The versatile front-seven defensive player could receive an $18,000 scholarship for his hard work both on the field and in the classroom
Sports | Jared Nelson for The Clarion
Gavin Maurer sacks Carleton quarterback Conor Lynch in a game on Sept. 22. Maurer's versatility has been key for the No. 33-ranked scoring defense, which has forced 18 turnovers in seven games. | Matt Kelley
The National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award was founded in 1959 as the first initiative to award postgraduate scholarships to athletes based on their academic and athletic accomplishments. Since its inception, the program has distributed nearly $10 million to 756 distinguished recipients.
This year, Bethel senior Gavin Maurer is one of 147 college football players from across the country nominated for the award.
Maurer is a two-time Academic All-Conference player, and he has won a variety of departmental scholarships during his time as a student-athlete. However, he admitted that this award would certainly be the biggest.
In December, 16 nominees will be selected to receive an $18,000 scholarship for postgraduate studies. The scholarship would ease the financial burden of medical school, which Maurer plans to attend after graduation.
“It is definitely an honor,” Maurer said of his nomination. “Our football team is full of intelligent men, so to be picked out of all of them was great. To be chosen from all the athletes in college football was an honor as well.”
Maurer feels humbled by his nomination and is quick to point out that this award speaks volumes about the program as a whole.
“My success isn’t based off of what I’ve done alone,” he said. “It’s all about what I’ve done as a part of the group and what the group has done together.”
Maurer’s dedication in the classroom and on the field has earned him the respect of many in the football program, including fellow defensive lineman Luke Buttenhoff.
“Gavin brings a great foundation to our team,” Buttenhoff said. “Since I’m a year younger and around him a lot, he’s definitely a guy I try to model myself after.”
Maurer is becoming a reliable utility player for the Royals’ defense, seeing time on the defensive line and as a linebacker. Buttenhoff praises his teammate’s flexibility and attention to detail while learning new positions.
“He’s probably capable of playing five positions for us on defense, which is a testament to his focus and intelligence,” Buttenhoff said. “Most guys like me have enough trouble just playing one.”
Many student-athletes struggle to stay on top of both schoolwork and athletics, but Maurer has plenty of advice on how to master the balancing act.
“At times it can seem overwhelming, but if you always remember that attending a school like Bethel is a privilege and that we are all blessed to be here, it puts things in perspective,” he said. “I believe that if you work hard and use your resources, success is always possible.”
Finally, Maurer recalls the football team’s Bible verse for this season, Proverbs 14:23, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”