Big Ten Conference students Chris Weber of Nebraska and Justin Jackson of Northwestern are among 13 finalists for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy, it was announced Wednesday by the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame. Now in its 28th year, the Campbell Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.
As Campbell Trophy finalists chosen from a nationwide pool of 181 semifinalists among all NCAA divisions and NAIA, Weber and Jackson will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. They will travel to New York City on Dec. 5 for the 60th annual NFF Awards Dinner, which will be live streamed on ESPN3 starting at 8:30 p.m. ET from the New York Hilton Midtown, where this year’s Campbell Trophy recipient will be named. The award winner will see his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, Campbell Trophy candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of athletic eligibility, maintain a grade-point average of 3.2 or higher, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The selections are made annually by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally-recognized group of media members, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
Weber, who is Nebraska’s first Campbell Trophy finalist since Spencer Long in 2013, carries a 3.96 cumulative GPA as a nutrition science major and has already been accepted to medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and two-time Academic All-District selection by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). On the field, Weber has started all eight games at linebacker this season and leads the Huskers in tackles (66), tackles for loss (six) and pass breakups (five). He has three games of at least 10 tackles, including a 15-tackle effort against Ohio State on Oct. 14. A 2017 captain, the former walk-on is a three-year letterwinner and has played in 44 career games at Nebraska.
Jackson is Northwestern’s third Campbell Trophy finalist in six years and first since Brandon Vitabile in 2014. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and 2016 CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-American, Jackson is an economics major with a minor in French. On the gridiron, Jackson is Northwestern’s career rushing leader (4,773 yards) and ranks eighth in Big Ten history, and he has tied the school’s all-time record for total touchdowns (38). This season, he has started all eight games for the Wildcats, rushing for 644 yards and scoring seven touchdowns, while adding 218 receiving yards and throwing his first career touchdown pass last Saturday in Northwestern’s triple-overtime win over Michigan State.
Six students from current Big Ten schools have received the William V. Campbell Trophy since its inception in 1990: Nebraska’s Rob Zatechka (1994), Ohio State’s Bobby Hoying (1995), Nebraska’s Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000), Ohio State’s Craig Krenzel (2003), Rutgers’ Brian Leonard (2006) and Penn State’s John Urschel (2013).
The full release on this year’s William V. Campbell Trophy finalists is available by CLICKING HERE.