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Press Release

Media Contact: Burt Trembly
The Rudy Foundation
(505) 328-2288



DALLAS, TX (January 11, 2011) – Mark Herzlich, a senior linebacker for the Boston College Eagles, has won the 2010 COLLEGE FOOTBALL RUDY AWARD it was announced today by The Rudy Foundation 501(c)(3) charitable organization ( The Rudy Awards™ honor student-athletes who demonstrate exemplary CHARACTER, COURAGE, CONTRIBUTION and COMMITMENT as members of their teams, on and off the field. These same traits were immortalized in the blockbuster film “RUDY” which told the amazing story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger and his journey into college football lore.

Three award finalists were honored this morning at the Priority Payment Systems College Football Rudy Awards™ breakfast, during the American Football Coaches Association Convention at the Hilton Anatole, in Dallas, TX. Herzlich, who just completed his college career at the Fight Hunger Bowl, was represented by his father, Sandy. Rudy Ruettiger personally presented Sandy with the bronze Rudy Award trophy, and the winning scholarship grant was made in Mark’s name to the Boston College general scholarship fund. The other two finalists, Alex Henery (University of Nebraska) and Michael Lemon (North Carolina State University), each received a classic finalist award plaque and runners-up grants were made in their names to their respective schools.

“We established this award as a special way to honor and recognize college football players for who they are and what they represent, both on and off the field,” said Rudy Ruettiger. “Mark Herzlich is a special young man who has overcome more than most of us could ever imagine to continue to pursue his dreams. He personifies the spirit of this award and is a great example of the values of character, courage, contribution and commitment.”

After the 2008 season in which Mark was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, he was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer). The 2009 season was over for Mark, and many thought his career.  But through the strength of his character, courage and commitment, he fought the disease and has returned to the field as a starter once again.

Mark’s story has become an inspiration to kids and adults across the country.  Watching him lead his team onto the football field to open the 2010 season is an enduring image of the entire college football season.
The 2010 Award Selection Committee included football coaches Barry Alvarez, David Bailiff, Gary Barnett, Fisher DeBerry, Dennis Franchione, June Jones, Chuck Knox, Gary Patterson, Buddy Pough, Jackie Sherrill and Dick Tomey, as well as former Washington Redskins Quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams. Prominent businessman Peter Murphy, Jr., again served as Chairman.

Terry Clayton, then a senior linebacker at the University of Kentucky, who, despite losing his hearing at the age of five, persevered as a walk-on for the Kentucky football team for five seasons and twice was named to the Southeast Conference Academic Honor Roll was the recipient of the 2007 INAUGURAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL RUDY AWARD.

Drew Combs, then a senior kickoff specialist for Texas Christian University, who, despite being born with a left arm that ends at his elbow, made the TCU football team as a walk on and became a key weapon on special teams, was the recipient of the 2008 COLLEGE FOOTBALL RUDY AWARD.

LeVon Morefield, then a junior running back at the University of Akron, overcame several obstacles early in life just to reach college, including being born addicted to crack cocaine, being arrested for selling drugs and nearly dropping out of high school. While holding down three jobs, he decided to walk on to the Akron football team, eventually earning a scholarship. He was the recipient of the 2009 COLLEGE FOOTBALL RUDY AWARD.


“You're five foot nothin', a hundred and nothin', and you have nearly a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football team in the land for two years. And you're getting a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don't have to prove nothin' to nobody but yourself."

-- Fortune (as played by Charles S. Dutton) in the film "RUDY."


About The Rudy Foundation

The Rudy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and recognition of those who aspire to fulfill their dreams through character, courage, contribution and commitment. Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger and his wife Cheryl founded The Rudy Foundation in 1997. Members of the board of directors include Jerome Bettis, Ross Browner, Rick Mirer and Aaron Taylor.

The son of an oil refinery worker and third of 14 children, Rudy Ruettiger rose from valleys of discouragement to the pinnacles of success. Today, he is one of the most popular motivational speakers in the U.S. It took years of fierce determination, yet Rudy achieved his first dream -- to attend Notre Dame and play football for the Fighting Irish. As fans cheered RU-DY, RU-DY, he sacked the quarterback in the only play in the only game of his college football career. Rudy Ruettiger remains the only player in the school's history ever to be carried off the field on his teammates' shoulders.

In 1993, TRISTAR Productions immortalized his life story with the blockbuster film, “RUDY.” Written and produced by Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh, the critically acclaimed movie continues to inspire millions worldwide.

In addition to his motivational speaking, Rudy Ruettiger has co-authored several books, including: “Rudy's Insights for Winning in Life,” “Rudy's Lessons for Young Champions,” and “The Rudy In You,” and has produced the Dream Power audio series. For more information visit: