PAONIA, Colo. Since 1935 the Heisman Trophy has been awarded annually to outstanding college football players whose performance best exhibits their pursuit of excellence with integrity.
In 1994, Wendy's created a High School Heisman Award with a similar purpose. This year, Dagan Rienks of Paonia High School was named one of the state finalists for this honor.
“Him and his dedication some of those younger kids look at that and say that's how I want to be and that's who I want to be like,” said Head Coach Brent McRae.
Senior Dagan Rienks continues to make his mark on the gridiron, serving as the quarterback for the two-time state champion Paonia Eagles.
There’s more to Dagan than his contributions on the field, and that's why his coach, Brent McRae says he's one of twenty finalists for Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.
“Dagan deserves a Wendy's Heisman Award because of his dedication not only to his teammates but to his community of Paonia,” said McRae.
It's easy to get caught up in the limelight when you're a star athlete.
Dagan, however, cares more about being a positive example for those around him.
“Anyway I can lead people in the right direction and change how they see things or lead them to success, I just want to have an effect on the community,” said Dagan Rienks.
Dagan’s list of extra-curriculars includes more than just athletics. He’s part of National Honors Society and volunteers for the Hillman house His willingness to help others translates right into football.
“He’s the one guy in the huddle that when things go out of hand and things go negative he can bring us back together and keep us focused,” said McRae.
It's part of the legacy Dagan says he hopes to leave behind.
“Definitely for like the freshman and all them, I hope to move them and lead them in the right direction and hope that they do this stuff when they get into their senior year,” said Rienks.