Logan Danielson of Thomas Jefferson wins inaugural Bill Fralic Award
Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 12:38 PM
After a pancake breakfast that paid homage to the man of the hour — the hulking yet gentle man who invented the “pancake block” — the first recipient of the Bill Fralic Memorial Award was announced Saturday morning at Oakmont Country Club.
Thomas Jefferson senior Logan Danielson was selected as the WPIAL’s top lineman for 2019, drawing favor from a committee who chose from six finalists — one from each classification.
The award, named for the late Penn Hills, Pitt and NFL standout who blocked and tackled with the best of them for more than a decade, is expected to become a yearly fixture.
Fralic died of cancer last December at age 56.
Danielson, an offensive guard and defensive tackle, said he began to learn about Fralic after he was nominated for the award.
“It’s amazing to watch old clips of him, he was so dominating,” Danielson said. “I studied up on him. I learned about his personal life today and what a great guy he was. It’s a great honor.”
Danielson (6-foot-1, 265 pounds) helped lead Thomas Jefferson to a 16-0 season. The Jaguars won WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A championships, averaged 235.6 rushing yards and scored 100 touchdowns.
“State championship two days ago, and this today,” Danielson said. “It’s been a great weekend.”
Organizers said the award was based on regular-season play.
Honored to have been selected as the inaugural Bill Fralic memorial award winner! pic.twitter.com/Km4b2GuyxG
— Logan Danielson (@ldanielson_54) December 7, 2019
The other finalists were: Fintan Brose, Hempfield (Class 6A); Brenden Luffey of Moon (5A); Elijah Mike of Aliquippa (3A); Gerald Comedy of Washington (2A); and Zach Crutchman of Jeannette (A).
Those in the William P. Fralic Foundation wanted the award to follow suit with the Heisman Trophy or Outland Trophy and give the finalists a chance to gather at an elegant ceremony where the winner would be revealed.
Fralic was known for making sizable, behind-the-scenes donations but also for lurking comfortably behind the scenes.
“Bill taught us lessons of integrity and love,” organizer and foundation board of trustees member Dan Miller said. “We in the foundation want to make sure his legacy endures. And we hope the (finalists) here today realize they will now be mentioned alongside Bill Fralic and understand what an honor it is to carry on the mantle.”
Danielson has light college interest, but that could change. He has two Division II offers, from Notre Dame (Ohio) and West Liberty.
“Logan epitomizes what Bill did as a person and in terms of how we worked,” Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak said. “It’s great to see him win this. It’s been an incredible week for our program.”
Coaches from every WPIAL football program could submit nominees, and six two-way linemen were selected as finalists.
The Fralic Foundation selected the winner, who had to exemplify several criteria, including leadership qualities, work ethic, character and “desire to win every snap.”
“You try to be a leader every time you step on the field and off the field,” Danielson said. “This represents not only football … doing your best in football and in school, and being a good person every day.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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