ROCK HILL – Dakota Mozingo has been named the 2017 South Atlantic Conference Football Scholar-Athlete, becoming the first-ever Newberry football player and 17th student-athlete across all sports in school history to earn SAC Scholar-Athlete recognition.
"I’m extremely proud of Dakota for everything he’s accomplished on and off the field during his career," said head coach Todd Knight. "Anytime you’re the first person to win an award it’s incredibly special and Dakota is absolutely deserving. He’s been a team leader for years now, works as hard as anybody in the classroom, and is so engaged out in the community. He’s a great representative of our program and of Newberry College."
Mozingo shares this year’s award with Tusculum’s Evan Altizer. It marks the fourth tie in conference history and first tie in football for the prestigious honor. Faculty Athletics Representatives from all 12 South Atlantic Conference institutions and affiliate members rank nominees from across the league in academics, athletics, and community service and leadership.
The Rock Hill native has started every game the past two seasons, playing three positions last season before solidifying his spot as the Wolves’ center in 2017. He played over 95 percent of Newberry’s offensive snaps this season, had 39 pancake blocks, and graded out over 80 in nine of 11 games while topping 90 on six occasions.
Mozingo played in 40 games with 24 starts during his four-year career. He was a member of a pair of postseason teams and last season’s SAC championship squad. He helped Newberry’s offense set school records in scoring, passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, completion percentage, total offense, all-purpose yards, and total touchdowns in 2016. He also helped pave the way for Romelo Doctor in 2015, when the exemplary running back led all collegiate players in the state of South Carolina with 1,235 rushing yards.
A member of the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and Dean’s List every semester of his career, Mozingo graduated last week with a degree in Physical Education and a Teacher Certification. He carried a 3.56 cumulative GPA into the fall semester.
Mozingo is also known as a community servant off the field. He has completed student-teaching stints at Little Mountain Elementary and Chapin High Schools, has read to students at Little Mountain Elemtary and Mid-Carolina Middle Schools, and has volunteered at three area elementary schools as a car door opener in the mornings. He has also been a regular attendee on team visits to hospitals and nursing homes.
An Order of the Gray Stripe member, Mozingo has active memberships in a pair of national leadership societies and has been heavily involved in his church’s Vacation Bible School sports camps. While injured during spring practice, he even assisted Offensive Line Coach Na’Shan Goddard with coaching duties.
“Having Dakota on the field is like having a coach out there orchestrating the plays,” Goddard said. “I love watching him get the offensive line in the right position to succeed every play. Trying to replace him in the offseason will be my biggest task."
“He’s an outstanding young man that does a great job in the classroom and on the field,” Knight added. “He’s not the biggest kid out there, but, boy, he plays like it.”
Mozingo has received a multitude of honors for his work on and off the field this season. He was voted a first team all-region offensive lineman by Sports Information Directors from Super Region 2 and earned first team distinction in both the SAC and Eastern College Athletic Conference.
Prior to the season, he was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation to the nation’s top scholar-athlete in the sport regardless of NCAA or NAIA classification.
Click here to read the full release from the South Atlantic Conference.