Eight Big Ten standouts were named semifinalists today for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy (formerly known as the Draddy Trophy), which is awarded to the nation's top football student-athlete. The Big Ten semifinalists are Illinois' Jon Asamoah, Indiana's Jammie Kirlew, Michigan's Zoltan Mesko, Minnesota's Eric Decker, Northwestern's Andrew Brewer, Ohio State's Jim Cordle, Penn State's Josh Hull and Wisconsin's Mickey Turner. Selected as the best and brightest from the college gridiron, the Big Ten's eight nominees were part of 154 total semifinalists announced by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (NFF) for both the Campbell Trophy and the 2009 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, semifinalists 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. Renamed this fall 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 a $25,000 post- graduate scholarship.
The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 29. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2009 NFF National Scholar- Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Campbell Trophy winner, who will have his scholarship increased to $25,000, will be announced live at the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner on December 8 at the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of $277,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
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 William V. Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a Heisman winner. Two Big Ten players earned the Draddy Trophy -- the Ohio State pair of Bobby Hoying in 1995 and Craig Krenzel in 2003.