Utah State football player Bobby Wagner was one of 30 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) student-athletes excelling both on and off the field who were selected as candidates Tuesday for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in football.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence — community, classroom, character and competition. The CLASS award is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.
“I’m very honored to be recognized not only for my actions on the field, but off the field as well. I really care about this community and am very grateful for the support that we as a football team get and am happy to give what I can back and try to show my appreciation,” Wagner said.
Wagner is one of two Western Athletic Conference players on the list, joined by Fresno State placekicker Kevin Goessling. He is also one of three players from the Beehive state on the list, which includes Utah offensive tackle Tony Bergstrom and BYU offensive tackle Matt Reynolds.
“We’re honored for Bobby to earn this recognition. He is a tremendous young man and a terrific leader for our football team, both on and off the field. As a team captain, the younger players look up to him, and Bobby is a great role model and an example for players to follow and replicate,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. “We’re proud of his involvement with Cache Valley and our community.”
A native of Ontario, Calif. (Colony High School), Wagner is on numerous preseason watch lists for various awards and honors, including the Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski Awards. He is a two-time first-team all-WAC honoree, becoming USU’s first multiple first-team selection since Kevin Robinson earned all-Sun Belt honors in 2004 and all-WAC accolades in 2007, and USU’s first back-to-back first-team honoree since Kevin Curtis earned first-team all-Independent honors in 2001 and 2002.
Wagner enters his senior season nearing USU’s and WAC’s career tackles list, currently with 299 career stops, needing 28 tackles to break into the Aggies’ top 10 list and 18 stops to crack the WAC’s top 10. Last season, he led the WAC with 115 tackles (53 solo, 62 assists), for a 9.6 tackles per game average. In WAC-only games, he also led the league with 71 total stops (35 solo, 36 assists) for an 8.9 per game average, which ranked 22nd in tackles in the FBS.
Off the field, Wagner has a 2.97 cumulative GPA as an entrepreneurship major and is expected to graduate in the spring of 2012. He earned academic all-WAC honors in 2009 and was a two-year captain on the football team. Wagner is also a community favorite, loving to visit with the fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures in various places and locations, including the grocery store and the airport and everything in between. Wagner also goes to elementary schools to read to students and play games with them and is involved in youth football camps.
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. The award is sponsored by Lowe’s, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, and is managed by Premier Sports Management.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist best exemplifying excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
For more information on all the candidates, visit www.seniorCLASSaward.com.
USU is preparing for the 2011 season opener on Sept. 3 at No. 23/19 Auburn on ESPN2 at 10 a.m. (MT).
All practices of the preseason are open to the public. Fans are encouraged to stay in the stands when the team is practicing on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium and in the bleachers at the practice field. All open practices are subject to change.
USU’s preseason concludes with a scrimmage on Saturday at noon as part of Utah State Aggie Football Family Fun Day, sponsored by Macey’s Foods. The event provides fans a chance to meet USU football players and coaches, participate in games and activities, and purchase and pick up season tickets. Activities sponsored by Macey’s Foods will begin on the South Concourse of Romney Stadium.
Season tickets, as well as two-game packages, will be available for purchase at the Family Fun Day at the Romney Stadium box office, located on the south end of the stadium.
After its season opener at Auburn on Sept. 3, Utah State’s home opener is on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. (MT), taking on in-state foe Weber State, marking the first time that USU and WSU have squared off since 2001; Utah State leads the all-time series, 11-1. The Aggie-Wildcat matchup will have special meaning for head coach Andersen, who will be facing his mentor, Weber State head coach Ron McBride. Andersen played for McBride at Utah in 1985-86.
For USU football ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or call 888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.