Longhorn Football Player, McCombs Student Wins "Academic Heisman"

University of Texas at Austin senior center Dallas Griffin was presented the 2007 Draddy Trophy at the annual National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) banquet on Tuesday (Dec. 4) in New York City. Griffin is the first Longhorn to win the award, which recognizes an individual as the best in the country for combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.

"I found out how big of a deal this award is when Neale Tweedie was up for it last year," said Griffin. "Since then, I've studied up on some of the past winners and not only did they excel in the classroom, but they were amazing players. It is just a great combination of on-field and off-field success and community service. To be recognized as this year's Draddy Trophy winner is a great honor, and I'm so happy to be representing Texas when it comes to such a prestigious award."

It was the 60th anniversary of the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner, which is held at the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria. In addition to Griffin being honored, former All-America defensive back Johnnie Johnson became the 14th Longhorn player and the 16th overall university inductee to the NFF Hall of Fame.

"We are so proud of Dallas and everything he's accomplished,” said head coach Mack Brown. “Winning the Draddy Trophy—the academic Heisman—is the perfect tribute to a guy who has meant so much to our program and is such a great representative of college football. Dallas is the ideal role model for young student-athletes across the country. He's been a leader on the field and in the classroom for five years and is a great young man who has an unbelievably bright future.”

He joined 14 other athletes as finalists to compose the 2007 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. Each member of the elite group, which was selected from 153 semifinalists, received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. As the Draddy recipient, Griffin’s scholarship increases to $25,000.

"Dallas Griffin represents everything that is good about college football," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to honor him and the rest of the Draddy Finalists, revering them as the finest examples of football's power to build great leaders."

Griffin is the ninth Longhorn to be named a NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

“What a wonderful honor for he and his family,” Brown said. “It's hard to put into words how important he's been to The University of Texas. For us, Dallas winning this trophy is every bit as important as any national award or championship because it represents a commitment to both academics and athletics. That's the foundation our program is built on and what we strive to instill in our guys.”

On Nov. 29, the College Sports Information Directors of America named Griffin to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first team. He had earlier been named to the preseason Playboy All-American team as the Anson Mount Scholar/Athlete, which has honored the nation's premier student-athlete in football since 1987.

During his career at Texas, Griffin has been a four-time first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection, has posted a perfect 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) six times and graduated with 3.88 GPA with a double major in business honors and finance in spring 2007. This fall, he began his coursework in the McCombs School of Business Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

On the field, Griffin played in 32 career games and started the first 10 of 2007 before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Oklahoma State University. Despite his injury, Griffin was named honorable mention All-Big 12 by The Associated Press and the league’s coaches. He has helped the offense post 462.0 total yards (13th NCAA) and 199.8 rushing yards (25th NCAA) in 2007, while helping Doak Walker Award semifinalist running back Jamaal Charles leading the Big 12 in rushing with 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Active in his community, Griffin is part of a group of Longhorns that regularly visits patients at the Dell Children's Medical Center and he has volunteered answering calls and taking donations at the Children's Miracle Network telethon.

In addition, Griffin spent summer 2005 interning at NFL Hall of Famer Roger Staubach's real estate company (The Staubach Company) and spent summer 2006 working for an Austin hedge fund. He also is a member of the Financial Analyst Program where he assists MBA students in the management of a $15 million investment fund.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, finalists 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, 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 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.

Source: MackBrown-TexasFootball.com