DALLAS, TX (WDAM) - Selected as the best and brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that Southern Miss senior quarterback Austin Davis was one of 127 candidates for the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments®, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education.
The 127 nominees also comprise the list of semifinalists for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.
"This year's candidates truly embody the National Football Foundation's mission of building leaders through football," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (1997 Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They are standouts in the classroom and on the field and have become leaders in their respective communities. Each school should take great pride in being represented by such well-rounded young men who will undoubtedly go on to do great things in life."
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of 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 class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
"The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees for maintaining such high standards throughout their collegiate careers," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to showcase their achievements, and there is no question that the NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the final group of honorees from among this esteemed group."
The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Wednesday, October 26. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2011 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City be honored December 6 during the 54th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the Campbell Trophy.
Named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, 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 increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total post-graduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program's all-time distributions to more than $9.8 million. Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post-graduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments. The Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL draft picks.
In August, the NFF and Fidelity announced a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. As part of the initiative, Fidelity became the first presenting sponsor ever in the 53-year history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. To promote the achievements of the recipients, Fidelity has been working with ESPN to produce a series of short television segments about the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The segments will also include a special feature about the recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy winner. All of the segments are airing on ESPN's College Football Live on Thursdays from September through early December.
The past recipients of the 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 Rob 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's (Fla.) Joaquin Gonzalez (2001); Washington University in St. Louis' Brandon Roberts (2002); Ohio State's Craig Krenzel (2003); Tennessee's Michael Munoz (2004); LSU's Rudy Niswanger (2005); Rutgers' Brian Leonard (2006); Texas' Dallas Griffin (2007); Cal's Alex Mack (2008); Florida's Tim Tebow (2009); and Texas' Sam Acho (2010).
2011 NFF NATIONAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CANDIDATE NOTES
- 3.60 Average GPA
- 27 Nominees with a 3.9 GPA or better
- 6 Nominees with a perfect 4.0 GPA
- 86 Team Captains
- 56 All-Conference Picks
- 17 Academic All-America Selections
- 10 All-America Selections
- 27 Players (among all divisions) represented in this week's national top 25 polls
- 1 Player Formerly Named an NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete
- 47 Nominees from the Football Bowl Subdivision
- 33 Nominees from the Football Championship Subdivision
- 11 Nominees from the Division II
- 30 Nominees from the Division III
- 6 Nominees from the NAIA
- 61 Offensive Players
- 50 Defensive Players
- 16 Special Teams Players