Gagliardi final four heading to Salem

Junior quarterback Kevin Burke from Mount Union, senior quarterback McCallum Foote from Middlebury, senior linebacker Cole Klotz from UW-Whitewater and senior running back Octavias McKoy from Western Connecticut have been named finalists for the 2013 Gagliardi Trophy, given to the most outstanding all-around Division III football player by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University (Minn.).

The trophy will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 18, in Salem, Va., at a banquet kicking off a series of Division III Stagg Bowl championship events. The final four candidates will be on hand for the banquet. will have live video coverage of the Gagliardi Trophy ceremony, at which all four remaining candidates will be interviewed and we'll find out who wins the award.

The Gagliardi Trophy, given annually since 1993, recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is named after John Gagliardi, Saint John's legendary Hall of Fame head football coach, who retired in November 2012 with 489 career victories, the most in college football history. Gagliardi will receive the National College Football Awards Association's Contributions to College Football Award during the Home Depot College Football Awards show, which will be televised live on ESPN, at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Background on the 2013 Gagliardi Trophy final four candidates, including statistics through the end of the regular season, academic major and community service is listed below.

Burke and Klotz are playing in the Division III semifinals Dec. 14 and are one win away from meeting Dec. 20 at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem. Foote is a two-time Gagliardi Trophy finalist, while McKoy ended the regular season as Division III’s leader in scoring (17.3 ppg) and rushing touchdowns (26).

Kevin Burke, University of Mount Union (Ohio)
5-10, 190 | Junior | Quarterback | Business Administration
Westlake, Ohio/St. Edward H.S.

-Second in Division III in passing efficiency (193.7) and third in points responsible for (234)…24-0 record as a starting quarterback…led Mount Union to 2012 national title…volunteers with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Mount Union Relay for Life.

McCallum Foote, Middlebury College (Vt.)
6-4, 201 | Senior | Quarterback | Economics
Newton, Mass./Noble and Greenough School

-Division III leader in completions/game (32.4) and second in passing yards/game (345.8)…Capital One Academic All-District selection…volunteers with Special Olympics and served on leadership team for “Team Impact Program”…also served as a teacher’s assistant in Spain.

Cole Klotz, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
6-4, 245 | Senior | Linebacker | Cell Physiology
Elm Grove, Wis./New Berlin Eisenhower H.S.

-Leading tackler (70) on defense that finished the regular season second in Division III in scoring defense (8.0 ppg.) and seventh against the run (75.4 ypg.)…2013 WIAC Player of the Year…volunteer engagement includes WIAC Food Drive, local meal program and food pantry.

Octavias McKoy, Western Connecticut State University
5-10, 191 | Senior | Running Back | Professional Writing
Stratford, Conn./Stratford H.S.

-Division III leader in scoring (17.3 ppg.) and rushing touchdowns (26)…second in all-purpose yardage (206.4 ypg.) and rushing yards (1,715)…set a then-NCAA All-Divisions record with 455 rushing yards Oct. 26…volunteer engagement includes local bone marrow registry drive and road race to benefit the Newtown (Conn.) Police Union.

Gagliardi Trophy nominations were submitted by 16 colleges across the country. The 10 finalists were selected by the J-Club Board of Directors and the final four were determined by a national selection committee composed of 38 former small college football players, business leaders, academicians and sports writers from around the country. Each committee member cast a ballot ranking the 10 finalists.

College football fans also voted online, and their tally represented the 39th committee member. Senior defensive lineman Adham Talaat from Gallaudet received the highest number of online fan votes with 9,542.