IRVING, TEXAS --- Moravian College senior fullback Sal Pagano has been named one of 185 semifinalists across college football for the 2019 William V. Campbell Trophy Presented by Mazada. Celebrating its 30th year in 2019, the award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.
The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on October 30, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2019 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class presented by Fidelity Investments. 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.
Last week, Mazda announced a three-year partnership to sponsor the Campbell Trophy®, kicking off the automaker's Power of Potential Platform.
"The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools and coaches on their tremendous accomplishments," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist's achievements, showcasing their ability to balance academics and athletics at the highest level. The NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from this outstanding group of candidates."
Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments celebrate their 61st year in 2019. The awards were the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments, and the NFF has recognized 854 outstanding individuals since their inception. The Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda was first awarded in 1990 and is celebrating its 30th year in 2019. The trophy adds to the program's prestige, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and six first-round NFL draft picks.
Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of workplace savings plans in higher education, serves as the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. Since 2013, the Campbell Trophy® has been prominently displayed inside its official home at the New York Athletic Club.
The past recipients of The William V. 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 (Fla.)'s Joaquin Gonzalez (2001); Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.)'s 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); California's Alex Mack (2008); Florida's Tim Tebow (2009); Texas' Sam Acho (2010); Army West Point's Andrew Rodriguez (2011); Alabama's Barrett Jones (2012); Penn State's John Urschel (2013); Duke's David Helton (2014); Oklahoma's Ty Darlington (2015); Western Michigan's Zach Terrell (2016); Virginia's Micah Kiser (2017); and Clemson's Christian Wilkins (2018).
"This is a tremendous honor for Sal to be included in the impressive list of semifinalists," commented Moravian College Head Coach Jeff Pukszyn. "Sal has been a leader on the field for our program since he arrived on campus in 2016, but he is also a leader off the field with his work ethic in the classroom. He leads by example for all of our younger players and will be a success in all his future endeavors beyond his time here at Moravian."
Pagano is majoring in health sciences at Moravian, and he has a perfect 4.0 GPA. Pagano was named to the Centennial Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll in both 2017 and 2018, and he is serving as a team captain for the Greyhounds this fall for a second straight season.
The 185 semifinalists include 49 NCAA Division III student-athletes, and Pagano is one of five Centennial Conference players on the list. He is also one of eight semifinalists with a 4.0 GPA.
To view the full NFF release and list of 180 semifinalists, visit https://footballfoundation.org/news/2019/9/25/football-nff-announces-impressive-list-of-185-semifinalists-for-2019-william-v-campbell-trophy-presented-by-mazda.aspx.
Parts of release courtesy of National Football Foundation.