IRVING, Texas – Blake Johnston, a team captain and three-year starter on the Hardin-Simmons football team, has been named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s 2019 William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda.
The award is presented to the top senior scholar-athlete in the nation across all levels of college football. The semifinalist group is 185 players this year with 71 from the Football Bowl Subdivision, 39 from the Football Championship Subdivision, 19 from Division II and 49 from Division III.
The average GPA was 3.69 and 81 of the nominees had a 3.7 or better grade point average, 108 were team captains and 87 were all-conference selections. Johnston was a part of all three categories as he carries a 3.72 GPA as an exercise science major and was all-conference as a safety as well as being on of the team captains for HSU.
The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 30, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2019 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10, 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 30th Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda 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 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 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 185 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 more than 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. And we are excited to celebrate the 30th year of the William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, which honors the best of the best. 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® Presented by Mazda 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 $11.7 million.