Dayton Is One Of Just Five Teams To Have A Semifinalist For 10 Straight Years
Irving, Texas — University of Dayton senior Danny Leach has been named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments.
Sometimes referred to as “The Academic Heisman,” the Campbell Trophy is one of college football’s most sought-after awards. The Campbell Trophy recognizes a student-athlete who best exemplifies academic success alongside football performance and community leadership.
Leach, a 2015 team captain, has played in 29 games in his career.
Over his career, Leach has appeared in 31 games at safety for the Flyers over his career. A versatile player, last year he was the only Flyer defender to record an interception, pass break-up, forced fumbled, fumble recovery, and sack on the season.
In this season’s opener, he was named Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Robert Morris, where he recorded four tackles, one pass break-up, and two interceptions, one of which went for a 93-yard touchdown return. He is currently tied for first in FCS football in interceptions per game (1.0).
A Leadership major in the Business school who carries a 3.74 GPA, Leach is a three-time PFL Academic Honor Roll selection and six-time School of Business Administration Scholar.
He is one of 135 semifinalists from all levels of college football, and one of 23 nominees from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Campbell’s Hunter Somerville and Marist’s John Brennan join Leach as one of only three student-athletes from the Pioneer Football League.
UD has had at least a semifinalist for ten straight years. Will Bardo was last year’s honoree. Colin Monnier was selected two seasons ago. Bill Petraiuolo received the honor in 2012, Devon Langhorst was nominated in 2011, Brandon Wingeier made the cut in 2010, Sean Heenan did in 2009, and Bart Bergfeld in 2008. In 2007, Brandon Cramer was named a finalist for the award, and Brandon Godsey was named a semifinalist the previous year.
Dayton is the only PFL team to even have four straight (Campbell has four). Among Division I schools, the Flyers are one of four institutions with a semifinalist in the last nine years. The others are Austin Peay, Bucknell, Montana, and Rutgers.
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 as well as their schools and coaches on this tremendous honor,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist’s achievements, which show that football players can balance between 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.”
The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 15 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, October 29. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy.
Each member of the 2015 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City be honored December 9 during the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner 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. More than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, which puts the program’s all-time scholarship distribution to over $11 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 and prestige, 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 announced 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 56-year history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program.
The past recipients of the Campbell Trophy include: Air Force’s Chris Howard (1990); Ohio State’s Bobby Hoying (1995); Florida’s Danny Wuerffel (1996); Tennessee’s Peyton Manning (1997); Marshall’s Chad Pennington (1999); Ohio State’s Craig Krenzel (2003); Tennessee’s Michael Munoz (2004); Florida’s Tim Tebow (2009); Texas’ Sam Acho (2010); Army’s Andrew Rodriguez (2011) and Alabama’s Barrett Jones (2012). Last year’s recipient at the FBS level was Duke’s David Helton.