Glenview, Ill. - Vanderbilt senior linebacker John Stokes has been named a finalist for the sixth annual ARA Sportsmanship Award. A blue-ribbon panel of former coaches, media members and collegiate administrators will select the winner, which will be announced in November.
Stokes, a native of Memphis, Tenn., is the Commodores' second leading tackler. He is also exceptional in the classroom and in community service projects on the Vanderbilt campus.
Stokes is a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, formerly known as the Draddy Trophy, and has been nominated by Vanderbilt Athletics for the prestigious National Scholar Athlete Award sponsored by the National Football Federation and College Hall of Fame.
The ARA Sportsmanship Award, sponsored by the Awards and Recognition Association, is given annually to an outstanding NCAA Division I collegiate football player who best personifies the spirit of sportsmanship.
The 2010 finalists, in alphabetical order, are Sam Acho, Texas; Corbin Bryant, Northwestern; Jordan Gafford, Miami (Fla.); Scott Lewis, St. Francis (Pa.) University; Chima Nwachukwu, Washington State; Christian Ponder, Florida State; Tyler Replogle, Indiana; Dominik Riley, Memphis; Chris Stewart, Notre Dame; and Stokes of Vanderbilt.
"The word is getting out to a wider audience about the importance of sportsmanship as the number of candidates more than doubled from last year," said B.J. Bailey, CRS, president of ARA. "We are thrilled to be part of this groundswell of excitement over the power of sportsmanship. As the only national award that recognizes an athlete's character and leadership as it translates to sportsmanship, the ARA Sportsmanship Award was created six years ago to shed light on these positive traits."
To qualify for the award, an athlete must be a starting player or significant contributor on his team; be in good academic standing; demonstrate great respect for competitors, school, teammates and coaches; show an ability to accept victory and defeat graciously; convey a high degree of humility and integrity; and demonstrate commitment in the classroom and to the community.
Previous winners are Kansas State University tight end Jeron Mastrud (2009), Northwestern University receiver Eric Peterman (2008); Washington State quarterback Alex Brink (2007); Rutgers University fullback, Brian Leonard (2006) and University of Memphis running back, DeAngelo Williams (2005).
Former Brigham Young University Head Football Coach LaVell Edwards chairs the selection committee of retired coaches and others, including:
· Bobby Bowden (Florida State)
· Spike Dykes (Texas Tech)
· Don James (Washington)
· Dick MacPherson (Syracuse)
· Don Nehlen (West Virginia)
· Tubby Raymond (Delaware)
· Gene Stallings (Alabama)
· Hub Arkush, Pro Football Weekly
· Christine Brennan, USA Today
· Steve Hatchell (President, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame)
· John Humenik (Executive Director, College Sports Information Directors of America)
· Bernie Kish (Former Executive Director, College Football Hall of Fame)
· Lisa Klunder (Executive Director, College Football Hall of Fame)
· Ted Miller, ESPN
· Grant Teaff (Executive Director, American Football Coaches Association)
· Alex Brink (2007 Winner ARA Sportsmanship Award)
· Jeron Mastrud (2009 Winner ARA Sportsmanship Award)
· Eric Peterman (2008 Winner ARA Sportsmanship Award)
· B.J. Bailey (President, ARA)