The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame has announced that nine NAIA football student-athletes are among its 147 candidates for the 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments.
"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."
The NAIA nominees are: Jouan Cox, Bethel University (Tenn.); Cody McCallister, Cumberland University (Tenn.); John Niesen, Dakota State University (S.D.); Mitchell Thornton, Faulkner University (Ala.); Jacob Snodgrass, McPherson College (Kan.); Joel Woodhead, Peru State College (Neb.); Shane Zackery, Saint Xavier University (Ill.); Jay Bright, University of the Cumberlands (Ky.); and Mason Woods, William Penn University (Iowa).
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 from all levels. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy.