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Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield has been recognized as one of 30 NCAA football bowl subdivision student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and were tabbed as candidates for the football Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Minnifield is one of three players from the ACC on the list of 30 candidates. Will Snyderwine (placekicker) of Duke and Dawson Zimmerman (punter) of Clemson also represent the ACC on the list.

Minnifield finished No. 2 in the ACC and No. 5 nationally with six interceptions in 2010. A Honorable Mention All-American, Minnifield also had 48 tackles. The Lexington, Ky., native shared ACC defensive back of the week honors with teammate Corey Mosley after snaring two interceptions in UVa’s 24-19 upset of No. 22 Miami. Minnifield is on the Jim Thrope Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy and Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch Lists. Most recently Minnifield was announced as a nominee for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

The graduate student earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology after just 3.5 years and now is pursuing a graduate degree in the School of Education. Minnifield is actively involved in Virginia’s Athletes Committed to Community and Education (A.C.E.) program. A.C.E. was designed as an in-school program for young students to promote classroom success and achievement through a partnership between UVa athletes and local schools. He works with students at Walker Upper Elementary School on a weekly basis and always makes time for the kids, despite his academic and athletic demands. Minnifield also participates in other community-service projects, such as the football team’s annual Bone Marrow Drive, The Shoot Out for Cancer and an Easter egg hunt at a local rehabilitation clinic for children.

The 2011 candidate class includes four Associated Press All-Americans from last season. Eight of the 30 have maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better. Five of the candidates were recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America as 2010 Academic All-Americans. Twelve of the candidates play for teams ranked in the USA Today preseason top 25 poll. Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winner during the 2011 football bowl season.

The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.

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