Football: Dankenbring, Best Scholar in Nation Nominee

USC QB Matt Barkley, Alabama OL Barrett Jones, Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o among those that will vie for the prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.

Football: Dankenbring, Best Scholar in Nation Nominee

Selected as the best and brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the 147 candidates for the 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments®, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education. The 147 nominees also comprise the list of semifinalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

“This year’s candidates truly embody the National Football Foundation’s mission of building leaders through football,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (1997 Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “They are standouts in the classroom and on the field and have become leaders in their respective communities. Each school should take great pride in being represented by such well-rounded young men who will undoubtedly go on to do great things in life.”

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 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.

“The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees for maintaining such high standards throughout their collegiate careers,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “We are extremely proud to showcase their achievements, and there is no question that the NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the final group of honorees from among this esteemed group.”

The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, October 25. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored December 4 during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the Campbell Trophy.

Named 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 increases the amount of the recipient’s grant by $7,000 for a total post-graduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program’s all-time distributions to more than $10.1 million.

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 Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program’s mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL draft picks.

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 54-year history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. Fidelity also helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes Initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. As part of the initiative, the NFF will present each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.

The past recipients of the Campbell Trophy include: Air Force’s Chris Howard (1990); Florida’s Brad Culpepper (1991); Colorado’s Jim Hansen (1992); Virginia’s Thomas Burns (1993); Nebraska’s Rob Zatechka (1994); Ohio State’s Bobby Hoying (1995); Florida’s Danny Wuerffel (1996); Tennessee’s Peyton Manning (1997); Georgia’s Matt Stinchcomb (1998); Marshall’s Chad Pennington (1999); Nebraska’s Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000); Miami’s (Fla.) Joaquin Gonzalez (2001); Washington University in St. Louis’ Brandon Roberts (2002); Ohio State’s Craig Krenzel (2003); Tennessee’s Michael Munoz (2004); LSU’s Rudy Niswanger (2005); Rutgers’ Brian Leonard (2006); Texas’ Dallas Griffin (2007); Cal’s Alex Mack (2008); Florida’s Tim Tebow (2009); Texas’ Sam Acho (2010); and Army’s Andrew Rodriguez (2011).


  • 3.57 Average GPA
  • 29 nominees with a 3.80 GPA or better
  • 91 Team Captains
  • 74 All-Conference Picks
  • 21 Academic All-America Selections
  • 14 All-America Selections
  • 50 Nominees from the Football Bowl Subdivision
  • 35 Nominees from the Football Championship Subdivision
  • 12 Nominees from the Division II
  • 41 Nominees from the Division III
  • 9 Nominees from the NAIA
  • 68 Offensive Players
  • 53 Defensive Players
  • 26 Special Teams Players


Football Bowl Subdivision

  • Alabama — Barrett Jones
  • Arkansas — Dylan Breeding
  • Army — Zach Watts
  • Auburn — Ashton Richardson
  • Ball State — Scott Kovanda
  • Baylor — Nick Florence
  • Brigham Young — Riley Nelson
  • California — Matt Summers-Gavin
  • Central Florida — Lyle Dankenbring
  • Clemson — Dalton Freeman
  • Colorado — Dustin Ebner
  • Duke — Sean Renfree
  • Eastern Michigan — Alex Gillett
  • Florida — Caleb Sturgis
  • Florida State — Dustin Hopkins
  • Georgia — Ty Frix
  • Indiana — Adam Replogle
  • Iowa — James Vandenberg
  • Iowa State — Carter Bykowski
  • Kentucky — Matt Smith
  • Louisiana Tech — Matt Nelson
  • Mississippi — Tyler Campbell
  • Missouri — T.J. Moe
  • Navy — Keegan Wetzel
  • Nebraska — Rex Burkhead
  • North Carolina — Pete Mangum
  • North Carolina State — McKay Frandsen
  • Northern Illinois — Nabal Jefferson
  • Northwestern — Patrick Ward
  • Notre Dame — Manti Te’o
  • Ohio — Matt Weller
  • Ohio State — Ben Buchanan
  • Penn State — Pete Massaro
  • Purdue — Robert Maci
  • Rutgers — Duron Harmon
  • San Jose State — Travis Johnson
  • South Carolina — Seth Strickland
  • South Florida — Evan Landi
  • Southern California — Matt Barkley
  • Syracuse — Ryan Nassib
  • Texas — Marquise Goodwin
  • Texas Tech — Cody Davis
  • Toledo — Dan Molls
  • UCLA — Jeff Locke
  • Utah — Sean Sellwood
  • Virginia Tech — Joey Phillips
  • West Virginia — Jeff Braun
  • Western Michigan — Chris Prom
  • Wisconsin — Shelton Johnson
  • Wyoming — Luke Ruff

Football Championship Subdivision

  • Austin Peay State — Wesley Kitts
  • Brown — Ross Walthall
  • Bryant — Colin Sullivan
  • Bucknell — Sam Oyekoya
  • Butler — Jordan Ridley
  • Campbell — Sam Eberwein
  • Colgate — Chris Looney
  • Dartmouth — Patrick Lahey
  • Dayton — Bill Petraiuolo
  • Delaware — Ethan Clark
  • Drake — Tyler Moorehead
  • Eastern Kentucky — Patrick Ford
  • Fordham — Patrick Murray
  • Georgia State — Akeen Felder
  • Holy Cross — Tom Mannix
  • Maine — Brian Harvey
  • Missouri State — Matt Thayer
  • Montana — Samuel Gratton
  • New Hampshire — Chris Zarkoskie
  • Nicholls State — Kerry Guidry
  • North Dakota — Ross Brenneman
  • North Dakota State — Garrett Bruhn
  • Northern Arizona — Jake Hess
  • Northern Colorado — Mason Puckett
  • Northern Iowa — Kyle Bernard
  • Northwestern State — John Shaughnessy
  • Old Dominion — Jonathan Plisco
  • Princeton — Joe Cloud
  • Rhode Island — Kyle Elliott
  • Robert Morris — Nolan Nearhoof
  • Sam Houston State — Eric Fieilo
  • South Dakota State — Tyrel Kool
  • Southern Illinois — Joe Okon
  • UC-Davis — Sean Davies
  • UT-Chattanooga — Adam Miller

Division II

  • Adams State (Colo.) — Jason Nottingham
  • Ashland (Ohio) — Donnie Dottei
  • C.W. Post-LIU (N.Y.) — Grayson Laurino
  • Eastern New Mexico — Wes Wood
  • Harding (Ark.) — Josh Aldridge
  • Missouri Univ. of Science & Tech. — Josh Firm
  • Missouri Southern State — Kellen Cox
  • St. Cloud State (Minn.) — Andrew Beckmann
  • Wayne State (Mich.) — Nick Thomas
  • West Texas A&M — Aarone Mulane
  • Wingate (N.C.) — Andrew Nallenweg

 Division III

  • Albion (Mich.) — Spencer Krauss
  • Albright (Pa.) — J.T. Harding
  • Bethany (W.Va.) — Johnathan Foster
  • Bethel (Minn.) — Gavin Maurer
  • Bluffton (Ohio) — Ryan Sabin
  • Case Western Reserve (Ohio) — Dan Calabrese
  • Central (Iowa) — Ross Doehrmann
  • Denison (Ohio) — Nathaniel Kell
  • DePauw (Ind.) — Christopher Lamping
  • Dubuque (Iowa) — Wyatt Hanus
  • Emory & Henry (Va.) — Ross Ellis
  • Franklin and Marshall (Pa.) — Kenny Provost
  • Frostburg State (Md.) — Anthony Young
  • Gallaudet (D.C.) — Denton Mallas
  • Gettysburg (Pa.) — Larry DelViscio
  • Grinnell (Iowa) — TJ Schaid
  • Hampden-Sydney (Va.) — Alex Price
  • Hardin-Simmons (Texas) — Travis Sugar
  • Kean (N.J.) — T.J. Denehy
  • King’s (Pa.) — Ryan Cordingly
  • Lake Forest (Ill.) — Aidan Price
  • Lycoming (Pa.) — Parker Showers
  • Macalester (Minn.) — Riley Koval
  • Manchester (Ind.) — Matt Frieden
  • Massachusetts Institute of Tech. — Ethan Peterson
  • Mount Union (Ohio) — Nick Driskill
  • North Central (Ill.) — Alex Pirela
  • Oberlin (Ohio) — David Kalgren
  • Rowan (N.J.) — Chris Popper
  • Saint John’s (Minn.) — Stephen Johnson
  • Shenandoah (Va.) — Nick Erdman
  • Simpson (Iowa) — Mark Cronin
  • Union (N.Y.) — Noah Joseph
  • Wartburg (Iowa) — Garrett McGrane
  • Washington Univ. in St. Louis (Mo.) — Dan Burkett
  • Westfield State (Mass.) — Chris Walker
  • Wheaton (Ill.) — Sam VanHeest
  • Williams (Mass.) — Ladd Hamrick
  • Wisconsin-Eau Claire — Matt Hawley
  • Wisconsin-Oshkosh — Ben Strehlow
  • Wisconsin-Stout — Joshua Peterson


  • Bethel (Tenn.) — Jouan Cox
  • Cumberland (Tenn.) — Cody McCallister
  • Dakota State (S.D.) — John Niesen
  • Faulkner (Ala.) — Mitchell Thornton
  • McPherson (Kan.) — Jacob Snodgrass
  • Peru State (Neb.) — Joel Woodhead
  • Saint Xavier (Ill.) — Shane Zackery
  • Univ. of the Cumberlands (Ky.) — Jay Bright
  • William Penn (Iowa) — Mason Woods

About The National Football Foundation:

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the BCS, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Liberty Mutual Insurance, NCAA Football, and Under Armour. For more information, please visit

About The National College Football Awards Association:

The William V. Campbell Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official Web site,