OU scholar Pendleton to quit game for school, brother

Updated: October 26, 2006, 8:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Oklahoma defensive tackle Carl Pendleton is one of the finalists for the Draddy Trophy, given to the top scholar-athlete in college football, and he's going to take that honor a step further. He plans to give up football for the books.

Each finalist receives an $18,000 scholarship from the National Football Foundation for postgraduate studies; the Draddy Trophy winner receives a $25,000 scholarship. Pendleton plans to use his scholarship to stop playing football after his junior season.

Pendleton, the legal guardian for his 10-year-old brother, Kierstan, said he will enter graduate school and concentrate on his family and academics.

"With the new responsibility of raising my younger brother, I realize that football is not the best choice for me," Pendleton said in a statement Thursday. "Football was a way for me to get my education. Graduate school will allow me to further my education and allow me more time to spend raising my brother without having to play football. He has become my center."

Pendleton is one of 13 college football players who will receive an $18,000 scholarship. He is a sociology major with a 3.86 grade-point average.

He will receive the scholarship at an awards dinner in New York on Dec. 5. Other honorees include Florida quarterback Chris Leak, Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny and West Virginia linebacker Jay Henry.

"It is rewarding for all of us at OU to see him receive this scholarship and we support his decision," coach Bob Stoops said of Pendleton, who has 31 career tackles and four sacks.

The finalists were selected from all NCAA divisions and the NAIA.

The other Division I-A finalists are Rutgers fullback Brian Leonard; Colorado guard Brian Daniels; Connecticut defensive tackle Rhema Fuller; Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas; and Wyoming safety John Wendling.

Other finalists are Yale offensive lineman Ed McCarthy; St. Francis, Pa., receiver Luke Palko, Alabama A&M offensive lineman Kristian Smith; Ferris State linebacker Michael Klobucher; Pittsburg State defensive end Ryan Meredith; Carnegie Mellon defensive back Aaron Lewis; St. Thomas receiver P.J. Theisen; and Ambrose center Brad Cook.

LSU offensive lineman Rudy Niswanger won the Draddy Trophy last year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.