Brandon Gantt named national semifinalist for NFF's Campbell Trophy

Brandon Gantt named national semifinalist for NFF's Campbell Trophy
Thursday, October 1, 2009 | by Senior quarterback one of 154 players from all divisions eligible for prestigious post-graduate scho

DALLAS, Texas - Newberry College quarterback Brandon Gantt has been named a semifinalist for the 20th Anniversary William V. Campbell Trophy presented by the National Football Foundation, the NFF announced today.

In addition to his semifinalist candidacy for the Campbell Trophy (which was previously known as the Draddy Trophy), Gantt is also eligible for a 2009 NFF Scholar-Athlete Award. A total of 154 semifinalists were announced, with 15 coming from the Division II ranks.

Gantt, a senior from Lexington, S.C., is Newberry's offensive team captain for 2009 and has already won the South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honor twice this season. He has passed for over 1,000 yards through four games this season. He is currently in the top 10 in the Newberry record books in career passing yardage, attempts, completions and touchdowns, ranking ninth in Newberry College history with 2,412 career passing yards. He has had three games of over 250 yards passing this season. He is on pace to break into the top 10 in the Newberry record books in total offense, with 3,003 total yards in two full seasons and four games.

Off the field, Gantt is majoring in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Spanish., carrying a 3.962 grade point average. He is a member of the Southern Early Childhood Education Association, the Future Educators Association, the Newberry College Student-Athlete Advisory Council and the Kappa Delta Pi international honors society.

He has been a member of the South Atlantic Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll in his previous two seasons and was an ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District Three First Team member in 2008. He mentors and tutors young students in Newberry and Columbia and is a Spanish and English tutor on campus. Gantt is also a member of the Newberry County Reading Council and the Education Student Advisory Committee.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, semifinalists 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. Renamed this fall 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 a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.

The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 29. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2009 NFF National Scholar- Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Campbell Trophy winner, who will have his scholarship increased to $25,000, will be announced live at the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner on December 8 at the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of $277,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.

Gantt is one of three semifinalists from the South Atlantic Conference and Super Region Two. Tusculum's Jarrell NeSmith and Wingate's Ryan Webber are also included in the 154 semifinalists. A total of four semifinalists are from schools in the state of South Carolina including Gantt, South Carolina State's Matthew Washington, The Citadel's Jordon Gilmore and Wofford's Joseph Fornadel.

"On the heels of our recent announcement to rename our top scholar-athlete award in honor of Bill Campbell, we are incredibly proud to select the next winner from this remarkable group of semifinalists," 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. "As one of the nation's most influential business leaders, Bill Campbell is a powerful example of football's unique ability to build leadership qualities in our young people. The semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy have already built track records that place them squarely in his footsteps."

"The Campbell Trophy semifinalists represent everything great about college football, having achieved excellence in all aspect of their lives," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "It is the NFF's duty to promote their accomplishments while encouraging future generations of gridiron standouts to aim high on and off the football field."

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 William V. Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a Heisman winner. The University of California's Alex Mack, a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, was named the 2008 Campbell Trophy recipient.

In addition to the Manning Brothers, notable NFF National Scholar-Athlete alumni include NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker (Oregon State), Gary Beban (UCLA); Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Danny Wuerffel (Florida).

Click here for the complete breakdown of 2009 Campbell Trophy Semifinalists

2009 Campbell Trophy Semifinalists
from Division II

Ashland (Ohio) UniversityNick Bellanco
Chadron State (Neb.) CollegeBrandon Harrington
East Stroudsburg (Pa.) UniversitySam Shuman
Edinboro (Pa.) UniversityTrevor Harris
Grand Valley State (Mich.) UniversityAlex Gilde
Northern State (S.D.) UniversityBrian Jark
Northwest Missouri State UniversityMyles Burnsides
Pittsburg State (Kan.) UniversityJay Nunez
Tusculum (Tenn.) CollegeJarrell NeSmith
University of Central MissouriRobert Hicklin
University of Minnesota - DuluthTobias Lemke
Wayne State (Mich.) UniversityBruno Shrekle
Wingate (N.C.) UniversityRyan Webber
Winona State (Minn.) UniversityMarcus Greatens