Updated December 4, 2012
Elmhurst College running back Scottie Williams (Woodridge/Downers Grove South) has been named one of the top four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, an annual award given to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III.
On Wednesday, December 12, Williams will join the other top finalists in Salem, Virginia, where the winner of the Gagliardi Trophy will be announced during a banquet that kicks off the festivities surrounding the NCAA Division III Championship Stagg Bowl. The ceremony will be streamed live at www.d3football.com.
The Gagliardi Trophy—named for legendary St. John’s University football coach John Gagliardi, the recently retired winningest coach in college football history—rewards excellence in football, academics and community service. Williams is the first Elmhurst player to be selected as a finalist for the prestigious award.
On the football field, Williams powered Elmhurst to its best season in school history. The Bluejays won a share of College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) title for the first time since the 1980 season. In addition, the Bluejays advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Playoffs, becoming the first Elmhurst team to be selected to the NCAA playoffs and win an NCAA playoff game.
A four-time all-conference honoree and the CCIW’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, Williams was the catalyst for Elmhurst’s rushing attack, compiling 2,046 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, setting new Elmhurst single-season records in the process. He averaged 170.5 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry this season while also catching 23 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
He currently ranks second in NCAA Division III in rushing (based on yards per game average). Williams shattered Elmhurst’s career rushing record with 5,203 yards, eclipsing the previous mark by more than 1,600 yards while also establishing new career records for rushing touchdowns (50) and points scored (332).
This season, he led the CCIW in rushing, totaling 1,153 yards against conference competition and closed out his CCIW career ranked second all-time with 3,507 rushing yards, finishing just 17 yards behind the league’s all-time leading rusher (former NFL running back Jim Jodat).
A true student-athlete, Williams has had success in the classroom as well. He has twice earned Academic All-Conference honors and was a first-team Capital One Academic All-American in 2011.
Off the field, Williams has participated in President Barack Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, a nationwide initiative to promote interfaith dialogue and cooperation. He also helped build homes as part of the College’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.
Along with his teammates, Williams helped raise funds for a variety of causes. He participated in the College’s annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and also helped raise money for the Ray Graham Association, a local organization that provides opportunities to people with disabilities. The son of a pastor, Williams also has volunteered at a vacation bible school at his father’s church, the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church.
Nominations for the award were submitted by college presidents. A 36-member national selection committee voted on an initial 10 finalists to choose the final four. College football fans also voted, with all fan votes representing one collective ballot. With 20,489 fan votes, Williams was the top fan vote-getter among the 10 initial finalists.
Joining Williams in Salem for the presentation of the Gagliardi Trophy are Thomas More defensive back Zach Autenrieb, Washington and Lee running back/kicker Luke Heinsohn and Wisconsin-Oshkosh quarterback Nate Wara.