EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern today launched "PersaStrong," an awareness campaign to promote senior quarterback Dan Persa (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) as a 2011 Heisman Trophy candidate.
Persa enters this season after being named the All-Big Ten first-team quarterback in 2010, a season in which he broke the Big Ten's all-time record for completion percentage with a 73.5 mark. Despite suffering a season-ending ruptured Achilles' tendon after throwing a game-winning touchdown against then-No. 13 Iowa on Nov. 13, 2010, Persa passed for 15 touchdowns, threw just four interceptions and ran for another nine scores. He is ahead of schedule in his recovery from the injury and expected to be under center when NU takes the field at Boston College Sept. 3 in its season opener.
"PersaStrong" highlights Persa as the complete student-athlete, strong on the field, in the classroom and in the community. In addition to his 159.0 pass efficiency rating, 24 total touchdowns in 10 games and 3,100 yards of total offense (310.0 per game) from last season, Persa also is an active leader in visiting local schoolchildren in the community. He is a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, a candidate for Capital One Academic All-America honors, a nominee for the NFF's William V. Campbell Trophy and a member of nearly every major quarterback and offensive player award watch list.
The "PersaStrong" campaign is comprised of three prongs:
Media Awareness -- Key members of the local and national football media will receive a "PersaStrong" mailing featuring 7-pound purple dumbbells in honor of No. 7 Dan Persa's reputation as the strongest pound-for-pound athlete on Northwestern's team and strongest quarterback in the country.
Outdoor Campaign -- Billboards touting Persa's candidacy have been placed in the highest-trafficked area around Chicago as well as in a strategic location in Bristol, Conn., home to the ESPN family of networks.
Electronic and Social Media -- Northwestern has created a PersaStrong.com website featuring videos, photos and information about Persa that will be updated throughout the season. In addition, Northwestern has created the PersaStrong hashtag on Twitter to promote Persa facts, conversation and buzz among football fans and media.
For more information on the campaign or Northwestern football, contact Scott Hammer or Mike Wolf in Northwestern's athletic communications office.