North Central College running back Austin Breunig ’18 has been selected as one of 10 semifinalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, the premier individual award in NCAA Division III football. Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John’s University (Minnesota), which present the Gagliardi Trophy, announced the semifinalists for the annual award on November 21. (At press time, the four finalists and winner had not been announced.)
Breunig, who was named the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Offensive Player of the Year, is the fourth North Central player to advance to the semifinal stage and the first since Peter Bulandr ’13 in 2012. Breunig rushed for 1,266 yards and 15 touchdowns during the regular season and broke the Cardinals’ single-season records for all-purpose yards (1,686), total touchdowns (19) and points scored (114). In North Central’s eight conference games, Breunig compiled CCIW-leading totals for rushing yards (1,023) and all-purpose yards (1,325) while tying the conference’s all-time record for points scored (102). He has scored 218 points in conference play during his career, the CCIW’s eighth-highest total all-time. He earned All-CCIW honors for the third time.
An exercise science major, Breunig also is on track for his fourth straight Academic All-CCIW distinction and has made the Dean’s List at North Central three times. He has volunteered with Feed My Starving Children and participated in service events to benefit Special Olympics hosted on North Central’s campus.
The North Central football team finished its regular season with a 9-1 record and claimed a share of the football program’s 13th CCIW Championship. The Cardinals defeated Saint John’s University (Minnesota) in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Football Championship after making the field for the 10th time. North Central fell to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the second round.