It’s just become normal for us. But it’s not normal.
“He has a serenity that is different from other players. He has a special energy when he plays and trains. And he has an athleticism that many quarterbacks don’t have. He can take games longer, almost fall off, and stay off the ground , dodging a sack, sideways left or right, then find the guy downfield for a touchdown pass on a fourth down.
“Most quarterbacks can’t do that at all. Blaine does it consistently and makes it look almost easy. “
Hawkins also spent hours outside of practice and exercise studying film.
“He’s a student of the game,” said McMartin. “Most quarterbacks prepare, it’s not unusual, but how he prepares is different. He sets a standard.”
The trophy design shows a sculpture by Gagliardi and a player who represent the teacher-trainer and the student-athlete in a one-on-one consultation. Hand-cast in bronze on a polished wooden base, the trophy is nearly two feet tall and weighs over 40 pounds. The words “The Gagliardi Trophy presented by Jostens & J-Club” are printed on the acrylic plate behind the figures. The words “Division III Player of the Year” and “Honoring Excellence in Football, Academics and Community Service” are engraved on two plaques under the figures.
Hawkins is among 15 Central players to return for a fifth season after the 2020 season evolved into a modified two-game spring campaign. He’s glad they did.
“We knew we were going to have a pretty special team and we didn’t want to miss this opportunity to continue representing Central College,” said Hawkins. “I think coming to Central was the best decision of our lives for all of us. It was a lot of fun and I think we would have regretted missing out on these opportunities. It was definitely a blessing to always be out there . ” Saturday. I think every Saturday we’d be like, ‘Man, I’m glad I’m doing this and not doing anything else.’ ”