Senior finance major and offensive lineman Brian Daniels said Tuesday night that he is going to wait and see what happens with his football career before using his $17,000 scholarship that was recently awarded by the National Football Foundation.
Daniels is one of 17 collegiate football players in America to receive this year’s National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete award, which grants a scholarship to each recipient to use for post-graduate work.
“It’s a great honor,” Daniels said. “If you look at the list of people who have gotten the award, it’s incredible.”
Daniels’ primary goal is to continue to pursue a football career after he graduates, but eventually he wants to attend law school to earn a degree in sports law.
“I’m going to see how far football will take me and save the scholarship money for later,” Daniels said.
Daniels is the sixth Buffalo to receive this award, which also qualifies him as a finalist for the prestigious Vincent dePaul Draddy award, more commonly known as the “Academic Heisman.” One football player a year will win the Draddy award and receive a scholarship increase from $17,000 to $25,000 and a 25-pound trophy.
The NFF describes the Draddy award as one that “recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.”
The only athlete in CU history to win the award was offensive tackle Jim Hansen in 1992.
Other past recipients of the award include NFL MVP Peyton Manning, college football national champion Craig Krenzel, and Heisman trophy winner Danny Wuerffel.
Dave Plati, director of CU sports information, said every year each school gets to nominate one senior player for the award, which he described as the ultimate academic award a player can receive. The nominations are based on GPA, community service and playing requirements, among other criteria.
“(Daniels) is a four-year starter on the offensive line with a 3.6 GPA and a decent amount of community service,” Plati said. “Starters have a better chance of winning (the Draddy award).”
Daniels has participated with the rest of the football team in community service activities, such as visiting patients at the Boulder Community Hospital on Friday’s before game days, reading Dr. Seuss books to kids at the Children’s Hospital, and hosting a kid’s flag football tournament to raise donation money.
Erich Schubert, assistant CU sports information director, said although there are many academically successful players on the team, Daniels was nominated because of a combination of factors.
“(Daniels) signifies how student athletes are able to balance school and sports,” Schubert said. “He’s a perfect example of that.”
The recipient of the Draddy award will be announced Dec. 5 at the 49th annual awards dinner in New York City.