2019 Gagliardi Award: DIII Player of the Year


The Gagliardi Trophy, given annually since 1993, recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service.

The award is named after the late John Gagliardi, Saint John’s legendary Hall of Fame head football coach who retired in 2012 with 489 career victories, the most in college football history.



Broc Rutter, QB, North Central College

North Central College quarterback Broc Rutter ’20, a graduate of Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, won the 2019 Gagliardi Trophy for the best player in Division III college football, as announced shortly before kickoff of the Division III Football National Championship in Shenandoah, Texas. This marks the first time a North Central student-athlete has won the prestigious award. The Gagliardi Trophy recognizes excellence in academics and service as well as athletics.

Rutter is a three-time defending College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Art Keller Offensive Player of the Year while earning D3football.com North Region Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year.  He was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press and was named a Second Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

The career leader in nearly every passing category in both North Central and CCIW history, Rutter has also etched his name amongst Division III’s all-time best, throwing for 14,002 yards, 247 shy of tying Alex Tanney (2007-11) of Monmouth College (Illinois) for the all-time Division III record.  Rutter is the leading active quarterback amongst all NCAA divisions of college football. 

North Central has established new single-season school records for points scored (736), total offensive yards (7,834), total touchdowns (102), passing yards (4,559), passing touchdowns (57) and rushing touchdowns (42) this season, while Rutter threw for a single-game record 522 yards in the Cardinals’ 59-52 second-round win at the University of Mount Union (Ohio).

Making his 51st and final career start as a Cardinal in the 47th-annual Stagg Bowl, Rutter has started every game for North Central over the last four years, completing 998 passes with 143 passing touchdowns to go along with 10 career touchdowns on the ground.

In the Stagg Bowl, Rutter led the Cardinals to their first ever DIII National Championship, defeating Wisconsin-Whitewater. North Central led wire-to-wire, and dominated the Warhawks on both sides of the ball. Rutter completed 18 of his 27 passing attempts, while throwing for 263 yards and two touchdowns. 


The 2019 Gagliardi Award finalists included:

  • Birmingham-Southern (Ala.) – RB, Robert Shufford , junior
  • Linfield (Ore.) – QB Wyatt Smith, senior
  • St. John’s (Minn.) – QB Jackson Erdmann, junior
  • Aurora (Ill.) – QB Gavin Zimbelman , junior
  • North Central (Ill.) – QB Broc Rutter, senior


2019 Gagliardi Award winner: Jackson Erdmann, QB, St. John’s (MN)


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