The National Football Foundation Wednesday released the names of its 15 finalists for the Draddy Award, also known as the "Academic Heisman."
Unfortunately, two players with local connections who were among the 164 semifinalists named earlier this fall, did not make it: University of Chicago center Jim McAnelly, a Marmion Academy graduate from Aurora; and Northern Illinois University tackle Jon Brost of Maple Grove, Minn., would have been eligible for a post-graduate scholarship of $18,000.
Too bad. Like all of the 164 nominees, both are good football players and even better students and leaders. They've done their families, programs and schools proud.
Semifinalists were nominated from all NCAA divisions and the NAIA.
University of Illinois lineman Ryan McDonald did make the final cut. The Draddy winner will be named in New York City in December.
Here's a list of the finalists:\
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE - POSITION - SCHOOL
• ANDREW BERRY - CB - Harvard University
• RYAN BERRY - QB - South Dakota State University
• CHASE DANIEL - QB - University of Missouri
• BRIAN FREEMAN - OT - Carnegie Mellon University
• CASEY GERALD - CB - Yale University
• GRAHAM HARRELL - QB - Texas Tech University
• QUIN HARRIS - LB - Louisiana Tech University
• JEFF HORINEK - LB - Colorado State University
• RYAN KEES - DE - St. Cloud State University (Minn.)
• ALEX MACK - C - University of California (Berkeley)
• RYAN McDONALD - OL - University of Illinois
• GREG MICHELI - QB - Mount Union College (Ohio)
• DARRYL RICHARD - DT - Georgia Tech
• BRIAN ROBISKIE - WR - Ohio State University
• LOUIE SAKODA - P/K - University of Utah