It’s no secret that Harvard football senior cornerback Andrew Berry is a star on and off the field. From astounding football ability to academic prowess, Berry has been a standout his entire Crimson career.
Now the entire country will know of Berry’s talents as he joins the ranks of Peyton and Eli Manning in earning the National Football Foundation (NFF) National-Scholar Athlete Award.
With the award, Berry will be one of 15 finalists who are in contention for the Draddy Trophy.
Often called the ‘Academic Heisman’, the trophy goes to the American college football player with the best combination of academics, community service and on-field performance.
“I am truly flattered to receive the award,” Berry says. “With everything the foundation stands for it’s just a great honor. Even being in consideration for an award like this is a huge blessing.”
As an award winner, Berry will receive an $18,000 scholarship and will be honored at the 2008 NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The ceremony will also include the induction of the 2008 College Football Hall of Fame.
Each school is allowed to nominate one player for the award. Candidates must be seniors or graduate students in their final year of eligibility and have a grade point average of at least 3.2.
Other criteria include outstanding football ability, leadership, and citizenship.
Berry joins 14 other college football scholar-athletes from around the country, including Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, and Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie.
“There are so many people worthy of these accolades, that you really can’t get a big head,” Berry said. “You just have to be glad that you’re in the running. The awards aren’t everything, but it’s an honor to receive any of them.”
Described by his teammates as ‘Superman’, Berry has been wowing Harvard fans since his spectacular freshman debut, when he recorded three pass breakups, six tackles and a fumble recovery. The senior cornerback has amassed an impressive collection of accolades throughout his Harvard career.
A John Harvard Scholar, Berry has been named an ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District selection, a Major H winner and an All-Ivy League Fall Academic Team selection. His other honors include an Allstate AFCA Good Works Team selection, a preseason All-American selection by the Sports Network and a preseason first team All-American selection by College Sporting. The list goes on.
“In my 20-plus years as a head coach, I don’t think we’ve ever had a kid who was such a tremendous player, was as scholarly and gave back more to the community,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy says. “Andrew’s an amazing human being, starting with his character, and he gives us the kind of understated leadership that is so special.”
Berry has notched 95 tackles and four interceptions during his career. His presence in the secondary is so dominant that teams no longer throw in his direction. He did not have a single ball thrown against him in man-to-man coverage in four consecutive games last season. His intensity in the secondary parallels his intensity in the classroom.
“There are so many great things to say about Andrew,” senior linebacker Glenn Doris says. “He’s been an inspiration for me in the sense that he’s an unbelievable student and does everything he can in the classroom, and when he crosses the river to play football he’s completely dedicated to being a great player.”
When not wearing the Crimson jersey, Berry is working towards a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in computer science.
Ranking among the school’s top-five percent in grade point average, his dedication on and off the field is unparalleled.
An elected member of the Harvard Crimson Team Leadership Council, Berry is the director of the Cambridge Youth Enrichment Program, which serves the needs of 150 low-income children.
“Andrew is simply one of the most remarkable kids I’ve ever been around,” Murphy says. “While he is one of the best and most accomplished defensive backs in Harvard history, he is also one of the great human beings in Harvard College history. He always does the right thing without regard to how it will affect him, and he makes the people around him even better.”
As Andrew Berry heads into the national spotlight, Harvard fans will now have to share him with the rest of the country.