Screws named inaugural Doris & Eddie Robinson Scholar-Athlete
(STATS) – He's the captain of Jacksonville State's No. 1-ranked FCS squad, a starting wide receiver, heavily involved in community service and, oh yeah, has a 3.99 GPA while majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry.
It's easy to see why Dalton Screws was tabbed STATS' Doris & Eddie Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday.
Named after the legendary coach of Grambling State and his wife, a former teacher who passed away in September at the age of 96, the award is handed out to an FCS student-athlete who excels not only on the field and in the classroom, but in the community and beyond.
“The family of Doris and Coach Eddie Robinson is respectfully honored to have STATS name its academic achievement award in tribute to a couple who together emphasized higher education as an expected parallel with athletics,” said Eddie Robinson III, the Robinsons' grandson.
No FCS player embodied such virtues more than Screws.
A redshirt junior from Anniston, Alabama, Screws was the class valedictorian and president at Wellborn High School. His college work has been equally impressive. He's a recipient of the OVC Academic Medal of Honor and member of the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll, and was named to both the JSU President's and Dean's Lists.
He was one of just 22 players nationally to be on the 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
“Being able to receive such an award is an honor,” said Screws, who has caught 28 passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns during a Gamecocks dream season that has seen them perched atop the rankings since Sept. 14. “Being able to represent my school and my family and what it means to be a student-athlete means a lot to me, and playing in the FCS at this level, it's just an honor to receive such an award.”
In October, Screws was named one of six OVC Scholar-Athletes for accomplishments in the 2014-15 academic year – the highest individual honor for an OVC student-athlete that is given annually for accomplishments in both the classroom and athletic arena with leadership qualities.
“I push myself on the field to get better every day and I do that same thing in the classroom,” Screws said. “It started in high school with my brother who is four years older than me … he was salutatorian and I wanted to be like him and I always wanted to one-up him, so it had to be valedictorian.
Just pushing myself and trying to take that same competitive edge that I have on the field and using it off the field.”
A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Screws has helped coordinate fundraising efforts for the Hoops For Heroes program. Away from campus, he has spent the last six summers on mission trips with E3 Partners, traveling to Caracas, Venezuela and, more recently, Ukara Island and Magumu in the African nation of Tanzania. There he's taught natives how to improve quality of life while also digging wells for fresh water and helping with providing AIDS testing and eye exams.
In the Jacksonville community, he has also helped with Project 58, which has helped pack more than 100,000 meals for those in need.
“Personally, I have a heart for children and youth,” he said. “So when I go, I spend a lot of time in the schools there, trying to teach them, play with them and interact with them, in an effort to try and reach the young people of Tanzania and improve their quality of life.”
Screws will be presented with the award at STATS' annual FCS banquet in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 8 – the night before an FCS national title game he may very well be playing in. Jacksonville State takes on Charleston Southern in a quarterfinal matchup Friday night.
Screws was selected from a list of finalists representing all 13 FCS conferences that included: Christopher Beaschler, linebacker, Dayton; Derek Crittenden, defensive end, Montana; Matt DelMauro, running back, Bucknell; Nick Faraci, center, Robert Morris; Padyn Giebler, linebacker, Incarnate Word; Mark Iannotti, quarterback, Southern Illinois; Carl Jones, center, North Carolina Central; Javancy Jones, defensive end, Jackson State; Jake Prus, offensive tackle, Villanova; Alex Ross, quarterback, Coastal Carolina; John Russ, quarterback, Mercer; Matt Shiltz, quarterback, Butler; Cole Toner, offensive tackle, Harvard; and Carson Wentz, quarterback, North Dakota State.