Witt To Receive “Swede” Nelson Award

Patrick Witt. (photo by Kevin McCarthy)
Patrick Witt. (photo by Kevin McCarthy)

Yale QB To Be Honored by Gridiron Club of Boston


BOSTON, Mass. - One of the most prestigious and time-honored national acknowledgements of accomplishments on and off the football field is handed out by the Gridiron Club of Boston each January. This year's recipient is Yale senior quarterback Patrick Witt (Wylie, Texas). The Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award stands for academic success, athletic prowess, sportsmanship and citizenship, qualities that the Bulldogs' offensive leader embodies.


Witt, a three-year starter and the 66th recipient of the award, owns almost every major Yale career passing record with 549 completions,  913 attempts and 6,033 yards. His 37 TD passes rank second in the storied history of the program.

The Gridiron Club of Boston's annual banquet is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 12 at
6 p.m. at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass.


The award, the fourth oldest collegiate football honor in the U.S. following the Heisman '36, Maxwell '37, and George "Bulger" Lowe '39 trophies, is named for the founder of the Gridiron Club, Nils V. "Swede" Nelson, a former Harvard player and coach. Nelson was a member of the unbeaten Harvard football team that defeated Oregon in the 1920 Rose Bowl.


Otis Armstrong (Purdue), Floyd Little (Syracuse), Doak Walker (SMU), and Mark Herzlich (Boston College) are just a few of the well-known past recipients.


Witt, a 2011 National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame scholar-athlete recipient ($18,000 post-graduate scholarship), is a finalist for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy, the highest academic honor bestowed on a football player, which will be handed out Tuesday night in New York City.


The Yale QB has a 3.91 GPA in history and this fall has already been a Rhodes Scholar Finalist and earned CoSIDA's Capital One Academic All-District honors.


Witt won the Francis Gordon Brown Prize, one of the school's highest undergraduate accolades, awarded to the student in the junior class in Yale College who most closely approaches the standards of intellectual ability, high manhood, capacity for leadership and service to the University set by Francis Gordon Brown, who captained Yale Football's "Team of the Century" in 1900.


The first transfer (Nebraska) student at Yale to start immediately at QB since World War II (when transfers were common), Witt has written for the Yale Daily News, is a member of the Intercultural Affairs Council and has done some prison ministry work as well as working with Habitat for Humanity.


Witt, the first Yale recipient in five years, is the second Yale QB to earn the "Swede" Nelson award (Brian Dowling, 1967).


Yale's "Swede" Nelson Award Winners

1952    Joe Mitinger, DG

1967    Brian Dowling, QB

1971    Dick Jauron, RB

2000    Eric Johnson, WR

2006    Ed McCarthy, OT

2011    Patrick Witt, QB

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director