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Todd Blackledge to Receive Prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award

Thursday, November 22, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 11:59 PM, under , , , , , ,

State College, PA - Former Penn State quarterback Todd Blackledge has been selected to receive the prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.

A college football analyst with ESPN/ABC, Blackledge, who led the Nittany Lions to the 1982 National Championship, is one of seven former NCAA student-athletes selected to receive the 2008 Silver Anniversary Award. The awards will be presented at the 43rd annual NCAA Honors Celebration on January 13, 2008, during the annual NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

The award recognizes former student-athletes who completed successful collegiate careers in various sports and have excelled in their chosen professions. The Silver Anniversary Award acknowledges the former student-athletes on their 25th anniversary of completing their athletics eligibility.

The NCAA Honors Committee, which is composed of athletics administrators and nationally distinguished citizens who also were former student-athletes, selected the recipients.

"I am very humbled by being selected for this prestigious honor," Blackledge said. "I am excited about it. I feel like I always want to represent Penn State. This is another opportunity for me to represent Penn State and Penn State Football, both of which are very special to me."

Blackledge is the third former Penn State student-athlete to receive the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, joining Mike Reid (1995; football) and Dave Joyner (1997; football and wrestling).

Joining Blackledge as 2008 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award honorees are: Theresa Andrews (University of Florida, swimming); Cormac Carney (University of California, Los Angeles, football); Anne Donovan (Old Dominion University, basketball); Dot Richardson (University of California, Los Angeles, softball and basketball); Robin Roberts (Southeastern Louisiana University, basketball); and Bob Woodruff (Colgate University, lacrosse).

Like Blackledge, Roberts and Woodruff also have attained success in the television broadcasting industry.

Blackledge re-joined ESPN in 2006 after serving as the lead analyst for CBS Sports’ coverage of college football for seven seasons. The seven-year NFL veteran is in his second season as the lead analyst for ESPN College Football Saturday Primetime, working with play-by-play commentator Mike Patrick and reporter Holly Rowe. Blackledge also contributes to College GameDay, SportsCenter and ESPN Radio.

Blackledge, who joined CBS in 1999, had previously worked as a studio and game analyst for ABC Sports (1994-98) and as a game analyst for ESPN (1997-98) on Thursday night telecasts. In addition, he called pre-season games for several NFL teams, including the Colts, Eagles and Browns, and has made regular appearances on sports radio shows in Cleveland (WKNR) and Canton (WHBC), Ohio.

A native of North Canton, Ohio, Blackledge began his career in television by working on the Emmy Award-winning “Penn State Football Story,” produced by Mind Over Media, a Pittsburgh-based production company.

Blackledge led Penn State to an 11-1 record and its first National Championship with a 27-23 victory over previously unbeaten Georgia in the 1983 Sugar Bowl. The Hoover High School product earned the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback in 1982, was sixth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy and concluded his collegiate career with 26 school records.

A three-year starter, Blackledge directed the Nittany Lions to a 29-4 record, including 13 comeback victories, from 1980 to 1982, including two Fiesta Bowl wins and one Sugar Bowl victory. He still holds several Penn State records, including touchdown passes in a season (22) and career (42). His game passing yardage record (358 vs. Miami, 1981) stood for 16 years and still ranks as the fourth-best in school annals.

A first-round draft choice of the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs in 1983, Blackledge played in Kansas City for five seasons and with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1988-89 before embarking on his broadcasting career.

Blackledge earned a B.A. in speech communication in 1983, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a 3.80 grade point average. A first team Academic All-American, he also was presented the Eric Walker Award, given to the Penn State senior who has most “enhanced the esteem and recognition of the University.” In 1997, Blackledge was inducted into the prestigious Academic All-America Hall of Fame.

Blackledge serves on the Board of Visitors for Penn State’s Center for Sports Journalism.

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