Blake Hayes can add a significant award to his accomplishments, and it speaks to his well-rounded activities.

The Illinois punter was named 1 of 2 recipients for the Big Ten Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award, the conference office announced Tuesday. Hayes was awarded a $10,000 postgraduate scholarship for their achievements in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and leadership.

Rutgers field hockey player Gianna Glatz also received the award, the Big Ten announced.

Hayes plans to attend medical school after acquiring his master’s degree. He is the first Illinois athlete to receive the award in its 15-year history.

In addition to his work on the field and in the classroom, Hayes is also active in many community outreach programs, including the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation, Fighting Illini Kid’s Reading Program, Holiday Toy Drive, and Lift for Life Summer Fundraiser.

In recognition of the Big Ten Conference’s leadership in fully integrating athletics into the academic mission of its member institutions, the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership initiated the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award in 2008. During the past 15 years, the award has contributed nearly $210,000 in scholarships.

Hayes is a five-year starter and three-year captain. He maintained a 3.75 GPA while earning a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology and currently holds a 3.84 GPA on his way to a master’s degree in public health. Hayes was a Senior CLASS All-American finalist, Campbell Trophy semifinalist, and was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.

Hayes is also a four-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient, 2020 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, and a member of the Dean’s List. Hayes is also a four-year representative on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee for the football team as well as a student-athlete co-founder of International Illini, a program that connects all international student-athletes for community and fellowship at Illinois University.