Central’s Hawkins Receives NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award

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Today's Top 10 by Blaine Hawkins

Blaine Hawkins is one of two Division III athletes to receive the Today’s Top 10 award.


Only the third Iowa college student to receive the elite honor will be recognized at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio

PELLA: At the culmination of a storied career, one of the NCAA’s highest honors goes to the former Central College football quarterback. blaine hawkins as he was named a 2023 Today’s Top 10 Award Winner.

Hawkins, the winner of the 2021 Gagliardi Trophy as the outstanding football player in Division III, and nine other exceptional former student athletes will be recognized at the Honors Celebration on January 11 during the NCAA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The awards ceremony will be broadcast via the NCAA YouTube channel.

Initiated in 1973, the award recognizes 10 former student-athletes from all NCAA divisions for their successes on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients completed their athletic eligibility during the 2021-22 academic year.

Hawkins joins former men’s lacrosse athlete Jack Mulvihill from St. John Fisher University (NY) as the only two honorees this year from a Division III institution. The other honorees are Sylvie Binder (women’s fencing), Columbia University; Jaeda Daniel (women’s tennis), North Carolina State University; Brooke Forde (women’s swimming), Stanford University; Naomi Girma (women’s soccer), Stanford; Gianna Glatz (women’s field hockey), Rutgers University; Jessica Meakim (women’s gymnastics), West Chester University (Pa.); Juan Ortiz Couder (men’s tennis), Embry-Riddle University (Florida); and Abby Steiner (women’s track and field), University of Kentucky.

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Hawkins is only the third student-athlete from an Iowa college or university to receive the award and the second in Central history. Central’s Emilie Hanson, a two-time NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Player of the Year and College Sports Communicators Academic All-American® of the Year, was honored with what was then the Today’s Top VIII Award in 1996 at the Convention of the NCAA in Dallas, Texas. Iowa’s only other college award winner was Simpson College softball pitcher Kelly Schade in 2000.

He is the fourth Division III soccer player to win the award, and the first since 2009.

Central's Hawkins Receives NCAA Today's Top 10 Award Hawkins 6 Bethel fb21
center quarterback blaine hawkinswho holds almost all school passing records,
he is only the third college or university athlete from Iowa to receive
the NCAA Today’s Top 10 award and Central’s second.

Majoring in economics and business administration, Hawkins graduated in 2021 with a 3.61 GPA (4.0 scale). He now serves as an associate in public finance investment banking for the Piper Sandler Companies in Denver, Colorado.

“We are delighted to celebrate this honor with Blaine,” Central President Mark Putnam said. “While he was a generational talent on the soccer field, this award embraces the breadth of Blaine’s experience at Central College and the wealth of opportunities that experience afforded him, just as it does for each of our students. Much of Blaine’s success stems from his making the most of those varied opportunities beyond soccer, from pursuing a double major, working and studying in London, the internships he took, his work with the Student Senate, as well as as the heart for service he displayed both in and informal settings. We are proud to have Blaine stand as a representative for Central College on the NCAA Honors Celebration stage in San Antonio next month.”

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The award tops a brilliant professional resume. Hawkins set 2021 NCAA all-division records for most touchdown passes in a season (63) and for points responsible in a season (410). He also set new Division III records for touchdown passes in a half (7) and responsible touchdowns in a run (178).

He was named the D3football.com Offensive Player of the Year and was selected to the American Football Coaches Association Division III All-America First Team, the Associated Press Division III All-America First Team, and the First Team All-America from D3football.com. He was a two-time all-region D3football.com selection, a two-time American Rivers Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a three-time Heerema-Schilder Blanket Award winner as Central team MVP.

Hawkins led the Central to their record 32nd conference championship in 2021 after helping the Dutch claim a share of the 2019 title. In 2021, the Dutch went 10-0 in the regular season and finished 12-1 in overall, advancing to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. In 13 games, he completed 331 of 468 passes (70.7%) for 4,475 yards and eight interceptions while posting a passing efficiency rating of 192.1. He also rushed for 230 yards and five touchdowns on 83 carries.

He shot six or more touchdown passes in six straight games in 2021 and had seven games with 300 or more yards. Hawkins threw 251 consecutive passes without an interception. He has nearly every school game, season and career passing record of his, including 41 completions in one game and 503 passing yards in another.

In his career, Hawkins completed 888 of 1,314 passes for 11,802 yards with 32 interceptions and 148 touchdowns. He also rushed 418 times for 1,715 yards with 30 touchdowns and amassed a total offense of 13,502 yards. Central was 38-6 in games when he started.

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A member of the 2021 College Sports Communicators Academic All-American® Second Team, Hawkins was twice named to the CSC All-District Academic Team. The co-captain of the two-year-old team was a representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Central Student Senate. He also participated in the Central Day of Service and served as an assistant coach for a third grade basketball team. Hawkins spent part of the spring 2020 semester studying in London and completed an internship for a British company.

The NCAA Honors Committee, which selects honorees, is comprised of nationally distinguished citizens and dedicated representatives from NCAA member schools and conferences, including past honorees. Prior to 2013, the award recognized eight student-athletes and was known as Today’s Top VIII. The NCAA Honors Committee expanded the award to include 10 honorees to recognize the growing number of collegiate athletes, sports, and championship opportunities.