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Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield has been recognized as one of 10 NCAA football bowl subdivision student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and were tabbed as finalists 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.

A committee of media chose the finalists from the list of 30 candidates announced in August. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website through December 5. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I FBS coaches’ votes to determine the winner.

Minnifield entered his final season at UVa on three national award watch lists that are handed out by the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The Lexington, Ky., native is on the Chuck Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Thorpe Award watch lists. He is also on the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list and was announced as a nominee for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Minnifield is one of two players from the ACC on the list of 10 finalists. Dawson Zimmerman (punter) of Clemson also represents 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 was listed this season as a third-team midseason All-American by Phil Steele as he currently helps anchor the ACC’s No. 1 and nation’s No. 8 pass defense. His 12 career INTs rank No. 3 among active players and he ranks No. 5 on UVa this season with 28 tackles.

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.

Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winner during the 2011 football bowl season.

Football Bowl Subdivision Finalists
Emmanuel Acho, Linebacker, Texas
Jake Bequette, Defensive End, Arkansas
Drew Butler, Punter, Georgia
Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Michigan State
Austin Davis, Quarterback, Southern Mississippi
John Dowd, Guard, Navy
Chase Minnifield, Cornerback, Virginia
Dan Persa, Quarterback, Northwestern
Nate Potter, Offensive Tackle, Boise State
Dawson Zimmerman, Punter, Clemson

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