Ogbonnaya named 2008 Draddy Trophy semifinalist
Oct. 1, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas senior RB Chris Ogbonnaya has been named a semifinalist for the 2008 Draddy Trophy, the National Football Foundation has announced.
Also known as the "academic Heisman," the Draddy Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. Last year, Texas C Dallas Griffin became the first Longhorn to earn the distinguished honor.
Ogbonnaya is a three-time first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection and a six-time member of UT's Athletics Directors Honor Roll. He has already graduated with a degree in history and carries a 3.4 overall GPA as he completes a second degree in corporate communications with a minor in business. Ogbonnaya has taken the LSAT exam and is considering attending law school or pursuing a postgraduate degree in advertising.
In the community, Ogbonnaya has made regular visits to Dell Children's Medical Center with his teammates on the Fridays before home football games. He has also mentored students at O'Henry Middle School in Austin, and is part of the Longhorn Leaders Program.
In addition, Ogbonnaya participated in visits to UT's facilities by the Wonders and Worries program, a non-profit organization that provides support to children, youth and families coping with chronic and life-threatening illnesses; the Rise School of Austin, which provides early childhood education services to eligible children with developmental disabilities and to children without disabilities; and the Arc of the Capital Area, a non-profit organization that provides services for adults and children with developmental disabilities.
On the field, Ogbonnaya has caught nine passes for 128 yards (14.2 ypc) and two TDs, including a 46-yard TD reception against Rice this season. He has carried the ball seven times for 22 yards. In 2007, he appeared in all 13 games and carried the ball 26 times for 71 yards and two TDs and caught 21 passes for 204 yards, while serving primarily as UT's third-down back. For his career, Ogbonnaya has 73 rushes for 246 yards and four TDs, while catching 38 passes for 380 yards and two TDs.
Nominated by their schools, semifinalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Established to honor former NFF Chairman Vincent dePaul Draddy, a Manhattan College quarterback who developed the Izod and Lacoste brands, the award comes with a 25- pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 29. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2008 National Scholar- Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Draddy winner, who will receive a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship, will be announced at the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner on December 9 at the prestigious Waldorf Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to credit a player for both academic and athletic accomplishments. The Draddy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a Heisman winner.