Joseph just short of top D-III honor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mount Union quarterback Greg Micheli has been named winner of the Gagliardi Trophy, awarded each year to honor the outstanding NCAA Division III football player. Micheli emerged from a field of 10 finalists to become the fifth Purple Raider to win the award. Sponsored by Jostens and the Saint John’s University J-Club, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service.

He beat out three other senior quarterbacks, including Edgard’s Juan Joseph, for an honored considered to be the “Heisman Trophy” of Division III college football.

The award will be presented to Micheli on Thursday evening in Salem, Va.

At 6-3, 203, Micheli completed a 10-0 regular season as the nation’s No. 1 passer with a 215.8 rating on 28 touchdowns with only two interceptions. He directed the nation’s top offense (551.43 yards/game). In four playoff wins this fall, he completed 60 of 84 passes (71.4% completion percentage) for six touchdowns and no interceptions. The academic All-American, with a 3.84 GPA in physics and math, was recently named recipient of an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship from the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame. Micheli is a member of the MUC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and volunteers in an elementary school program.

Gagliardi Trophy selection was made by a national committee comprised of coaches, sports writers, community leaders and former Division III student-athletes enshrined in the National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame, as well as’s Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan. In addition, fans voted to rank the 10 finalists and cast an electronic ballot that was collectively added to the 35 votes of the national selection committee. Micheli won the fan vote.

The trophy is named for St. John’s coach John Gagliardi, the first active head coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2006). He is the winningest coach in college football history with a record of 461-125-11 (.781).

The other nominees were:

Jordan Berg: 6-2, 207. He is an all-conference performer and finished the season ranked No. 2 in Division III in pass completions per game with 29.7, ranked third in total passing yards with 3,226 and threw for more than 300 yards in six games.

Jason Boltus: 6-4, 220. He topped the nation in 2008 with a single-game mark of 558 yards passing and led the nation with an average of 397.6 yards passing per game and is ranked third in passing efficiency at 172.9.

Juan Joseph: 6-2, 188. He completed nearly 70% of his passes for 2,778 yards and 28 touchdowns. He helped his NCAA playoff team attain Millsaps’ first ever 10-victory season. Earlier this month, he received the Conerly Trophy given annually to Mississippi’s top college football player, regardless of division.