Army’s Andrew Rodriguez joined elite company on Tuesday when he was named the winner of the Sullivan Award as the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete. The honor has been presented annually since 1930, and is based on character, leadership and sportsmanship.
A-Rod had 59 tackles in 12 games for Army in 2011, serving as one of the team’s captains. His 4.14 GPA as a mechanical engineering major was insane, he ranked third in his class of 1,052 cadets and he also won the Campbell Trophy as the National Football Foundation’s National Scholar-Athlete.
“I’m blessed to be here and for the opportunity to play for all the servicemen and women around the world,” Rodriguez said. “This award goes out to them.”
A-Rod is the sixth football player to win the Sullivan Award in its 82-year history, and the second from Army (correction: third from Army). Felix Blanchard of Army won the award in 1945 and more recently, non-Army QB’s Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow.
“This award is a tribute to all the people who have helped me throughout my life, especially my family,” Rodriguez said. “I had the opportunity to play for all the servicemen and servicewomen who watched us every week. That’s who my teammates and I played for, and this award goes out to them.”
Rodriguez is the second cadet in the last three years to be a finalist for the honor, joining 2011 West Point graduate Clint Moore, who graduated and was drafted by the San Diego Padres last year.