Belton, Texas – University of Mary Hardin-Baylor defensive back and punter Baylor Mullins has been named one of ten Semifinalists for the 2016 Gagliardi (guh-LAR-dee) Trophy, an award presented annually to the outstanding Division III football player in the country. Mullins, a senior from Merkel High School, becomes just the third UMHB player to be named a Semifinalist for the prestigious award, joining quarterback Cody Fredenburg (2003) and running back Quincy Daniels (2010). The Gagliardi Trophy honors excellence in athletics, academics and community service and is named for former St. John’s (MN) University head coach John Gagliardi. Gagliardi retired as the winningest coach in college football history with 489 career victories.
Mullins leads UMHB with five interceptions and seven pass break-ups on the season and he ranks second on the team with 67 total tackles. Mullins is also the Cru’s punter and is averaging 36.5 yards per kick. He has earned a total of seven American Southwest Conference All-Conference honors in his career. Mullins is also UMHB’s career leader in interceptions and interception returns for touchdowns. He needs one more tackle to move into third place on the Cru’s career list in that category. Mullins was voted a team captain by his teammates and helps lead a defense that leads the country in tackles for loss per game and defensive touchdowns this season. Mullins is also a three-time ASC All-Academic selection and will graduate in May of 2017 with a degree in Exercise Science. He volunteers with Palo Alto Middle School Mentorship Program and Bell County Juvenile Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Mullins is also active with volunteer work at “Hope For The Hungry” and in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He serves as Cru football’s representative to the UMHB Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“It is quite an honor for Baylor to be named as a Semifinalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, and I think he is a very deserving candidate,” Crusader head coach Pete Fredenburg said. “That is an incredible honor for an amazing person who really embodies all of the qualities that Coach Gagliardi is trying to honor with this award. We certainly hope he continues to move on and I encourage everyone to vote for him on D3football.com.”
“We are very pleased that the committee has selected Baylor as one of the Semifinalists for the Gagliardi Trophy,” UMHB President Randy O’Rear said. “Baylor has a great personality, wonderful character, and is an outstanding student. He is a servant leader who is always willing to serve his team, school, and fellow man in any capacity and he embodies the ideal of Division III athletics.”
The 2016 Gagliardi Trophy will be presented on Thursday, December 14th, as part of the festivities leading up to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the Division III National Championship game. The award program is sponsored by Josten’s Inc. and is conducted by the J-Club of St. John’s University. This is 24th year the Gagliardi Trophy will be presented to the nation’s top Division III football player. The other Semifinalists for the award this year are: Monmouth College LB Matt Barnes, Wisconsin-Whitewater DL John Flood, St. John’s (MN) LB Carter Hanson, Coe College RB Trevor Heitland, Alfred University LB A.J. LiCata, Linfield QB Sam Riddle, Washington-St. Louis QB J.J. Tomlin, Hardin-Simmons LB Cory Ward and Hendrix College RB Dayton Winn. The Gagliardi Trophy winner is determined by a 40-member national selection committee. The committee includes college coaches, former athletes, college administrators, business leaders and members of the media. The ten Semifinalists will be narrowed down to a field of four finalists with that announcement coming on December 6th. All four finalists will fly to Salem to be present for the announcement of the winner.
Fans will also have a chance to vote on their choice through D3football.com. Be sure to vote for Mullins by using the following link: http://www.d3football.com/gagliardi-voting. The fan vote counts as one total vote in the final balloting. Each of the 40 members of the committee will rank the finalists from 1-10 to determine the winner.