Feb. 27, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former Notre Dame football standout John Carlson (Litchfield, Minn./Litchfield) has been awarded a postgraduate scholarship through the NCAA. Carlson was one of 29 male student-athletes who participated in a fall sport, which included cross country, football, soccer and water polo, to receive the $7,500 scholarship.
Carlson becomes the first Notre Dame football player to receive the honor since 1993 when Tim Ruddy earned a postgraduate scholarship. He is the 17th former Irish football player to be acknowledged and the 43rd former Notre Dame student-athlete to earn the prestigious grant since the award’s inception in 1964.
Eleven of the 29 male recipients in the fall played football but Carlson was one of only two student-athletes from the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) to be honored (Christopher Joseph from UCLA was the other).
Carlson is just the second Notre Dame male student-athlete to earn this distinction since 1998 (Ted Brown, swimming, 2007). The other Irish football players to receive the scholarship are: Fred Schnurr (’67), Jim Smithberger (’68), George Kunz (’69), Mike Oriard (’70), Larry DiNardo (’71), Tom Gatewood (’72), Greg Marx (’73), Dave Casper (’74), Pete Demmerle (’75), Reggie Barnett (’75), Joe Restic (’79), Tom Gibbons (’80), John Krimm (’81), Greg Dingens (’85), Reggie Ho (’88) and Ruddy (’93).
Carlson was named a National Scholar-Athlete this year by the National Football Foundation and received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. He was one of 15 football players from all NCAA divisions of football to receive the award and became the 15th Notre Dame football player to earn the scholarship. Carlson also became just the 11th Notre Dame football player to earn a postgraduate scholarship from both the NCAA and the National Football Foundation. The previous Irish football student-athletes were: Kunz, Oriard, DiNardo, Gatewood, Marx, Casper, Demmerle, Restic, Dingens and Ruddy.
He was named a first-team Academic All-American in 2006 and a second-team Academic All-American in 2007. Carlson was also named recipient of the Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year award at the football team’s annual banquet each of the past two seasons. A May 2007 graduate, Carlson earned a degree in history before being accepted into the graduate studies program at Notre Dame for the fall semester. He posted a 3.917 grade-point average in his final semester as an undergraduate to push his overall undergraduate GPA to 3.633 at Notre Dame.
The 6-6, 259-pound tight end also excelled on the football field for head coach Charlie Weis in 2006 and 2007. With just 13 career receptions through his first two seasons, Carlson was an offensive leader during his final two campaigns, totaling 87 catches for 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns. His 100 career receptions are the second-most ever by an Irish tight end and his 1,093 career receiving yards ranks third all-time by a Notre Dame tight end. Carlson started 31 of the 47 games he appeared in including all 23 contests over the last two seasons. Prior to the start of the 2007 season, Carlson was voted a team captain by his teammates and he also served as a member of the team’s leadership committee in 2006 and 2007.
In addition to the fall sport honorees, the NCAA also awards 116 postgraduate scholarships to student-athletes participating in winter and spring sports in which the NCAA conducts championships or participates in as an emerging sport, for a total of 174 postgraduate scholarships annually.
To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must have an overall grade-point average of 3.200 (on a 4.000 scale) or its equivalent, and must have performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which the student-athlete was nominated. The student-athlete must have behaved, both on and off the field, in a manner that has brought credit to the student-athlete, the institution and intercollegiate athletics. The student-athlete also must intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a full-time or part-time graduate student.
Nomination information is sent to faculty athletics representatives for fall sports in September, for winter sports in January, and for spring sports in March. Selections are made three times each academic year. The nomination must be submitted during the appropriate seasonal category for the sport using the online scholarship submission system. Candidates are screened by seven regional selection committees, and the award recipients are selected by the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee.