IRVING, Texas (Oct. 31, 2018) – University of Saint Francis senior linebacker Piercen Harnish and Notre Dame graduate linebacker Drue Tranquill are two of 13 finalists for The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy®, which annually recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Fidelity Investments is a proud partner of the Campbell Trophy®.
The 13 finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 60th NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, and they will travel to New York City for the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 4, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. At the event, one member of the class will be declared the winner of the 29th William V. Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000. The event, which will take place at the New York Hilton Midtown, will be live streamed on ESPN3, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Selected from a nationwide pool of 179 exceptional semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, the 13 finalists are:
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE POSITION SCHOOL GPA MAJOR
Kenneth Brinson LB Army West Point 3.96 Chemical Engineering
Taryn Christion QB South Dakota State 3.61 Business Economics
De’Arius Christmas LB Grambling State 3.82 Engineering Technology
D’Cota Dixon S Wisconsin 3.32 Rehabilitation Psychology
Ryan Finley QB North Carolina State 3.76 Psychology
Piercen Harnish LB University of Saint Francis (Ind.) 3.96 Finance
Trace McSorley QB Penn State 3.31 Accounting
Dalton Risner OL Kansas State 3.60 Communication Studies
Max Scharping OL Northern Illinois 3.99 Kinesiology
Eric Stevenson LB Wheaton (Ill.) 3.83 Economics
Easton Stick QB North Dakota State 3.92 Sport Management
Drue Tranquill LB Notre Dame 3.73 Mechanical Engineering
Christian Wilkins DL Clemson 3.33 Communication Studies
“We are extremely proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Campbell Trophy®, who make up the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “These young men have an unrelenting commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives, and they represent all that is right in college football. They serve as living examples that
Football Matters®, and we are excited to honor their hard work and accomplishments with postgraduate scholarships.”
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the Campbell Trophy® and NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
“The NFF Awards Committee did an excellent job in selecting this year’s National Scholar-Athletes,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® recipient) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “Selected from an impressive group of semifinalists, they should be extremely proud of their accomplishments, as they have undoubtedly distinguished themselves as some of the best student-athletes in the country. Each of these men is also a leader in his respective community, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential.”
The Campbell Trophy® is named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the former chairman of Intuit, a former player and head coach at Columbia University, and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal. The award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $7,000 increase in postgraduate funds for a total scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $241,000 in scholarships will be awarded Dec. 4, pushing the program’s all-time distributions to more than $11.5 million.
Following the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, the 2018 Campbell Trophy® recipient will be honored at several other prestigious events. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) will host a luncheon in his honor. From there, he will travel directly to Atlanta for ESPN's The Home Depot College Football Awards at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday, Dec. 6, where he will be interviewed live during the show. Finally, he will travel to Santa Clara, California, to be honored on the field during the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's® Stadium on Monday, Jan. 7.
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, became the first initiative in history to award postgraduate scholarships for combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Including the 2018 recipients, the NFF has honored 854 individuals with National Scholar-Athlete Awards. The honorees have used the financial support to earn more than 150 medical degrees, 100 law degrees, 80 MBAs and 43 PhDs. Continuing their excellence on the field, more than 200 recipients have played in the NFL with an average career of six seasons or double the length of a typical NFL player. Past recipients also include 13 Rhodes Scholars.
The members of this year's class find themselves among some of the most elite student-athletes in the history of the game, including NFL standout Drew Brees (Purdue); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); Robert Morris University President Chris Howard (Air Force); XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck (West Virginia); NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins (Illinois) and Leland Melvin (Richmond); and 37 College Football Hall of Famers, including 2018 electees Dave Dickenson (Montana) and Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia). Click here for a database of all the past NFF National Scholar-Athletes.
The Campbell Trophy®, first awarded in 1990, adds to the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program's prestige, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL draft picks. The past recipients of The William V. Campbell Trophy® include: Air Force's Chris Howard (1990); Florida's Brad Culpepper (1991); Colorado's Jim Hansen (1992); Virginia's Thomas Burns (1993); Nebraska's Robert Zatechka (1994); Ohio State's Bobby Hoying (1995); Florida's Danny Wuerffel (1996); Tennessee's Peyton Manning (1997); Georgia's Matt Stinchcomb (1998); Marshall's Chad Pennington (1999); Nebraska's Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000); Miami (Fla.)'s Joaquin Gonzalez (2001); Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.)'s Brandon Roberts (2002); Ohio State's Craig Krenzel (2003); Tennessee's Michael Muñoz (2004); LSU's Rudy Niswanger (2005); Rutgers' Brian Leonard (2006); Texas' Dallas Griffin (2007); California's Alex Mack (2008); Florida's Tim Tebow (2009); Texas' Sam Acho (2010); Army West Point's Andrew Rodriguez (2011); Alabama's Barrett Jones (2012); Penn State's John Urschel (2013); Duke's David Helton (2014); Oklahoma's Ty Darlington (2015); Western Michigan's Zach Terrell (2016); and Virginia's Micah Kiser (2017).
Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of workplace savings plans in higher education, serves as a proud partner of the Campbell Trophy® and the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. Since 2013, the Campbell Trophy® has been prominently displayed inside its official home at the New York Athletic Club.
As part of its support of the NFF's scholarship programs, Fidelity Investments helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes, which recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with a Campbell Trophy® finalist. The NFF Faculty Salutes include the NFF presenting each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and Fidelity donating $5,000 for the academic support services at each school. The salutes have recognized 115 FARs since the program's inception, and Fidelity has made a total of $570,000 (including $65,000 this year) in donations.