Credit Source: The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame
IRVING, Texas (Nov. 12, 2020) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the finalists for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda – college football’s premier scholar-athlete award that annually recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.
The 12 finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2020 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. Later this year, one member of the class will be declared the winner of the 31st William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
Selected from a record 199 semifinalists nationwide from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, the 12 finalists are:
- Tyler Bradfield, LB – Grand Valley State [MI] (3.99 GPA – Finance)
- Sam Ehlinger, QB – Texas (3.42 GPA – Marketing)
- Jack Gibbens, LB – Abilene Christian (4.00 GPA – Accounting & Financial Mgmt.)
- Ezra Gray, RB – Alabama State (4.00 GPA – Computer Information Systems)
- Tyriq Harris, DE – Charlotte (3.68 GPA – Biology)
- Drew Himmelman, OT – Illinois State (3.82 GPA – Exercise Science)
- Tyler Howerton, OL – Hampden-Sydney [VA] (4.00 GPA – Physics)
- Kekaula Kaniho, DB – Boise State (3.94 GPA – Health Science)
- Brandon Kennedy, OL – Tennessee (3.55 GPA – Sport Management)
- Cameron Kinley, CB – Navy (3.32 GPA – Political Science)
- Elijah Molden, DB – Washington (3.56 GPA – Communications)
- Brady White, QB – Memphis (3.58 GPA – Business)
“We are extremely proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda,” 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. As strong leaders in the vein of the trophy’s namesake Bill Campbell, they all serve as living examples that the Future for Football is bright. We are excited to honor their hard work and outstanding leadership with postgraduate scholarships.”
Submitted by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda 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 a record number of impressive 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 on and off the field, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential.”
In September 2019, Mazda announced a three-year partnership to become the presenting sponsor of the Campbell Trophy®. Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of workplace savings plans in higher education, serves as the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Presented by Fidelity Investments celebrate their 62nd year in 2020. The awards were the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on both a player’s academic and athletic accomplishments.
Including the 2020 Campbell Trophy® finalists, the NFF has honored 878 individuals with National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and this year’s postgraduate scholarships will push the program’s all-time distribution to more than $11.9 million. 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 and six Heisman Trophy winners.
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 and 2019 NFF Gold Medal recipient Mark Harmon (UCLA); Robert Morris University President Chris Howard (Air Force); Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech); NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins (Illinois) and Leland Melvin (Richmond); and 40 College Football Hall of Famers, including 2020 electees Jason Hanson (Washington State) and Bob Stein (Minnesota). Click here for a database of all the past NFF National Scholar-Athletes.
The Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda was first awarded in 1990, adding to the program’s prestige. Past recipients include two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and seven first-round NFL draft picks.
The past recipients of the Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, include:
1990 – Chris Howard (Air Force)
1991 – Brad Culpepper (Florida)
1992 – Jim Hansen (Colorado)
1993 – Thomas Burns (Virginia)
1994 – Rob Zatechka (Nebraska)
1995 – Bobby Hoying (Ohio State)
1996 – Danny Wuerffel (Florida)
1997 – Peyton Manning (Tennessee)
1998 – Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia)
1999 – Chad Pennington (Marshall)
2000 – Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska)
2001 – Joaquin Gonzalez (Miami [FL])
2002 – Brandon Roberts (Washington U. in St. Louis [MO])
2003 – Craig Krenzel (Ohio State)
2004 – Michael Munoz (Tennessee)
2005 – Rudy Niswanger (LSU)
2006 – Brian Leonard (Rutgers)
2007 – Dallas Griffin (Texas)
2008 – Alex Mack (California)
2009 – Tim Tebow (Florida)
2010 – Sam Acho (Texas)
2011 – Andrew Rodriguez (Army West Point)
2012 – Barrett Jones (Alabama)
2013 – John Urschel (Penn State)
2014 – David Helton (Duke)
2015 – Ty Darlington (Oklahoma)
2016 – Zach Terrell (Western Michigan)
2017 – Micah Kiser (Virginia)
2018 – Christian Wilkins (Clemson)
2019 – Justin Herbert (Oregon)
Named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the trophy has been prominently displayed inside its official home at the New York Athletic Club since 2013.
An All-Ivy League player and the captain of Columbia’s 1961 Ivy League championship team, Bill Campbell found his true calling after an unlikely career change at age 39 from Columbia football coach to advertising executive. His ability to recruit, develop and manage talented executives – all lessons learned on the gridiron – proved to be a critical component of his ability to inspire his business teams to the highest levels of success.
As the CEO and chairman of Intuit, Campbell’s strong leadership and unique talent in building teams allowed him to become one of the most influential individuals in Silicon Valley, using the lessons of the gridiron to mentor Steve Jobs of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Sundar Pichai and Eric Schmidt of Google, Scott Cook and Brad Smith of Intuit, John Doerr of Kleiner-Perkins, Dick Costolo at Twitter, Diane Greene of VMWare and countless others. His contributions were recently captured in a book titled “The Trillion Dollar Coach,” and during his lifetime, he affectionally became known as the “Coach of Silicon Valley.”
Campbell joined the NFF Board in 1978 while he was still a coach at Columbia, and he continued to serve with distinction until his passing in 2016. In 2004, the NFF recognized Campbell’s contributions and accomplishments by presenting him with the NFF Gold Medal, the organization’s highest honor. In 2009, the NFF renamed college football’s premier scholar-athlete award as The William V. Campbell Trophy® in his honor.
As part of its support of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, Fidelity Investments helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes, which recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with a finalist for the Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda. The NFF presents each of the faculty athletics representatives with a plaque and Fidelity donates $5,000 for the academic support services at each school. The salutes have recognized 139 FARs since the program’s inception, and Fidelity has made a total of $690,000 (including $60,000 this year) in donations.
2020 NFF Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda Finalists Highlights
- 3.74 Average GPA
- 3 players with a perfect 4.00 GPA (Gibbens, Gray, Howerton)
- 10 captains, including 2 two-year captains (Ehlinger, Gibbens) and 1 three-year captain (Harris)
- 6 players who have already graduated (Gray, Harris, Himmelman, Kennedy-2 degrees, Molden, White-2 degrees), with 1 more on track to graduate in December (Ehlinger)
- 5 Academic All-America selections (Bradfield-2x, Gibbens, Gray, Howerton, Kaniho)
- 11 Academic All-Conference athletes (Bradfield, Ehlinger, Gibbens, Gray, Harris, Himmelman, Howerton, Kaniho, Kennedy, Molden, White)
- 2 All-America performers (Himmelman, Molden)
- 10 All-Conference selections (Bradfield, Ehlinger, Gibbens, Gray, Harris, Himmelman, Howerton, Kaniho, Molden, White)
- 4 members of conference championship teams (Kaniho-2x, Kennedy*, Molden, White)
- 5 players who become their school’s first NFF National Scholar-Athlete (Bradfield, Gibbens, Harris, Howerton, White)
- 1 Barry Goldwater Scholar (Howerton)
- 1 school record holder (Ehlinger)
- 1 player who serves as his class president (Kinley)
- 3 members of playoff teams (CFP – Kennedy-2x*; FCS – Himmelman; Division II – Bradfield)
- 1 member of a ranked team (Ehlinger)
- 6 Offensive Players (Ehlinger, Gray, Himmelman, Howerton, Kennedy, White)
- 6 Defensive Players (Bradfield, Gibbens, Harris, Kaniho, Kinley, Molden)
*Kennedy’s conference championship and playoff appearances took place while he was at Alabama.