Henderson State University’s Kevin Rodgers and Ashley Ray have been selected as finalists for the Arkansas Star of Tomorrow sponsored by the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Crain Automotive Team.
The Crain Automotive Team Star of Tomorrow Award honors the top collegiate athlete in Arkansas. This is the only award that recognizes student athletes from across the state based on their achievements on the field of play, contributions in the community, and academics.
The winner is chosen by members of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the general public, and local media. The winner will be announced at the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on March 8 at Verizon Arena.
Each university/college in the state nominated a female and male student athlete with the committee selecting the 10 finalists.
The general public accounts for 25 percent of the final vote. Voting is conducted online and the public is encouraged to vote by going to www.arstaroftomorrow.com.
Rodgers helped lead Henderson State to the 2012 Great American Conference football title and an appearance in the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs for the first time in school history.
The All-American quarterback threw for more than 4,000 yards and 41 touchdowns last fall. The 2012 GAC Offensive Player of the Year averaged a national best 14.77 yards per pass completion and 9.78 yards per pass attempt.
The sophomore from Rockwall, Texas, was a Harlon Hill finalist, two-time National Player of the Week honoree, and was chosen as the GAC Offensive Player of the Week a record six times.
Off the field, Rodgers is an active member in HSU’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM).
Rodgers also assists in the Reddie to Serve Day, a community clean-up program; the Reddie to Read program in the Arkadelphia public schools; and the Reddie to Teach program which conducts sports clinics at the Arkadelphia Parks and Recreation Department.
Rodgers, along with members of the Reddie football team, participates each year in the Reddie Football Blood Drive, assists at the local humane society, and has helped local schools and community centers with the building of playgrounds.
A member of the Academic All-GAC Honor Roll, Rodgers has a 3.9 grade point average in business/pre-law.
“Kevin is a great leader on and off the field,” said head football coach Scott Maxfield. “He is a class act and is one of those special players that every coach dreams of having on their team. Teammates have a great deal of respect for him. He is a modest and humble player that credits his success to his teammates and coaches. He exemplifies the meaning of the phrase student-athlete, excelling in the classroom, on the field and within the community. I am very proud of everything he does for this university. He is a great ambassador for Reddie Football and Henderson State University.”
Ray played in 211 games at second base for the Lady Reddie softball team.
She completed her eligibility in the spring of 2012 and is only the second Lady Reddie softball player in school history to earn all-conference honors all four seasons.
The native of Colt, Ark., earned her degree in physical education in December and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in sports administration from Henderson State.
Ray was a 2012 GAC Commissioner’s Trophy Finalist and earned Henderson State’s Outstanding Female Physical Education Award.
Ray has been involved in several organizations including serving as HSU’s HPER Club president, a member of Kappa Delta Phi, which is an honor society in education where she served in a leadership position, and participated in the National Women’s in Sports Day.
Ray also participated in several community service projects such as the Reddie to Serve Day, Reddie to Read program, Soles for Souls program, and the Lady Reddie Kids Club, among others.
“We are very proud of Ashley for what she has accomplished on and off the field,” said head softball coach Beth Jackson. “I couldn’t think of a more deserving person for such a prestigious award.”
Henderson State is one of four institutions to have both a female and male athlete selected.
Other finalists include: Tyler Wilson and Jaime Piani from the University of Arkansas; Seth Allison and Megan Herbert from the University of Central Arkansas; and Connor Silvestri and Melissa Clement from Hendrix College. The remaining two representatives are Ryan Aplin from Arkansas State, and Mickey Hammer of Southern Arkansas.