Former Fairland star Campbell semifinalist for national award
HUNTINGTON — Former Fairland High School football star Nathan Campbell, now a senior defensive back at Davidson College, is a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy presented to the nation’s premier football scholar-athlete in the nation.
Campbell is one of 179 players from all divisions of college football, and merely one of 40 from the NCAA FCS Division, to be nominated for the trophy, called by some the “academic Heisman.”
“It’s an honor to be considered for this award,” Campbell said on Monday. “It’s an opportunity to show that I’m more than just an athlete playing the game I love, but also a student who is getting a quality education that will set me up for the rest of my life.”
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the award 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 National Football Foundation Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Fame members and athletic administrators.
Marshall University senior linebacker Chase Hancock is also among the semifinalists.
Campbell, 21, carries a 3.5 GPA while majoring in anthropology and minoring in East Asian studies. He has visited South Korea, where he was born before being adopted by Jon And Kenda Campbell of Proctorville, Ohio, five times since graduating high school and worked with orphans there. Campbell works in the field of trans-international adoption.
“I plan to go back on winter break, if possible,” said Campbell, who found his birth mother in South Korea three years ago.
Campbell has excelled on the football field. The 5-foot-8, 177-pound cornerback is sixth on his team in tackles with 18 while helping the Wildcats to a 4-1 start, their best since 2000. He has intercepted two passes, including one in the end zone during the closing seconds last week to preserve a 40-35 triumph over Valparaiso. Campbell also has broken up four passes.
“It’s definitely been an adjustment,” Campbell said of playing football at Davidson, known for its stringent academic standards. “It’s a lot of hours in the library. College football has more meetings than we had in high school. It’s a lot of long days and short nights.”
The NFF will announce 12 to 14 finalists on Oct. 31. Each finalist will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The winner’s scholarship will be increased to $25,000 and will be presented Dec. 4 in New York City.