Sept. 29, 2008
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Georgia Tech offensive tackle Andrew Gardner and defensive tackle Darryl Richard are among 30 candidates who have been chosen for the inaugural Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in football. To be eligible for the football award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior (in the Football Bowl Subdivision only) and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition.
Gardner, a preseason All-ACC and All-American, has helped the Yellow Jackets lead the ACC and rank fifth in the nation in rushing defense. He is a two-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week so far this season and is part of a line that ranks fourth in the league in sacks allowed. Richard is tied for eighth in the league this season with 1.13 tackles for loss a game. He has 16 tackles this season, one sack and a fumble recovery. Richard was named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week last month as well.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages those leaders to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact on their circle of influence. This prestigious awards program was launched during the 2001-02 basketball season, added six additional sports in 2007, and has now expanded this year to include NCAA football. The 2008 list of candidates is loaded with talented football student-athletes who also excel away from the playing field.
Twenty-six NCAA colleges and universities and 11 different athletics conferences are represented. The Ohio State University has the most candidates with three, while the University of Alabama and Georgia Tech have two candidates each. Five members of the inaugural Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award football contingent played in a Bowl Championship Series game last season.
These 30 student-athletes will be narrowed down to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot. The ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select the candidate that best exemplifies excellence in the “Four C’s” of Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition. The overall winner of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for football will be announced during a 2008-09 post-season college football event.
“Through this award, Lowe’s strives to shine the spotlight on student-athletes who are committed to their team and their community,” said Tom Lamb, Lowe’s vice president of marketing. “Each candidate on this first-ever football list has that commitment. To hear their stories is very encouraging and Lowe’s is honored to reward them for all-around achievement.”
Sportscaster Dick Enberg, Honorary Chairman of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001 in response to the growing trend of men’s basketball players leaving school early for the NBA. The award was launched to honor senior student-athletes who remained in college, exhausting their collegiate athletic eligibility, to pursue their college degree.
Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA and NCAA Football, expanded the award program in 2007 to include numerous NCAA Division I sports – men’s and women’s soccer, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball, and softball in addition to men and women’s basketball. With the addition of football this year, the number of sports encompassed by the nation’s premier award for seniors reaches nine.
The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award is sanctioned by the NCAA, promoted by CBS Sports, and managed by Premier Sports Management.
2008 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Football Candidates
Name Position School
Travis Beckum Tight End University of Wisconsin (Madison)
Jeff Byers Offensive Guard/Center University of Southern California
Antoine Caldwell Center University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
Ian Campbell Defensive End Kansas State University
Chase Clement Quarterback Rice University
Maurice Crum Linebacker University of Notre Dame
Chase Daniel Quarterback University of Missouri (Columbia)
Travis Dekker Tight End U.S. Air Force Academy
Dustin Duclo Linebacker Western Michigan University
Larry English Defensive End Northern Illinois University
Marcus Freeman Linebacker The Ohio State University
Andrew Gardner Offensive Tackle Georgia Tech
Courtney Greene Safety Rutgers University
Graham Harrell Quarterback Texas Tech University
Quin Harris Linebacker Louisiana Tech University
James Laurinaitis Linebacker The Ohio State University
Jonathan Luigs Center University of Arkansas (Fayetteville)
Alex Mack Center University of California (Berkeley)
Mohamed Massaquoi Wide Receiver University of Georgia
Tim Masthay Kicker University of Kentucky
Stephen McGee Quarterback Texas A&M University (College Station)
Troy Nolan Safety Arizona State University
Curtis Painter Quarterback Purdue University
Eric Peterman Wide Receiver Northwestern University
Sha’reff Rashad Defensive Back University of Central Florida
Darryl Richard Defensive Tackle Georgia Tech
Brian Robiskie Wide Receiver The Ohio State University
Louie Sakoda Punter/Kicker University of Utah
Austin Starr Kicker Indiana University
John Parker Wilson Quarterback University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)