COLLEGEVILLE, Minn.-- Denison senior quarterback Canaan Gebele has been named a semifinalist for the 2018 Gagliardi Trophy, which is presented to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III.
The four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy (pronounced ga-lar-dee) that is presented by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University (Minn.), will be announced on D3football.com on Thursday, December 6, in a live streaming broadcast. The winner of the 2018 Gagliardi Trophy will be announced by D3football.com on Friday, December 14, prior to the Division III national championship game.
Gebele was named the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after leading Denison to its first conference championship since 1986 and the program's first NCAA playoff appearance since 1985. The Annapolis, Maryland native passed for 2,153 yards and a career-high 25 touchdown passes while completing 61.7 percent of his passing attempts. A dual-threat, Gebele also rushed for 612 yards and a team-best 14 rushing touchdowns. His 252 points responsible for ranked second in Division III entering the postseason.
Gebele has re-written the Denison record book in terms of passing and total offense. He is the career leader in passing yards (7,608), attempts (987), completions (634), touchdown passes (66), total offense (10,028), total plays (1,531) and touchdowns responsible for (106). He also holds single-game records for rushing touchdowns (5), points scored (30) and touchdowns responsible for (8).
In 2018, Gebele captained a Big Red offense that broke program records for points (437), points per game (39.7), touchdowns (60), first downs (262), total offense (5,000), all-purpose yards (5,974) and total plays (805). Denison entered the postseason ranked fifth in the nation in time of possession and was fourth in red zone offense.
Gebele is majoring in data analytics with a minor in economics. He is a member of the sports analytics club and is a student broadcaster for lacrosse with the Denison Sports Network. Last spring, he studied abroad at the University of Alicante in Spain. While in Spain he volunteered with young Spanish football players to foster goodwill and expand their love of American football. In his native Washington, D.C., Gebele has provided free coaching to underserved area high school football players over the summer.
He has also volunteered at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Newark, Ohio and has participated in the "A Call to College" program in the Newark City School system, where he along with other members of the Denison football team, read to elementary school children, encouraging them to aim their goals toward a college education.
The Gagliardi Trophy, presented annually since 1993, recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is named after John Gagliardi, the Saint John's University Hall of Fame head football coach who retired in 2012 with 489 career wins, the most in college football history.
The national selection committee is comprised of 39 former small college football players, former Gagliardi Trophy recipients, business leaders, academicians and sports writers from around the country. Each casts a ballot ranking the 10 semifinalists. A fan vote, which will serve as the 40th committee member will take place onD3football.com and will run until Monday, Dec. 3.