DEAN AND SCHOLAR ATHLETE: University of Tulsa senior tight end Garrett Mills is on track to become both an academic and athletic all-American. He holds a 3.9 grade point average in the College of Business Administration, where he is pictured with the Dean, Dr A. Gale Sullenberger.
Courtesy University of Tulsa and Rex Public Relations
University of Tulsa senior tight end Garrett Mills has been named one of 184 semi-finalists for the 2005 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and a candidate for the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame 2005 National Scholar-Athlete Awards, as announced by the NFF.
Known in many circles as the “Academic” Heisman, the Draddy Trophy continues to be one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.
Mills possesses a 3.91 grade point average in management.
On the field, Mills is the nation’s leading tight end with 38 receptions for 480 yards, a 12.6 average and four touchdowns. He has had three 100-plus yard receiving games in the last four games, including a career-best 13 receptions for 152 yards against number 18-ranked Oklahoma. In his career, Mills has 152 receptions for 1,634 yards and 18 touchdowns in 42 career games played as of this writing.
Mills, a Jenks High School graduate, ranks 11th nationally in total receiving yards (480) and ninth in receptions per game (7.6). He also ranks 21st in the nation in receiving yards per game with a 96.0 yard average. No other tight end ranks among the nation’s top-35 in receptions per game and receiving yards per game, or among the top-25 for receiving yards per game.
Mills is the only candidate on the Division I-A list from Oklahoma, and is one of seven candidates from Conference USA schools.
“The Draddy epitomizes everything right about college football,” said NFF President Steven J. Hatchell. “By recognizing this group, we highlight the countless hours and demands that each college football player must balance as they pursue their dreams of a higher education and their passion for football. The NFF has both the privilege and responsibility to pay tribute to this exceptional group of role models, who truly embody the term student-athlete.”
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, semi-finalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
The semi-finalists, which includes 106 players that have earned All-Conference recognition on the field, have an average GPA of 3.5. The list includes 45 offensive linemen, 30 linebackers, 88 offensive players, 80 defensive players and 16 special teams players. The most selections came from Division I-A with 63, while Division I-AA had 44, Division II had 20, Division III had 43, while the NAIA had 14.
Established to honor former NFF Chairman Vincent dePaul Draddy, a Manhattan College quarterback who founded the Izod and Lacoste brands, the award comes with a stunning 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
The NFF Awards Committee is comprised of former coaches, Hall of Famers and college administrators. The winner, also selected by the committee, will be announced at the 48th NFF Awards Dinner on December 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Each finalist will also be recognized that night as part of the 2005 National Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship.
Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to credit a player for both academic and athletic accomplishments. The Draddy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program’s mystique.
Tennessee’s Michael Munoz won the Draddy Trophy last year.
CBS SportsLine.com has named Mills to their mid-season All-America team. Earlier this week, SI.com also named Mills to Sports Illustrated’ mid-season All-America team.
At mid-season, Mills lead all tight ends in receiving with 50 receptions for 638 yards and five touchdowns. He ranked 13th nationally in receptions per game (7.1), 16th in total receiving yards (638) and 30th in receiving yards per game with a 91.1 yard average. There is no other tight end in college football this year that ranks among the top-50 in receptions per game, nor among the top-35 in total receiving yards and receiving yards per game.
The 6’2” senior has had four 100-plus receiving games this year, including career-highs of 13 receptions for 152 yards against Oklahoma. He also had 143 yards and one TD against North Texas, 106 yards and two touchdowns vs. Memphis and 115 yards and one TD at Southern Miss.
Against Memphis, Mills caught the game-winning 25-yard touchdown pass in overtime to give Tulsa a 37-31 victory.
In his career, Mills has 164 receptions for 1,792 yards and 19 touchdowns while playing in 44 career games. He has caught a pass in 34 consecutive games, which is the longest current streak among the nation’s tight ends.