Willamette University running back Dylan Jones ’15 was honored as one of four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy during an awards banquet in Salem, Va. Wednesday night.
Although Jones did not take home the prize — the highest honor for an NCAA Division III football player — Willamette Head Coach Glen Fowles said he couldn’t be more proud of his player.
“He’s been a leader on the field, off the field and in the community,” Fowles said. “We couldn’t ask for a better guy. Congratulations, Dylan.”
The winner of the trophy was senior quarterback Kevin Burke from the University of Mount Union in Ohio. The other finalists were senior quarterback Michael Bates of Illinois College and junior quarterback Joe Callahan from Wesley College in Delaware.
This season, Jones rushed an average 177.7 yards per game, the most in Division III. He set three school records for Willamette: single-season rushing yards (1,599), single-game rushing yards (350) and longest run (98 yards).
During his Willamette career, Jones rushed 484 times for 2,857 yards — just two yards short of the school record. He scored 34 career-rushing touchdowns, plus two touchdowns on pass receptions for 36 touchdowns overall. He scored 216 career points for the Bearcats.
In addition to competing in football, Jones runs on Willamette’s track team and is an environmental science major. This past summer, he completed an internship with the City of Salem that involved maintaining the streams that run through the city.
His internship inspired his senior thesis about the difference in water quality between high-income and low-income areas. Jones has participated with the football team in the United Way Days of Caring the past four years. During two of his years at Willamette, he helped students move into their residence halls prior to the start of the fall semester.
The Gagliardi Trophy, awarded annually since 1993, is sponsored by Jostens and the J-Club of St. John’s University of Minnesota. The award is named after John Gagliardi, long-time head coach at St. John’s, who achieved 489 career victories — the most in college football history.