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Wesley's Callahan wins Gagliardi Trophy

Photo Credit: Larry Radloff,

Wesley College quarterback Joe Callahan is bringing Division Three football’s version of the Heisman Trophy back to Dover.

Callahan won the Gagliardi Trophy Wednesday night.  

He picked up the award - which recognizes excellence on the field, in the classroom and in community service – in his second year as a finalist for the honor.

"I was probably as nervous as I've ever been for anything, especially after losing out on it last year - you never know what's going to happen," Callahan told Delaware Public Media.  "But it was a big adrenaline rush when they called my name."

Wesley’s senior signal-caller set an NCAA Division Three single–season record for passing yards this year with 5,063, while throwing for 55 touchdowns. He joins Hawaii's Colt Brennan as the only college quarterbacks ever at any NCAA level to throw for 5,000 yards or more and 55 touchdowns or more in a single season.

But Callahan says those numbers and the Gagliardi Trophy wouldn't have been possible without his teammates.

"This award says more about the team I had around me over the past 4-5 years," said Callahan.  "I've had great athletes, a great offensive line, receivers, running backs, tight ends, and defense that's just made my career so much easier.  They've definitely taken so much pressure off me.  The records speak more about how much they've helped me than my own personal abilities."

Off the field, Callahan has maintained a 3.42 GPA as a Exercise Science major while participating  in variety community projects.

Callahan is second Wolverine to win the Gagliardi Trophy, joining safety Rocky Myers who earned it in 2004 – his second year as a finalist.   He says he proud to add to the Wolverines' rich football tradition.

"It speaks to the type of program Wesley has that it has continued to have successful individual players on the field, and has had great team success with one of the best record [in Div. III] over the past 20 years," said Callahan.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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