IRVING, Texas – Recognizing one of the most impressive groups of scholar-athletes in the history of college football, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) proudly announced today the 179 semifinalists for the 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy®. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Fidelity Investments is a proud partner of the Campbell Trophy®.
Three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) football student-athletes were honored: Ashland's Travis Downing, Grand Valley State's Bart Williams and Wayne State's Drew Dowding.
Downing has been Ashland's starting short snapper since the beginning of his freshman year, is a three-time letter winner, and has added long-snapping duties this season. He is a two-time member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic Excellence Team, and has a 3.92 cumulative grade-point average as a Sport Management major. In July, Downing was announced as Ashland's nominee for the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team.
Dowding has played in 32 games for the Warriors making 77 career tackles (53 solo, 24 assisted), including 11.5 for loss. The squad's 2015 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Dowding has three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. In the classroom, Dowding is a Finance major who has been named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll (term GPA 3.5+) for all eight semesters, including one 4.00 term. He is a three-year D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award recipient as well as a three-year GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team honoree. Dowding was the 2018 Deans' Award winner from the Mike Ilitch School of Business for having the highest cumulative grade-point average of all student-athletes in that college.
Williams became the Lakers' all-time leader in career TD passes (118) last week with his five versus Michigan Tech, while also moving into second on GVSU's career passing yards list (10,892). Williams, who also moved into seventh in GLIAC annals in passing yards (7,641) and second in passing TDs (85), is the active NCAA college football leader in TD passes (118) and passing yards (10,892).
The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 31, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 60th NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. Live during the event, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 29th William V. Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must in their , have a on a 4.0 scale, have as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated . 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.
"These 179 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "For 60 years, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program has showcased more than 800 college football players who have been successful on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year's semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders."
Named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the Campbell Trophy® is a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship of $25,000. This year's postgraduate scholarships will push the program's all-time distribution to more than $11.5 million.
"The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools and coaches on their tremendous accomplishments," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist's achievements, showcasing their ability to balance academics and athletics at the highest level. The NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from this outstanding group of candidates."