Tech's Bradley Thompson one of six to earn OVC Scholar-Athlete honor

NASHVILLE, Tenn, -- Tennessee Tech University junior Bradley Thompson is one of six individuals selected by the Ohio Valley Conference to receive its prestigious Scholar-Athlete Award for 2007-08.

A native of Jamestown, Tenn., Thompson is a defensive lineman on the Golden Eagle football team, and has previously earned back-to-back Academic All-District honors in 2007 and 2008.

The award is the highest individual honor that can be earned by OVC student-athletes, and is given annually to three men and three women student-athletes of junior or senior status for their accomplishments in both the classroom and athletic arena, and because of their leadership qualities.

The six winners were selected from a group of 19 finalists by a vote of OVC Faculty Athletics Representatives. Honorees must have performed athletically with distinction, earned at least a 3.25 grade point average and conducted themselves in a manner which has brought credit to the student-athlete, his or her institution, intercollegiate athletics and the OVC. The award is based on academic and athletic criteria/accomplishments achieved during the 2007-08 school year.

The 2007-08 Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete winners are:
* Lesley Binning of Jacksonville State University (cross country/track and field)
* Carrie Burggraf of Austin Peay State University (track and field)
* Amber Guffey of Murray State University (women's basketball)
* Brian Morrell of Eastern Illinois University (baseball)
* Bradley Thompson of Tennessee Technological University (football)
* Andrey Yesipov of the University of Tennessee at Martin (men's tennis)

Thompson completed his fourth year with the Tennessee Tech football team in 2008, progressing from a walk-on to a starter on the defensive line for the Golden Eagles. In 2007 he played in 11 games, starting six contests. He had 27 total tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack, a forced fumble and two quarterback hurries.

In the classroom Thompson has a 3.969 grade point average in mechanical engineering. He was selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team in 2007, and repeated that honor in 2008). Thompson has earned multiple OVC Medal of Honors and Commissioner Honor Roll selections and has made the Tennessee Tech Dean's List and Athletic Director's Honor Roll for six consecutive semesters entering 2008-09.

He is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Pi Tau Sigma mechanical engineering honor society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Here is a brief bio on each of the other five winners:

Lesley Binning - Lesley Binning is in her fourth year at Jacksonville State where she is a member of the cross country and track and field programs and has been the team's No. 1 distance runner. With the track and field team, Binning has been an All-OVC selection in 2007 and 2008. She placed third in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 OVC Outdoor Championships after finishing seventh in the 5,000 meters at the Indoor Championships. She also had fourth-place finishes in the 5,000 meters at the 2006 Indoor Championship as well as the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the 2006 Outdoor Championship. She also holds the Jax State school records in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters in indoor competition and the 5,000 meters in outdoor track and field. In four years with the Gamecocks cross country squad, she set program records for both 5K and 6K distances. In the classroom Binning has a perfect 4.00 grade point average in exercise science/wellness, health and physical education. She has been a recipient of the OVC Medal of Honor three times, the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll three times and the JSU President's List three times. Binning is also a member of JSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as well as the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Club (where she was Co-President in Spring 2008). Binning is a native of Mitchell, Ontario, Canada.

Carrie Burggraf - Carrie Burggraf is a member of the Austin Peay track and field team where she competes in pole vault. Last season she capped off her junior campaign by winning the 2008 OVC Outdoor pole vault championship and setting a championship record in the process (12'3 ?"). She was also a participant at the 2008 Mideast Regional meet. That followed a sophomore season that saw her finish fifth in each the Indoor and Outdoor OVC Championships in pole vault. In the classroom Burggraf has compiled a 4.00 grade point average in political science (with a minor in history and English writing). She has earned the OVC Medal of Honor twice as well as being named to the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll twice. Burggraf has also been an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection and a USTFCCCA All-Academic pick. She has been named to the Austin Peay President's and Dean's List multiple times. Burggraf is a member of Gamma Beta Phi (for being in the top 15% of her class), the Phi Alpha Theta history honors society, the Founder's Circle of the Pre-Law Society, the History Club, the Campus Safety Committee and serves as a Disability Services note-taker. She is a native of Marion, Ohio.

Amber Guffey - Amber Guffey is in her fourth year with the Murray State basketball team and helped lead the Racers to its first OVC Tournament Championship in 2008 on her way to Tournament MVP honors. As a junior she was a first-team All-OVC selection and ranked third in the OVC in scoring (17.7/game) and assists (4.3/game), second in free throw percentage (89.1%, which ranked 6th nationally) and fourth in 3-point percentage (43.6%). During the year Guffey set school records for free throws made in a game (18), free throws made in a season (179) and 3-pointers made in a season (72). She also became a member of the program's 1,000-point club. In the classroom she has a 3.97 grade point average in health and physical education. Guffey has been a three-time OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll selection and a two-time OVC Medal of Honor recipient. She has also been a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection. Guffey has volunteered with the Senior Citizen Olympics, reading at local elementary schools, the OVC SAAC Can Food Drive, MSU Career Fair as well as serving as a private basketball mentor. Guffey is a native of Albany, Ky.

Brian Morrell - Brian Morrell is entering his senior season with Eastern Illinois baseball team where he is a relief pitcher. In 2008, he helped the Panthers to the 2008 OVC Tournament Championship and a berth in the NCAA Regionals. He appeared in 24 games, compiling a 5-2 record, 4.42 earned run average and a save. Morrell struck out 44 batters in 55 innings of work. For this three-year career, Morrell has a 7-3 record and 4.20 E.R.A. in 36 appearances. This past summer he was named an All-Star in the Central Illinois Collegiate League and was ranked the No. 8 prospect in the league by Baseball America. In the classroom Morrell has a 4.00 grade point average in biological sciences. Last spring he was named a second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American, where he was one of just four pitchers nationally selected to the first or second-team. He has been an OVC Medal of Honor and Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient in addition to receiving the Heath Sports Medicine Scholarship in 2007 and the Errett Warner Presidential Award in 2008. Morrell is a native of Quincy, Ill.

Andrey Yesipov - Andrey Yesipov is in his fourth year with the UT Martin men's tennis team. As a junior he earned second-team All-OVC honors after compiling a 7-4 record in OVC singles play. For his career, Yesipov has a 25-23 overall record (18-11 OVC) in singles play and a 22-30 mark (14-15 OVC) in doubles competition. He has been named the Skyhawks MVP each of the past two years (2007 and 2008). In the classroom Yesipov has a 3.82 grade point average in information systems/computer science. He has been named to both the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll and Medal of Honor lists, as well as the UTM Dean's List. Yesipov is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, the Upsilon Pi Epsilon international honor society, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and he earned the Faculty Scholar Award. He has volunteered with numerous organizations and events, including "Shoes for Souls," "Santa Cop," "Can Caravan" food drive and the UTM Blood Battle. Yesipov is a native of Zhukovsky, Russia.

Other nominees for the Scholar-Athlete Award were: Katelyn Barbour of Morehead State University (volleyball); Eric Benson of Tennessee State University (football); Melanie Cruz of Tennessee State University (softball); Precious Elliott of Southeast Missouri State University (track and field); Rachel Galligan of Eastern Illinois University (women's basketball); Derek Hardman of Eastern Kentucky University (football); Zach Knight of Murray State University (football); Paij Lintz of the University of Tennessee at Martin (softball); Kendall Magana of Southeast Missouri State University (football); Stephanie Place of Tennessee Technological University (cross country/track and field); Kayla Swearingen of Eastern Kentucky University (soccer); Shawn Tipton of Morehead State University (golf); and Zach Walden of Jacksonville State University (football).