LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Mississippi State University nominated Emmanuel Gatling for the Fourth Annual College Football Rudy Award, it was announced today by The Rudy Foundation.
A record 55 of the 120 Division I football programs submitted a nomination, and every Division I conference was represented for the Award, which honors student-athletes who demonstrate exemplary character, courage, contribution and commitment as members of their collegiate football teams. These same traits were immortalized in the blockbuster film "Rudy" in 27 seconds and against all odds on a gridiron in South Bend, Indiana, enabling Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger to carve his name into college football lore.
Three Rudy Awards finalists will be chosen by the Selection Committee, as well as through fan voting, and honored at the Priority Payment Systems Awards Ceremony to be held in conjunction with the American Football Coaches Convention on January 11, 2011, at the Hilton Anatole, in Dallas, Texas. Rudy Ruettiger will personally present the awards.
Each finalist will be presented with a classic finalist award and have an academic scholarship made in his name to the general scholarship fund of his college or university, as well as have travel expenses paid to the event. An overall winner will be chosen and presented with the top scholarship and bronze Rudy Award trophy.
Fans can review nominations and place their votes from December 1-13 for the most deserving player at www.CollegeRudyAwards.com.
Emmanuel Gatling, it was stated in the school's nomination materials, is a Chemical Engineering major who came to Mississippi State for its outstanding engineering school. He walked onto the football team in 2006 and did not see game action until his third season. After making an impression with his work on the scout team, Emmanuel played special teams as a sophomore and junior. This season he has started all 12 games at outside linebacker and has posted 41 tackles.
"We established this award as a special way to honor and recognize college football players for the size of their hearts instead of the enormity of their stats," Ruettiger said. "I am so excited to see how this award has grown into one of the top collegiate honors for kids who weren't born with tremendous athletic talent, perhaps, but have overcome the odds and persevered because of their heart. The fact that we again had more than 40% of the Division I football programs submitting nominations, with every conference represented, speaks volumes about the importance of character, courage, contribution and commitment in sports and in our society."
The 2010 Award Selection Committee includes football coaches Barry Alvarez, David Bailiff, Gary Barnett, Fisher DeBerry, Dennis Franchione, June Jones, Chuck Knox, Gary Patterson, Buddy Pough, Jackie Sherrill and Dick Tomey, as well as former Washington Redskins Quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams. Prominent businessman Peter Murphy, Jr., again serves as Chairman. Fan votes for the Rudy Awards also will contribute to the Selection Process. Finalists will be announced December 14 and listed on www.CollegeRudyAwards.com.