Commentary

There is no quit in these players

Updated: January 27, 2010, 10:25 AM ET
By Jon Mahoney | ESPN RISE

Most sports fans have seen the movie "Rudy". The image of former Notre Dame football player, Daniel Rudy Ruettiger, has become part of American life and a larger part of football players lives.

But Rudy's contribution had very little to do with his athletic prowess, but rather how he carried himself off the field.

It is in that spirit that Trusted Sports has created the Rudy Awards to honor "inspirational football players who best define what Rudy refers to as the "The Four C's": Character, Courage, Contribution and Commitment."

The process began with more than 390 submissions from 48 states and is now down to 30 semifinalists with the winner and two runners-up being announced on Feb. 3.

The winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship and will receive the High School Football Rudy Award, which will be presented by Rudy Ruettiger.

The two Runners-up will receive a $5,000 academic scholarship and Runners-up Award and each of the thirty Semifinalists will receive a 'Rudy 45' football jersey.

Dalton Dyer, Placer (Auburn, Calif.)
Why he is a candidate: Dyer had to overcome obstacles while growing up as a foster child. If that wasn't enough, during his junior season in 2008, Dyer was at the center of controversy after transferring from Bethel when he found a new home. He was deemed ineligible by the California Interscholastic Federation because the proper hardship transfer paperwork wasn't filed and as a result, Placer would have to forfeit games and wouldn't be able to participate in the playoffs. But Dyer stood strong through the whole ordeal and a judge ultimately ruled he was eligible and Placer wouldn't have to forfeit its games. It was a court victory that changed the state's rules on foster student-athletes who transfer.

Vote for Dyer here

Kurt LeBlanc, South Terrebonne (Bourg, La.)
Why he is a candidate: LeBlanc was ready to take his spot as a starting linebacker at South Terrebonne. But before he even had the chance, he suffered a stroke and nearly died while in the hospital. Thankfully, the story doesn't end there. LeBlanc has shown incredible strength on the road to recovery he's still on and has inspired those around him with his determination.

Vote for LeBlanc here

Calob Leindecker, Parkview Baptist (Baton Rouge, La.)
Why he is a candidate: Leindecker once had it all going for him on the gridiron. In 2007, the then-sophomore led Parkview Baptist to the Class 3A state title and intercepted a pass in the state championship. But only a few months later, Leindecker's leg was severely injured as he was trying to pull a friend's truck out of the mud. Doctors were forced to amputate his left leg, but that didn't stop him from wanting to play football again. The senior returned to the field in August to hold for an extra point.

Vote for Leindecker here

Jon Mahoney is a football and baseball editor for ESPNHS. Email him at jon.mahoney@espn.com.