The 2008 college football season is closing in on the home stretch and with that the talk of national awards are heating up. Ohio State has been no stranger to picking up its own share of the hardware and on Wednesday afternoon the Buckeyes learned that one of their top players is on the short list to bring home another bronze trophy to adorn the hallways of the WHAC.
Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie was named a finalist for the 2008 Draddy Trophy. While it might not have the same type of name recognition as the Heisman or the Walter Camp award it is still one of the top awards on the college football landscape and has been dubbed the Academic Heisman Trophy. Robiskie is now the recipient of an 18-thousand dollar post-graduate scholarship for being named to the list of finalists and will be up for the trophy itself and the 25-thousand dollar scholarship that comes with winning the whole thing.
"It is definitely a big honor," Robiskie said. "I have to give all the credit to my parents and growing up in a household that stressed academics and stressed education and that was the biggest thing for them. I know both of them are proud."
Robiskie learned from an early age that grades came before practice and it helped the future all-Big Ten performer make a smooth transition from high school to college.
"She always threatened to sit me from playing football if my grades were not good enough and when I got here I didn't have to think about it too much because grades came first and then you take care of football," Robiskie said.
Each school is limited to nominating only one player a year for the award and the nominee has to be either a senior or a graduate student in their final year of eligibility. All nominees must carry no less than a 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) GPA and be a first team (or significant contributor) player on the team and both leadership and citizenship area also taken as criteria in determining the award. Robiskie has easily taken care of the on the field aspects during his career with the Buckeyes and the marketing major has taken care of his business in the classroom as evidenced by being named a CoSIDA Academic All-American last year as well as a finalist for the Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar.
Having a finalist for the Draddy Trophy is never a bad thing when it comes down to the recruiting process for future athletes with every parent looking for the best for their child on and off the field and Robo is quick to give credit to his head coach.
"It starts with coach Tressel and it goes all the way down," Robiskie said. "To see how much he stresses just taking high school kids and turning them into men and into people. He stresses that he wants you to come here and wants you to be successful at football but he wants you to be successful at everything else."
The award itself is named after former National Football Foundation Chariman Vincent DePaul Draddy who was a quarterback at Manhattan College before making his mark in the business world developing the Izod and Lacoste Brands. The trophy was first awarded in 1990 but continues the legacy left by the NFF National Scholar-Athlete award that was started in 1959. Since the inception of that award the Buckeyes have been honored 20 times (including Robiskie) and have seen names like Rex Kern, Randy Gradishar, Mike Lanese, Joey Galloway and Ahmed Plummer honored. Bobby Hoying and Craig Krenzel each won the Draddy Trophy outright and hope to be joined with Robiskie as the school's third winner of the award.
The winner of the 25-thousand dollar scholarship will be announced on December 9th in New York City during the NFF Annual Awards dinner. On that night more than 300-thousand dollars of scholarships will be awarded.
"The Draddy Trophy is one of college football's most sought after and competitive awards," NFF Chairman Archie Manning said. "It recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership."
Manning should know a thing or two about the award with son Peyton having won it in 1997 and youngest son Eli being named a NFF Scholar-Athlete. Robiskie has a younger brother who will now have the pressure on him to follow in big brother's footsteps but he has taken it all in good stride.
"My mom will tell you that he is smarter than me and she kind of jokes with me a little bit about that," Robiskie joked. "He is always giving me a hard time with everything but hopefully he is excited for me."
Robiskie would like to come back and pursue a MBA once his football career is over.