Whitewater High graduate Zweifel earns Gagliardi Trophy

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Gazette staff
Thursday, December 15, 2011
— Maybe Michael Zweifel knew what he was doing when he chose to wear No. 1.

Statistically, he's the No. 1 receiver in the history of college football.

Historically, he's the No. 1 player in Division III for the 2011 season.

The University of Dubuque senior and Whitewater High School graduate won the 2011 Gagliardi Trophy on Wednesday night.

The Gagliardi Trophy is the NCAA Division III equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, given to the nation's top football player. Zweifel was one of four finalists for the award, which was presented Wednesday night as part of the festivities leading up to Friday night's Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl game between UW-Whitewater and Mount Union.

The other finalists were UW-Whitewater senior quarterback Matt Blanchard, Monmouth senior quarterback Alex Tanney and St. Thomas senior wide receiver Fritz Waldvogel.

"I have the best teammates in the world," Zweifel said after being presented the award. "Football is truly the best team sport in the world. Any individual honor that comes out of football is a reflection of the team."

Zweifels numbers are staggering.

He led all NCAA divisions with 12.7 receptions and 178 yards per game, and 24 receiving touchdowns. He is the all-time leader—at any level of NCAA football—with 463 career receptions.

Zweifel recently wrapped up an incredible collegiate football career. The 6-foot-1 senior played two years at UW-River Falls before joining his father, Stan, at Dubuque University in Dubuque, Iowa, for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Michael helped lead the Spartans to the school's first Iowa Conference title in 31 years this past season and a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs. He currently holds three NCAA records, nine University of Dubuque records, four Iowa Conference records and one Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record.

"The records are going to mean a lot more to him as he gets older," Stan Zweifel said. "But I think Michael will tell you that his greatest (athletic) accomplishment he has been involved in was being part of a transformation from taking a last place team to a first place team in three years.

"For Michael, this is a culmination of years and years of hard work on the football field and off the football field."

What's equally impressive are Michael's numbers in the classroom. The College Sports Information Directors of America named Zweifel, a health, wellness and recreation major with a 3.90 GPA, the Capitol One Division III Academic All-America of the Year. Michael was also the only Division III finalist among 16 for the William V. Campbell Trophy, given to the collegiate player with the best combination of academics, community service and on-field performance. Army senior linebacker Andrew Rodriguez won the Campbell Trophy, which was announced Dec. 6.

Last updated: 7:06 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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