Hancock a Campbell Trophy semifinalist
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University linebacker Chase Hancock has a lot on his plate this week.
Hancock, a senior from Daniels, West Virginia, and football team leader for the Thundering Herd defense, is watching video in preparation for the final conference opener of his Marshall career against Western Kentucky at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Houchens-L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The Hilltoppers bring many question marks to the table, having started three different quarterbacks in four games and also rotating through three or four different running backs in the early going.
With all the personnel, the only way to know the tendencies of each is through video study, which is an emphasis for Hancock and the defense this week.
As it turns out, studying — whether on or off the field — happens to be one of Hancock’s passions.
“It’s challenging, but as a senior, I’ve learned to roll with the punches,” Hancock said.
Hancock has not only proven to be a leader on the field, but also in the classroom as he moves toward his goal of becoming a pediatrician.
Hancock was rewarded for that passion Wednesday as the National Football Foundation named him as one of 179 semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which, according to release, recognizes the “absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.”
Many hear the term “student-athlete” and don’t fully understand what that means.
On Tuesday, Hancock broke down the rigors of fulfilling all of those demands, describing
the typical early portion of his week.
Mondays start with a 6 a.m. team meeting, then Hancock goes off to a mixture of classes and additional tutoring sessions before lunch. After lunch, Hancock goes to class until time for team dinner prior to an evening practice. Once home, he takes care of any homework obligations.
Tuesday is no easier with class in the morning before his sitdown with media members at 11:30 a.m.
Of note, normal media interviews for players occur on Monday, but Hancock’s class schedule does not allow for availability at that time, so he and Marshall’s sports information office scheduled a special time when media members can meet with him for questions about the upcoming opponent.
“The beginning of the week is a bit more hectic for me because I’ve got classes all day long, which I come up here on Tuesdays,” Hancock said. “I can’t come on Mondays.”
Following the media interviews, he attends study hall to knock out classwork before getting ready for the team’s afternoon practice, which is followed by positional meetings and film work, then dinner and any additional homework that he might have left to finish.
By the end of Tuesday, Hancock has already put anywhere from 30 to 35 hours of work between school and the team into his week.
“It’s just something I’ve learned to adjust my schedule around, really,” he said.
That’s what makes Wednesday’s announcement a well-deserved honor for Hancock, who has dedicated himself to not only his goals on the field of leading the Herd to a Conference USA championship, but also to being an example for in-state student-athletes who wish to represent West Virginia by making a bigger name for themselves, whether on or off the field.
“That’s just how it has to be,” Hancock said. “It’s definitely hard. Sometimes, you want to relax and you get worn out, but there’s more to life than just football. I have to keep that in mind. I won’t be able to play football forever. I have to do my best to prepare for the future. I might not have taken the exact route everyone expected me to take, but I believe I’m going to get there.”
That type of mindset is one that is consistent with all of the candidates for the William V. Campbell Trophy.
Nominees must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a 3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a significant contributor on the team and demonstrate strong leadership and citizenship.
“These (179) impressive candidates truly represent the scholarathlete ideal,” said Archie Manning, chairman of the National Football Foundation. “For 60 years, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program has showcased more than 800 college football player who have been successful on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year’s semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders.”
Hancock’s inclusion as a semifinalist means he has the chance to join Chad Pennington as the only Marshall players in history to win the William V. Campbell Trophy. Pennington won the award in 1999.
On Oct. 31, the National Football Foundation will announce 12 to 14 finalists for the award. Each of those finalists receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 60th NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The winner, who receives the trophy and has the postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000, will be announced at the NFF’s Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 in New York City.
MARSHALL (2-1) AT WKU (1-3)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Houchens Stadium, Bowling Green, Ky.
RADIO: WDGG 93.7-FM, ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM