IRVING, Texas (Oct. 27, 2021) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the finalists for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy®, 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 13 finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2021 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments.
Selected from an impressive list of 176 semifinalists nationwide from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, the 13 finalists are:
- Troy Andersen, LB – Montana State (3.91 GPA – Agricultural Business)
- Thomas Booker, DE – Stanford (3.88 GPA – Economics & Communication)
- Mike Caliendo, OL – Western Michigan (3.90 GPA – Biomedical Sciences)
- Sean Clifford, QB – Penn State (3.45 GPA – Public Relations)
- Cameron Dukes, QB – Lindsey Wilson [KY] (3.89 GPA – Physical Education & Health)
- Patrick Fields, DB – Oklahoma (3.82 GPA – Accounting)
- Matt Henningsen, DE – Wisconsin (4.00 GPA – Electrical Engineering)
- Aidan Hutchinson, DE – Michigan (3.54 GPA – Applied Exercise Science)
- Joshua King, LB – U.S. Merchant Marine Academy [NY] (3.73 GPA – Marine Engineering)
- Charlie Kolar, TE – Iowa State (3.99 GPA – Mechanical Engineering)
- Henry Litwin, WR – Slippery Rock [PA] (3.66 GPA – Safety Management)
- Sean Mahone, S – West Virginia (3.60 GPA – Management Information Systems)
- Grant Morgan, LB – Arkansas (3.66 GPA – Kinesiology)
The finalists will all travel to the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas on Dec. 7, where one of them will be named the winner of the 32nd Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000. The event will take place at the ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas and will be streamed live, with specific broadcast information to be announced at a later date.
“We are extremely proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Campbell Trophy®,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® recipient) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “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® 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 President & CEO Steve Hatchell.“Chosen from an extremely impressive list of semifinalists, the finalists have undoubtedly distinguished themselves as some of the best student-athletes in the country. Each of these men is a leader on and off the field, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential.”
2021 NFF Campbell Trophy® Finalists Highlights
- 3.77 Average GPA
- 1 player with a perfect 4.00 GPA (Henningsen)
- 13 captains, including 5 two-year captains (Andersen, Booker, Fields, Hutchinson, Morgan) and 2 three-year captains (Clifford, Dukes)
- 9 players who have already graduated (Andersen, Caliendo, Clifford, Dukes, Henningsen, Kolar, Litwin, Mahone, Morgan), including 2 with master’s degrees (Mahone, Morgan)
- 8 Academic All-America selections (Booker, Caliendo, Dukes, Fields, Henningsen, Kolar-2x, Litwin-2x, Mahone)
- 12 Academic All-Conference athletes (Andersen, Booker, Caliendo, Clifford, Dukes, Fields, Henningsen, Hutchinson, Kolar, Litwin, Mahone, Morgan)
- 5 All-America performers (Andersen, Dukes, Kolar, Litwin, Morgan)
- 12 All-Conference selections (Andersen, Booker, Caliendo, Clifford, Dukes, Fields, Henningsen, Hutchinson, Kolar, Litwin, Mahone, Morgan)
- 3 members of conference championship teams (Dukes-3x, Fields-3x, Litwin)
- 2 players who become their school’s first NFF National Scholar-Athlete (Dukes, King)
- 5 school record holders (Andersen, Clifford, Dukes, Kolar, Litwin)
- 1 member of a national championship team (NAIA – Dukes, 2020)
- 3 members of playoff teams (CFP – Fields-2x; FCS – Andersen-2x; Division II – Litwin-2x; NAIA – Dukes-3x)
- 7 members of ranked teams (Andersen, Clifford, Dukes, Fields, Hutchinson, Kolar, Litwin)
- 1 son of a former NFF National Scholar-Athlete (Hutchinson – father Chris honored from Michigan in 1992)
- 5 Offensive Players (Caliendo, Clifford, Dukes, Kolar, Litwin)
- 8 Defensive Players (Andersen, Booker, Fields, Henningsen, Hutchinson, King, Mahone, Morgan)
Following the NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas, the recipient of the 2021 Campbell Trophy® will be honored at several other prestigious events. On Thursday, Dec. 9, he will be interviewed live during the virtual “The Home Depot College Football Awards” on ESPN. Then on Monday, Dec. 13, a luncheon will be held in his honor at the New York Athletic Club (NYAC), the official home of the trophy since 2013. Finally, he will travel to Indianapolis to be honored on the field during the College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 10.
Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Presented by Fidelity Investments celebrate their 63rd year in 2021. The awards were the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on both a player’s academic and athletic accomplishments. Since 2011, Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of workplace savings plans in higher education, has served as the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
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®. 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 152 FARs since the program’s inception, and Fidelity has made a total of $755,000 (including $65,000 this year) in donations.
Including the 2021 Campbell Trophy® finalists, the NFF has honored 891 individuals with National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and this year’s postgraduate scholarships will push the program’s all-time distribution to more than $12.1 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 250 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 and current NBC Sports broadcaster Drew Brees (Purdue); celebrated 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 41 College Football Hall of Famers, including 2020 electees Jason Hanson (Washington State) and Bob Stein (Minnesota) and 2021 electee Harris Barton (North Carolina). Click here for a database of all the past NFF National Scholar-Athletes.
The Campbell Trophy® 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® 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)
2020 – Brady White (Memphis)
The trophy is named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, an All-Ivy League player and the captain of Columbia’s 1961 Ivy League championship team who 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 he mentored 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 have been 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® as an inspiration to future generations.
Bios for the 2021 Campbell Trophy® Finalists and Members of the 2021 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments
(In alphabetical order – All stats as of Oct. 27, 2021)
Troy Andersen, LB – Montana State University
3.91 GPA – Agricultural Business
Head Coach: Brent Vigen | Athletics Director: Leon Costello
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. George Haynes
A true utility player, Troy Andersen is a two-time All-American who has lined up at running back, quarterback and now linebacker for Montana State all while maintaining a near-perfect GPA. The Dillon, Montana, native becomes the Bobcats’ fifth NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A 2019 Academic All-District selection, Andersen graduated in May 2021 with a 3.91 GPA in agricultural business. The two-time Academic All-Big Sky honoree is a member of the MSU President’s and Dean’s lists and plans to pursue an MBA.
This season, Andersen leads the Bobcats and rank fourth in the Big Sky with 69 tackles while also sitting second on the team with eight tackles for loss. The two-year team captain also recorded a touchdown after a 40-yard interception return in MSU’s Sept. 18 win over San Diego. The No. 6 Bobcats boast a 7-1 record (5-0 in conference), with their lone loss coming to FBS team Wyoming in a game that saw Andersen lead the team with 11 tackles. He also notched a career-high 16 tackles in MSU’s Oct. 23 win over Idaho State.
A First Team All-America and First Team All-Big Sky linebacker in 2019, Andersen also started three games on offense that season while leading MSU to its first FCS Semifinals appearance since 1984. In 2018, Andersen earned Third Team All-America laurels as an all-purpose player and First Team All-Big Sky honors as the Bobcats’ starting quarterback. That season, he set single-season MSU records with 21 rushing touchdowns, 128 points and nine 100-yard rushing games while his 1,412 rushing yards marked the third-best campaign in school annals. Andersen was the 2017 Big Sky Freshman of the Year while playing as a running back and linebacker.
Despite now playing primarily on defense, Andersen still ranks second in school history with 33 rushing touchdowns while sitting ninth in rushing yards (2,263) and sixth in 100-yard rushing games (11).
Off the field, Andersen has regularly volunteered in Bozeman public schools the last four years, and he has coached youth and high school football camps during the summer. He has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, working on projects in Poland and Montana. He is a leader for Team IMPACT, where he works with a youth in Big Timber battling cancer.
Thomas Booker, DE – Stanford University
3.88 GPA – Economics & Communication
Head Coach: David Shaw | Athletics Director: Bernard Muir
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Jeffrey Koseff
A two-year team captain, Thomas Booker has been a dominant force on the defensive line while excelling as a double major at Stanford. The Ellicott City, Maryland, native becomes the Cardinal’s 14th NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A 2020 First Team Academic All-American and First Team Academic All-District selection, Booker maintains an impressive 3.88 GPA while double majoring in economics and communication. The two-time Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll member is on pace to graduate in June.
Tied for the team lead with 4.5 tackles for loss this season, Booker has racked up 36 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a blocked kick.
A two-year team captain, Booker earned First Team All-Pac-12 honors on special teams and second team all-conference laurels on defense in 2020. One of his biggest plays that season came on a blocked PAT in the Big Game against rival California that preserved a 24-23 Cardinal victory. Booker received Stanford’s 2020 Phil Moffatt Award as one of its most outstanding special teams performers. As a sophomore in 2019, the standout defensive end earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 laurels. A Freshman All-American in 2018, Booker was named the most valuable lineman in the Cardinal’s 14-13 Sun Bowl victory against Pitt.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, Booker became a leading voice on Stanford’s campus in the fight for social and racial equality. He played an integral part in founding CardinalBLCK (Brilliance, Leadership, Community and Knowledge), which is designed to provide a safe space for Black student-athletes to connect, share and foster a community that will support them long after their college careers. Fueled by the power of its collective voices, CardinalBLCK strives to empower Black student-athletes to use their influence in positive ways.
Mike Caliendo, OL – Western Michigan University
3.90 GPA – Biomedical Sciences
Head Coach: Tim Lester | Athletics Director: Kathy Beauregard
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Luchara Wallace
With plans to attend medical school, Mike Caliendo has already earned his degree while starting 50 consecutive games on Western Michigan’s offensive line. The Brookfield, Wisconsin, native becomes the Broncos’ fourth NFF National Scholar-Athlete, and their third since 2016.
A 2020 First Team Academic All-American, Caliendo graduated in 2019 with a 3.90 GPA in biomedical sciences. The 2019 First Team Academic All-District selection will be applying to medical school, and he currently boasts a 3.88 GPA in his pursuit of a master’s in biological sciences. He is a four-time Academic All-MAC honoree, a four-time MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete and a six-time Dean’s List member.
This season, the team captain has led WMU to a 5-3 record while starting all eight games for the Broncos at center after spending the previous four years at guard. Behind Caliendo’s blocking, the Broncos also rank second in the MAC with 249.6 passing yards per game and third with 432.5 yards of total offense per game.
A 2020 First Team All-MAC selection, Caliendo did not allow a sack or quarterback hit the entire season while helping WMU rank among the top 10 nationally with 41.7 points per game. A Second Team All-MAC honoree in 2019, he anchored an offense that was second in the MAC in total yards per game (445.7) and third in points per game (33.1). The 2019 Broncos were the only team in the conference with more than 2,600 rushing yards and 3,000 passing yards. Caliendo guided the team to consecutive bowl appearances in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and the 2019 First Responder Bowl.
While preparing for his future medical career, Caliendo spent 20 hours job shadowing at the Kalamazoo Surgery Center. A member of the WMU Football Leadership Council, he has volunteered with the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, the Kalamazoo YMCA and Habitat for Humanity. He has also worked with special education students in area schools, and has been part of the Ministry with Community program since 2017, which supports disadvantaged members of the community.
Sean Clifford, QB – Penn State University
3.45 GPA – Public Relations
Head Coach: James Franklin | Athletics Director: Sandy Barbour
Faculty Athletics Representatives: Dr. Dennis Scanlon
The only three-year team captain in Penn State history, Sean Clifford has already earned his degree while ranking in the top 10 in nearly every school career passing category. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native becomes the Nittany Lions’ 19th NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
After graduating in 2020 with a degree in public relations, Clifford is currently pursuing a master’s in journalism. The three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection is also a five-time Dean’s List honoree.
This season, Clifford has guided the No. 20 Nittany Lions to a 5-2 record while completing 137 passes for 1,647 yards and 12 touchdowns and adding two rushing scores. His 235.3 passing yards per game and 256 total offensive yards per game both rank fifth in the Big Ten. Clifford was named the conference’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week following Penn State’s 38-17 win over Villanova in which he threw for a career-high 401 yards and tied a career-high with four touchdowns.
Clifford is one of just four Nittany Lions to reach 7,000 career yards of total offense and one of just five Penn State quarterbacks to eclipse 6,000 career passing yards. Penn State’s all-time leader with a 147.8 passing efficiency and 61.2 completion percentage in his career, he also ranks fifth all-time in passing yards (6,379), second in passing touchdowns (53), fifth in completions (483), seventh in passing attempts (789) and fourth in yards of total offense (7,258).
An Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection in 2019, Clifford quarterbacked the Nittany Lions to a win over Memphis in the 2019 Cotton Bowl while leading them to final national rankings in both 2019 (No. 9) and 2018 (No. 17). In 2020, he ranked second in the Big Ten in passing yards (1,883) and touchdowns (16) while ranking third in passing touchdowns (23) in 2019.
Clifford is part of Penn State’s Athletics Director’s Leadership Institute, which encourages student-athletes to learn different leadership theories and perspectives and ultimately create their own philosophies. Active with the Team IMPACT program, he has become the biggest supporter of nine-year-old cancer patient Sawyer Bell, who was an honorary signee by the Nittany Lions in 2019. He also serves on the board and is a past president of Penn State’s Uplifting Athletes chapter.
Cameron Dukes, QB – Lindsey Wilson College (KY)
3.89 GPA – Physical Education & Health
Head Coach: Chris Oliver | Athletics Director: Willis Pooler
Faculty Athletics Representative: Tim Curry
Cameron Dukes has led Lindsey Wilson to unprecedented heights, leading the team to the 2020 NAIA national title while earning All-America honors on and off the field. Described by head coach Chris Oliver as “the epitome of an elite student-athlete,” he deservedly becomes the Blue Raiders’ first NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
The 2020 NAIA Football Academic All-American of the Year, Dukes is currently pursuing an MBA after graduating magna cum laude in 2020 with a degree in physical education & health. The 2020 First Team Academic All-American is a three-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a four-time academic all-conference honoree. He was named the 2019-20 Mid-South and Lindsey Wilson Male Student-Athlete of the Year.
This season, Dukes has led No. 1 Lindsey Wilson to a 7-0 record as the squad looks to defend their national title. The three-year team captain has thrown for 1,073 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding another 153 yards and four touchdowns rushing. Dukes earned the eighth Mid-South Conference Player of the Week honor of his career after recording his sixth 300-yard passing game in the Blue Raiders’ 47-0 win at Thomas More (KY).
In 2020, Dukes earned Second Team All-America honors after leading Lindsey Wilson to its first-ever undefeated season (11-0). The Blue Raiders claimed the NAIA national title behind the stellar play of Dukes, who earned Offensive Player of the Game honors after throwing for 157 yards and rushing for three touchdowns. He ended the 2020 season ranked fourth nationally in passing yards (2,555) and total offense (2,946). In 2019, he was named an Honorable Mention All-American after leading the program to its first-ever NAIA Semifinals appearance and helping set a program record with 12 consecutive wins. The two-time Mid-South Bluegrass Division Offensive Player of the Year and three-time all-conference performer has led the Blue Raiders to three division titles.
Lindsey Wilson’s all-time leader in completion percentage (62.8), Dukes owns single-game school records for completion percentage (81% vs. Cumberland [TN], 2019) and passing touchdowns (seven vs. Warner [FL], 2019). He currently ranks third in Blue Raider history with 9,073 career passing yards and is second all-time with 98 passing touchdowns.
A four-year member of the Football Leadership Council, Dukes helps train high school quarterbacks in the Louisville area and has assisted with food drives and the Be the Match bone marrow registration drive.
Patrick Fields, DB – University of Oklahoma
3.82 GPA – Accounting
Head Coach: Lincoln Riley | Athletics Director: Joe Castiglione
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Gregg Garn
Patrick Fields exemplifies the scholar-athlete ideal, balancing his simultaneous pursuit of a bachelor’s and master’s degree while guiding Oklahoma to three Big 12 titles. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, native becomes the Sooners’ 11th NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A 2020 Second Team Academic All-American, Fields boasts a 3.82 GPA and is set to graduate in December with both a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting (minor in economics) and a master’s degree in accounting. The 2020 OU Dan Gibbons Outstanding Scholar-Athlete of the Year received the Big 12’s 2021 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award and the Cotton Bowl’s 2020 Dan S. Petty Scholarship Award. A two-time first team academic all-conference honoree, Fields has been on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll every semester, and he was part of the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team in 2018.
This season, Fields has led the No. 4 Sooners to an 8-0 record as they sit atop the Big 12 standings. Ranking second on the team with 47 tackles, the two-year captain also boasts two tackles for loss and recorded a 100-yard return for a two-point conversion following a blocked PAT against Nebraska.
The standout defensive back has led the Sooners to three straight Big 12 titles (2018-20), three top 10 finishes (No. 4 in 2018, No. 7 in 2019, No. 6 in 2020) and two berths in the College Football Playoff (2018 and 2019). In 2020, Fields finished third on the team with 45 tackles while leading OU to a win in the Cotton Bowl over Florida. A three-year starter, Fields earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 accolades in 2019.
Active off the field, he is one of only two student-athletes nationally serving on the NCAA Division I Football Oversight and Competition Committee. Fields founded the Black Wall Street Scholarship, collaborating with the president of the OU National Black Alumni Association to establish an endowment providing scholarships for underrepresented students from Tulsa. He also founded “Town Business,” a seminar that teaches high school football student-athletes about financial literacy, money management, credit and personal branding. Fields coordinated a back-to-school event and football camp in July for economically vulnerable elementary school students in his hometown.
Matt Henningsen, DE – University of Wisconsin
4.00 GPA – Electrical Engineering
Head Coach: Paul Chryst | Athletics Director: Chris McIntosh
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Peter Miller
A team captain who graduated with a perfect 4.00 GPA, Matt Henningsen has turned into one of Wisconsin’s top scholar-athletes after beginning his career as a walk-on. The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, native becomes the Badgers’ seventh NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A 2020 First Team Academic All-American and an Academic All-District selection, Henningsen graduated summa cum laude in December 2020 with a degree in electrical engineering and a certificate in mathematics. He is expected to finish his master’s in electrical and computer engineering, with a focus on machine learning and signal processing, this December. The two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar is a three-time academic all-conference honoree and a two-time UW Athletic Board Scholar.
This season, the team captain boasts 18 tackles, including four tackles for loss and two sacks. Henningsen leads a Badger squad that tops the Big Ten and the nation in rushing defense (53.3 yards per game). Wisconsin also leads the Big Ten and ranks second in the nation in total defense (223 yards per game) and sits second in the conference in passing defense (169.7 yards per game).
In 2018, the standout defensive end became the first Wisconsin walk-on since at least 1990 to start a season opener as a freshman, and he would go on to earn a scholarship that year. An Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection in 2019, Henningsen was part of a defense that ranked fourth nationally in total defense (287.1 yards per game). The 2019 Badgers won 10 games and finished with a No. 11 ranking while claiming the Big Ten West Division title and earning a berth in the Rose Bowl Game. Henningsen previously helped Wisconsin to a win in the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl, and he was on the squad that won the 2020 Duke’s Mayo Bowl, but he missed most of the 2020 season with an injury.
During the summer of 2021, Henningsen worked on a project modeling the brain using electrocorticographic brain data. He previously worked on a research project at the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research focusing on developing a convolutional neural network to detect cerebral hemorrhaging on MRI images. Henningsen has also served as a lab assistant for nuclear diffusion bonding research on campus. His multiple volunteer efforts include work with the Badgers Give Back program and the Feeding America food bank.
Aidan Hutchinson, DE – University of Michigan
3.54 GPA – Applied Exercise Science
Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh | Athletics Director: Warde Manuel
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Ketra Armstrong
A guiding force on defense for No. 6 Michigan, Aidan Hutchinson leads the Big Ten in sacks while maintaining a 3.54 GPA. The Plymouth, Michigan, native becomes the Wolverines’ ninth NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A 2020 Academic All-District selection, Hutchinson is on pace to graduate in December with a degree in applied exercise science. The 2019 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar is a two-time academic all-conference honoree.
This season, Hutchinson leads the Wolverines and the Big Ten with six sacks. The two-year team captain has also racked up 27 tackles while leading Michigan to a 7-0 record after returning this season from a lower-body injury that cut his 2020 campaign short. Hutchinson has been named a quarterfinalist for the 2021 Lott IMPACT Trophy and a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Following his standout performance in Michigan’s 31-10 win over Washington in which he had 2.5 sacks, he earned Reese’s Senior Bowl Defensive Player of the Week honors.
A 2019 Third Team All-Big Ten selection, Hutchinson was named Michigan’s Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2019 and the Wolverines’ Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018. He guided Michigan to appearances in the 2018 Peach Bowl and 2020 Citrus Bowl and top 20 final rankings in 2018 (No. 14) and 2019 (No. 18).
Giving back to the community, Hutchinson has volunteered with local schools where he regularly speaks to students and athletes. Prior to the pandemic, he also volunteered at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Hutchinson joins his father, Chris, as just the second father-son duo to both earn NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. Honored by the NFF in 1992, Chris was a First Team All-America defensive tackle for Michigan who led the team to four Big Ten titles.
Joshua King, LB – United States Merchant Marine Academy (NY)
3.73 GPA – Marine Engineering
Head Coach: Mike Toop | Athletics Director: Kristofer Schnatz
Faculty Athletics Representative: Michael Ales
Planning to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard following graduation, Joshua King has excelled at facing the rigors of balancing academics and athletics while attending a service academy. The Haymarket, Virginia, native becomes USMMA’s first NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
Maintaining an outstanding 3.73 GPA, King will graduate in June 2022 with a degree in marine engineering and shipyard management. He has earned high honors on the Dean’s List every trimester of college.
This season, King is second on the Mariners with 44 tackles and third on the team with 5.5 tackles for loss while also adding 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. The team captain has guided USMMA to a 7-0 start and the top spot in the NEWMAC standings.
In 2018, King led the Mariners to an 8-2 record and a win in the New England Bowl. In 2020, he recorded seven tackles in USMMA’s only game of the season, the Mariners second straight win in the Secretaries’ Cup over rival U.S. Coast Guard Academy (CT).
Within the Regiment of Midshipmen, King currently serves as a Company Fitness Officer. He has completed a number of deployments and internships, including a four-month deployment working in the engine room aboard the USCGC Polar Star sailing to the Arctic; a two-week internship with the U.S. Coast Guard in Florida; and a five-week internship with Naval Sea Systems Command at General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego and Washington, D.C.
In June 2020, King organized and led a peaceful Black Lives Matter event in his hometown featuring activists, law enforcement, religious leaders and a voter registration. A year later, he participated in the Brunch of Hope anti-racism event in Haymarket. The vice president of both the Coast Guard Club and the Cultural Diversity Club, King is active with the Cultural Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He is the solo-appointed midshipman representative for the USMMA Historical Review Panel, and he served as a platoon commander for the training of incoming Academy plebe candidates in July. Upon graduation, King plans to commission as an ensign in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Charlie Kolar, TE – Iowa State University
3.99 GPA – Mechanical Engineering
Head Coach: Matt Campbell | Athletics Director: Jamie Pollard
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Timothy Day
The first Iowa State player to be named an All-American and an Academic All-American, Charlie Kolar has led one of the most successful eras in program history while maintaining a near perfect 3.99 GPA. The Norman, Oklahoma, native becomes the Cyclones’ fourth NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
The first two-time First Team Academic All-American in Iowa State history, Kolar graduated summa cum laude in December 2020 with a degree in mechanical engineering while ranking in the highest two percent of engineering students. He is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in finance. The 2020 Big 12 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award recipient is a three-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 selection and two-time First Team Academic All-District honoree. Kolar was also the recipient of the prestigious ISU Alumni Association Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award, which is given annually to a senior who displays high character and outstanding academic achievement.
This season, Kolar leads Big 12 tight ends and ranks second among Iowa State receivers with 348 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. The team captain has guided the No. 22 Cyclones to a 5-2 record, including an upset win over then-No. 8 Oklahoma State on Oct. 23. He has recorded a reception in 30 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in school history.
A two-time All-American, Kolar earned Second Team honors from AFCA, FWAA and Walter Camp in 2020 and Third Team accolades from the AP in 2019. The three-time All-Big 12 performer earned First Team recognition in 2019 and 2020 after receiving Second Team laurels in 2018. A 2020 Mackey Award finalist, Kolar guided Iowa State to its first-ever New Year’s Six bowl victory, catching five passes for a team-high 53 yards and a touchdown against Oregon in the 2021 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Kolar led the Cyclones to many other firsts in 2020, including their first-ever Big 12 regular season finish with sole possession of first place in the standings (8-1 conference record), their first-ever appearance in the Big 12 Championship game and their first-ever top 10 final ranking (No. 9).
Kolar owns virtually all school career records for tight ends, compiling the most receptions (133), receiving yards (1,773) and touchdowns (19). Among all receivers at Iowa State, his career receptions are seventh, his receiving yards are ninth and his touchdowns rank third. Kolar led the Big 12 and ranked in the top-six nationally among tight ends in back-to-back seasons in receptions (51 in 2019, 44 in 2020), receiving yards (697 in 2019, 591 in 2020) and receiving touchdowns (7 in 2019, 7 in 2020).
A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Kolar has volunteered at Mary Greeley Hospital and read to children at a local elementary school. He has also participated in Marshalltown tornado relief, as well as service with Victory Day and ExerCYse Time.
Henry Litwin, WR – Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
3.66 GPA – Safety Management
Head Coach: Shawn Lutz | Athletics Director: Dr. Roberta Page
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Joanne Leight
Described by head coach Shawn Lutz as “the perfect example of what hard work can lead to,” Henry Litwin went from walk-on to All-American while graduating magna cum laude. The Linesville, Pennsylvania, native becomes Slippery Rock’s second NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A two-time First Team Academic All-American and First Team Academic All-District selection, Litwin graduated with a degree in safety management in December 2020, and he currently maintains a 4.0 GPA while pursuing an MBA. A four-time PSAC Scholar-Athlete, he was named the 2018 PSAC Champion Scholar for having the highest GPA among all players in the conference championship game.
This season, Litwin leads The Rock and the PSAC with 686 receiving yards while hauling in eight touchdowns. The team captain has guided No. 15 SRU to a 7-1 record. Following The Rock’s win over Wayne State (MI) in the season opener, Litwin was named the PSAC Western Division Offensive Athlete of the Week after pulling down eight catches for 159 yards and an impressive one-handed touchdown grab that landed him on the “SportsCenter” Top 10.
Litwin owns the SRU record for career touchdown receptions with 37 while his 3,036 receiving yards make him just the second player in SRU history to surpass 3,000 career receiving yards. He is also tied for second in school history with 191 receptions. A consensus First Team All-American in 2019, Litwin set single-season school records for catches (103), receiving yards (1,509) and touchdown receptions (21) – all marks that ranked in the top five nationally and led the PSAC.
In 2019, the First Team All-PSAC and All-Super Region selection led The Rock to a 13-1 record, a No. 6 final ranking, the PSAC title and a trip to the NCAA Division II Semifinals. He helped the team win every PSAC West game during a run that lasted more than two full seasons, with SRU claiming back-to-back PSAC West crowns (2018, 2019) and making the Division II Quarterfinals in 2018.
Litwin is an active participant in American Cancer Society events on campus, including Relay for Life, and he has volunteered to work numerous youth camps and clinics at SRU and Special Olympics events. He is also a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals.
Sean Mahone, S – West Virginia University
3.60 GPA – Management Information Systems
Head Coach: Neal Brown | Athletics Director: Shane Lyons
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Maria Kolar
Taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by college football, Sean Mahone has already earned two degrees from West Virginia, including an MBA. The Liberty Township, Ohio, native becomes the Mountaineers’ seventh NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
After graduating magna cum laude with a degree in management information systems in 2020, Mahone earned his MBA with a 3.7 GPA in May 2021. A 2020 Second Team Academic All-American and First Team Academic All-District honoree, he also boasts being a four-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 selection. He is a member of both the Big 12 Commissioner’s and the WVU Garrett Ford Academic honor rolls.
This season, Mahone ranks second on the Mountaineers and is eighth in the Big 12 with 49 total tackles and sixth with 33 solo stops. He recorded a season-high 11 tackles in the season-opener against Maryland, and posted seven tackles and two tackles for loss in WVU’s upset of then-No. 15 Virginia Tech. He also recorded 10 tackles, including a tackle for loss, at No. 3 Oklahoma and had 10 tackles, including seven solo stops, and an interception against Texas Tech.
A 2020 Second Team All-Big 12 selection by Pro Football Focus, Mahone has served as a game captain multiple times during his career. His 192 career tackles are the second most among active WVU players. During the 2019 season, he led the Mountaineers with 80 tackles and ranked 10th in the Big 12 with 6.7 tackles per game. Mahone has guided WVU to three bowl games in four seasons, including a win in the 2020 AutoZone Liberty Bowl and berths in the 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl and 2018 Camping World Bowl. In 2018, the Mountaineers finished the season with a No. 20 national ranking.
A WVU Team Accountability Leader, Mahone makes sure teammates are meeting with tutors, hitting their nutritional goals and participating in community service efforts. He has visited patients at WVU Children’s Hospital, and he wrote notes and created encouraging videos for elementary students and senior home residents during the pandemic. Mahone served as a mentor through the “Big Brothers” initiative, and he has built and repaired homes and participated in clean-up efforts in the Morgantown area.
Grant Morgan, LB – University of Arkansas
3.66 GPA – Kinesiology
Head Coach: Sam Pittman | Athletics Director: Hunter Yurachek
Faculty Athletics Representative: Gerald Jordan
A shining example of what it means to be a scholar-athlete, Grant Morgan has already completed his master’s degree and earned All-America status after beginning his career as a walk-on. The Greenwood, Arkansas, native becomes Arkansas’ fifth NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
After graduating in August 2019 with a 3.66 GPA in kinesiology, Morgan earned his master’s in operations management in 2020. The four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member has been named to the Arkansas Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists.
This season, the two-year team captain is third on Arkansas and tied for fifth in the SEC with 60 tackles. Morgan has also racked up 5.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and two pass break ups for the 5-3 Razorbacks. He posted a season-high 13 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in the Hogs’ upset of then-No. 15 Texas in September.
A 2020 Second Team All-American, Morgan produced one of the greatest seasons in Arkansas history after finishing tied for the nation’s lead in tackles per game (12.3) and posting an SEC-leading 111 total tackles. A 2020 First Team All-SEC selection, he was named the Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week following Arkansas’ win against Ole Miss in which he posted a career-high 19 tackles and also returned an interception for a touchdown. The 2020 Burlsworth Trophy finalist led the Hogs to a berth in last year’s Texas Bowl, but the game was canceled due to the pandemic. In 2020, Morgan was the only FBS player to post six games with at least 12 tackles, and he became the first SEC player to record two games with at least 19 tackles since 2012.
A member of the 2020 SEC Community Service Team, Morgan has been a student-athlete representative on the Athletic Department Executive Board and a Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader since 2018. He has served on the SEC Football Leadership Council since 2018, and he is a five-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as its vice president since 2019. The chair of the HOGSPYS, the annual event highlighting the success and achievements of Arkansas athletics, Morgan has volunteered his time with the Special Olympics, Razorback Day, 7Hills Homeless Shelter and children’s and veteran’s hospital visits.