Army linebacker Andrew Rodriguez won the James E. Sullivan Award given by the Amateur Athletic Union to the nation’s top amateur athlete. Rodriguez was presented with the award Tuesday night during a ceremony at the New York Athletic Club.
Rodriguez maintains a 4.14 grade point average as a mechanical engineering major and as a result is ranked third academically in a class of 1,052 cadets. He missed the 2010 season thanks to a back injury, but had 59 tackles and an interceptions in 12 games in 2011.
He is the sixth football player to win the award and the third from Army. Fellow Black Knights Doc Blanchard (1945) and Arnold Tucker (1946) took home the award as well.
The other football players to win the Sullivan Award were Florida State’s Charlie Ward (1993), Tennessee’s Peyton Manning (1997) and Florida’s Tim Tebow (2007). Rodriguez has also joined Manning and Tebow as the only winners of both the Sullivan and the National Football Foundations Campbell Trophy, which is given annually to the nation’s top football scholar athlete.
Other recent notable Sullivan winners include wrestler Rulon Gardner (2000), figure skaters Michelle Kwan (2001), Sarah Hughes (2002) and Evan Lysacek (2010) and swimmer Michael Phelps (2003).
Frankly I’m thrilled that the Sullivan recognized Rodriguez who represents the best our country has to offer in athletics and academics. He’s also doing at at West Point, a place that grooms our nation’s future leaders and not an SEC football factory.
I have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Mr. Rodriguez.