IRVING, Texas (Nov. 1, 2017) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the finalists for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments®. The trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

The 13 finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, 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 28th 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 181 exceptional semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, the 13 finalists are:

SCHOLAR-ATHLETE

POSITION

SCHOOL

GPA

MAJOR

Sam Benger

RB

Carnegie Mellon (Pa.)

3.67

Business Administration

Braxton Berrios

WR

Miami (Fla.)

3.96

Finance & Entrepreneurship

Mason Hampton

C

Boise State

3.97

Accounting

Justin Jackson

RB

Northwestern

3.23

Economics

Micah Kiser

LB

Virginia

3.42

Foreign Affairs

Justin Lea

OL

Jacksonville State

3.92

Emergency MGMT & Geography

Brad Lundblade

C

Oklahoma State

3.88

Marketing

Marcus Martin

DE

Slippery Rock (Pa.)

3.56

Safety Management

Chandon Sullivan

DB

Georgia State

3.84

Journalism

Blaise Taylor

CB

Arkansas State

3.84

Business Administration

Marlon Walls

S

Stephen F. Austin

4.00

Engineering Physics

Chris Weber

LB

Nebraska

3.96

Nutrition Science

Jake Wieneke

WR

South Dakota State

3.63

Physical/Teacher Education

“We are extremely proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Campbell Trophy®, who make up the 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.”

The recipient of the Campbell Trophy® will also be honored at the NFF Board of Directors meeting and at a reception hosted by its official home, the New York Athletic Club, on Wednesday, Dec. 6. He will then fly to Atlanta to be recognized during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN at the College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 7. Finally, as part of the NFF’s partnership with the College Football Playoff (CFP), the Campbell Trophy® winner will return to Atlanta to be recognized on the field during the CFP National Championship on Jan. 8, 2018.

The 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. 5, pushing the program’s all-time distributions to more than $11.3 million.

“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® winner) 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 NFF National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, became the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Including the 2017 recipients, the NFF has honored 841 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); NCAA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Oliver Luck (West Virginia); NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins (Illinois) and Leland Melvin (Richmond); recently retired chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and 35 College Football Hall of Famers, including 2017 electee Peyton Manning (Tennessee). Click here for a database of all the past NFF National Scholar-Athletes.

In 2011, the NFF and Fidelity launched 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 history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. In 2014, Fidelity expanded its support, becoming the presenting sponsor of The William V. Campbell Trophy®.

Fidelity’s support also includes the NFF Faculty Salutes, which recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. As part of the initiative and with full support from the 1A FARs, the NFF presents each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Fidelity Investments, which is used to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school. Since the program’s inception in 2011, Fidelity has committed $505,000 (including $65,000 this year) and recognized 101 FARs.