December 11, 2009 10:14:00 AM
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Tyson Lee remembers seeing the movie "Rudy" and he loved it.
Now the Mississippi State quarterback has a chance to win an award named after the film.
Lee, of Columbus, has been nominated for the third-annual Rudy Award as announced by The Rudy Foundation. The award honors student-athletes who demonstrate character, courage, contribution and commitment for their teams. Those traits were exhibited by Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger in the movie. Ruettiger was a character who beat all odds to play in a college football game.
"It''s a tremendous honor," Lee said. "To even be nominated is a blessing. I''m shocked to be honest."
Three finalists will be chosen by a selection committee and from fan voting which continues through Dec. 15 on www.CollegeRudyAwards/NomineeSearch.aspx. The finalists will be announced on Dec. 15 and honored at the American Football Coaches Convention on Jan. 11 in Orlando, Fla.
Each finalist will receive a classic finalist award, have an academic scholarship made in his name to the general scholarship fund to his school and have his expenses paid for the trip. The winner of the award gets a top scholarship and a bronze Rudy Award trophy.
"We established this award as a special way to honor and recognize college football players for the size of their hearts instead of the enormity of their stats," Ruettiger said.
Ruettiger, who presents the award each year, hopes it will grow into one of the top collegiate honors.
The Bulldogs had four freshmen make the All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team as announced by the league Thursday.
Wide receiver Chad Bumphis, defensive lineman Fletcher Cox and defensive backs Johnthan Banks, of East Webster High School in Maben, and Corey Broomfield were the MSU newcomers honored.
"I knew when we signed we''d have a pretty good class," Bumphis said. "We just didn''t know how long it would take for us to start making plays. We''ll be surprised how many more people we''ll have to contribute later, I think, because we have a lot of talent in this class."
Bumphis led the Bulldogs in catches (32), receiving yards (375 yards) and touchdown receptions (four).
The contribution in the first year did surprise Bumphis.
"I expected to come in and play, but I didn''t think I would do as well as I did," Bumphis said.
This and that
A group of 11 MSU football players will receive their bachelor''s degrees at commencement ceremonies this weekend. ... MSU baseball coach John Cohen made just over $600,000 in his first full season. Cohen had a $250,000 base salary, $254,841 from private Bulldog Foundation funds and $100,000 in endorsements. ... Former MSU football coach Sylvester Croom received $3.5 million in full as part of his resignation agreement to leave the school after the 2008 season.