Bowden Award finalists include two from Big Ten

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman and Illinois center Ryan McDonald are two of the three finalists for the Bobby Bowden Award, presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The award recognizes an FBS player who "epitomizes the student-athlete who conducts himself as a faith model in the community, in the classroom and on the field."

Nominees must carry a grade-point average of 3.0 or better and have the support of their school's head coach and athletic director. Freeman carries a 3.35 GPA and is working on his graduate degree in education at Ohio State, while McDonald has a 3.81 GPA and is pursuing a graduate degree in aerospace engineering. Both players earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media this season.

Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee is the third finalist. The winner will be announced at the FCA breakfast on Jan. 6 in Miami.

Former Northwestern running back Jason Wright was the first recipient of the Bowden Award in 2003 and has been the only winner from the Big Ten.