Courtesy of Denison Sports Information
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn.— Denison University senior running back Alex Minton (Bethel Park, Pa. / Bethel Park) has been named a semifinalist for the 2019 Gagliardi Trophy, which is presented to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III.
This is the second consecutive Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist for the Denison Big Red program. Canaan Gebele was a semifinalist in 2018.
Minton established himself as one of Division III's elite running backs in 2019. He was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after capturing his second-straight conference rushing title. Minton rushed for 1,550 yards and a program-record 18 rushing touchdowns. At the conclusion of the regular season, he ranked fourth in Division III in rushing yards, seventh in rushing touchdowns and third in total touchdowns. He rushed for over 100 yards, seven times in 2019 and ended the season with a career-high 255 yards rushing against Kenyon.
"Alex is one of the hardest working athletes that I have worked with in 30 years of coaching," remarked Denison head coach Jack Hatem. "On the field, Alex plays with a unique blend of courage and joy. That also translates off the field. He has the strength of character to lead our team socially towards championship behavior."
Minton played three seasons at Denison after transferring from Drake University in the Spring of 2017. He leaves Denison ranked third in rushing yards (3,919), and first in rushing touchdowns (44). He is the second player in Denison's history to post three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Minton rushed for a program-best 6.4 yards per carry and his four, 200-yard rushing games is tied with Chris Spriggs '87 for the most in DU history. Minton also leaves Denison as the all-time scoring leader with 300 points and he ranks second in career all-purpose yards with 4,429. The epitome of a downhill runner, Minton was stopped for a loss only 13 times on 616 career rushing attempts.
A standout in the classroom and in the community, Minton fully embodies the traits and ideals espoused by the Gagliardi Trophy. A biology major who boasts a 3.35 grade point average, Minton was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team in 2019 and is a candidate for Academic All-America honors. He has been named to the Dean's List and both Denison University and Drake University and is a member of the pre-health honor society, Alpha Epsilon Delta. At Denison, Minton serves as a chemistry tutor and was a chemistry teaching assistant before moving into a role as a chemistry undergraduate research assistant in the spring of 2019. Minton was selected by Denison professor, Dr. Reczek, to conduct an independent research study on dimer synthesis within the organic chemistry department.
Minton has also volunteered with the Denison Community Association, working with the "Hope for All" committee within the Denison Community Association. Hope for All focuses on the social and emotional learning of middle school and high school students with disabilities. Minton also serves as a Denison University peer mentor, that saw him assigned to an incoming first-year student to assure their transition from high school to Denison was as easy as possible.
Minton and Denison football is also very involved with the non-profit A Call to College based out of nearby Newark, Ohio. In volunteering with A Call to College, Minton, and members of the Denison football team volunteer at various local elementary schools, reading to students while encouraging them to continue their educations and one day, attend college.
The four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy (pronounced gah-lar-dee) that is presented by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University (Minn.), will be announced via live stream on D3Football.com on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m.
The Gagliardi Trophy, presented annually since 1993, recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is named after John Gagliardi, the Saint John's University Hall of Fame head football coach who retired in 2012 with 489 career wins, the most in college football history. Gagliardi passed away in October 2018 at the age of 91.
Nominations were submitted by colleges across the country, and the semi-finalist was selected by the J-Club Board of Directors. In past years between 10 and 13 semi-finalists have been named. This year 12 semi-finalists will now move on to the national selection committee. The Gagliardi Trophy national-selection committee is comprised of 16 Division III coaches (four from each NCAA Region), four Division III Administrators (one from each region), eight regional notable voters (two from each region), and eight national voters with Division III backgrounds, plus one fan vote that will be live soon on D3football.com and running until Monday, Dec.9, the same day the national-selection voting is closed. No J-Club members vote.