Site Navigation

Columbia's Gross One of 16 Vying for Campbell Trophy

Columbia's Alex Gross
Columbia's Alex Gross

Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

NEW YORK -- As the 2010 college football season comes to a close, Columbia's Alex Gross is one the 16 Campbell Trophy finalists in New York City, where each will claim an $18,000 scholarship, and The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) will announce that one of them has become the 21st recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth.

The Campbell Trophy is one of college football's most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The award comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.

"The Campbell represents excellence in all aspects of one's life," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "Past recipients have gone on to become lawyers, doctors and some of the best players in the NFL. Football truly does build leaders, and this year's 16 finalists stand as a testament to the sport's character building ability."

The announcement will be made between 8:45 - 9:15 p.m. during the NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria on Tuesday, December 7. A live satellite feed will be provided at coordinates Galaxy 16 Transponder 6C; Downlink 11814.625 Vertical; Data Rate 5.5; Symbol Rate 3.978723; FEC ¾.

The 16 finalists, who will each vie as a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, boast a composite 3.65 grade point average, and 14 of the 16 finalists serve as their team captain. Other class accolades include five All-Americans, 13 All-Conference picks, 15 Academic All-Conference honorees; and five members participating in overseas relief and mission trips. In 2010, 14 of the 16 made an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American District team with seven named to the first or second team, including Greg McElroy (Alabama) and Isaac Odim (Minnesota Duluth) who were both named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans of the Year for the university and college divisions respectively.

Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award a postgraduate scholarship based on a player's combined academic and athletic accomplishments. The program has awarded $9.5 million to 740 top athletes since its inception. The centerpiece to the NFF's scholar-athlete program is the Campbell Trophy. First awarded in 1990, the award was renamed last 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.

Listed in alphabetical order, the 2010 Campbell Finalists are:

Sam Acho - DE - University of Texas: Led the NCAA's eighth-ranked defense with 17 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 17 quarterback hits, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries . . . named a two-time First Team CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-America honoree and one of The Sporting News' "20 Smartest Athletes" . . . also a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Wuerffel Trophy . . . earned First Team All-Big 12 accolades as a senior . . . a member of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team . . . participated in several medical mission trips to Nigeria.

Anthony Castonzo - OT - Boston College: A First Team All-ACC pick as a senior . . . also a First Team CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District pick . . . was the first true freshman to start on the offensive line for the Eagles in a decade, and started at every game of his career . . . as a junior, he helped tailback Montel Harris obtain 1,457 rushing yards and a rank among the top 10 rushers in the nation . . . claims a 3.45 GPA as a biochemistry major.

Ben Chappell - QB - Indiana University: Closed his career as one of the most prolific passers in Indiana football history . . . 2010 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection... ranks second in all-time passing yards, first in career attempts, first in career completions, first in career percentage and third in total offense . . . his senior season ranks second in total yardage and first in passing yards, completions and attempts . . . the only player in IU history to toss over 50 touchdown passes . . . earned a spot on the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team . . . posted a 3.70 GPA in accounting.

Alex Gross - LB - Columbia University: A two-time First Team All-Ivy League honoree. . . also earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors in 2007 . . . garnered CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District honors . . . finished his career with 330 tackles . . . led the Ivy League and finished fourth in FCS with 124 tackles as a senior . . . ranked second on the club with five tackles for loss, six passes defended, four pass break-ups and two interceptions . . . twice named a team captain . . . a three-time member of the Dean's List.

Owen Marecic - LB/FB - Stanford University: Two-way starter for No. 4 ranked team in the country . . . rushed 20 times for 42 yards and four touchdowns . . . caught nine passes for 75 yards . . . also ranked sixth on the squad with 45 tackles and recorded 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, seven passes defended, five pass break-ups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery . . . paved the way for the nation's 18th-ranked rushing offense and 14th-ranked total offense . . . accomplished a rare feat versus Notre Dame when he scored a one-yard rushing touchdown and, 13 seconds later, returned an interception 20 yards for another score . . . a Second Team CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-American.

Greg McElroy - QB - University of Alabama: Named the CoSIDA/ESPN University Division Academic All-American of the Year . . . listed among The Sporting News' "20 Smartest Athletes" . . . a Rhodes Scholar nominee . . . a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree . . . named Alabama's Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Marketing, where he carried a 3.83 GPA . . . helped lead Alabama to its 13th national championship in 2009 . . . with a 166.94 quarterback rating, he is FBS' sixth-most efficient passer . . . threw 38 career touchdown passes against 11 interceptions . . . directs FBS' 27th-ranked offense and 22nd-ranked scoring offense . . . a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

Mike Mohamed - LB ¬- University of California: Earned Pac-10 All-Academic Team honors as a senior . . . led the team with 95 tackles and also accumulated five tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, two quarterback hits and one interception . . . earned First Team All-Pac-10 accolades as a junior with 112 tackles . . . also garnered Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors as a sophomore with 87 stops . . . claims 340 career tackles, which places him fourth all-time among Cal defenders . . . additionally, he has served internships with Cornish & Carey commercial real estate and UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Travis Nissley - LB - Bucknell University: Listed as the Patriot League Student-Athlete of the Year as a junior and a senior . . . also earned ESPN/CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American honors . . . paced the team with 63 tackles . . . also registered 2.5 tackles for loss, one pass break-up and one pass defended . . . holds a 3.96 GPA in mechanical engineering . . . recipient of the Charles M. White Memorial Prize for Scholar Athletes.

Isaac Odim - RB - University of Minnesota Duluth: Picked as the CoSIDA/ESPN College Division Academic All-American of the Year . . . Before suffering a season-ending knee injury, he gained 796 yards and 17 touchdowns on 106 carries, which ranked fifth in Division II in rushing and first in scoring . . . set school single-season records with 1,638 rushing yards and 26 rushing scores as a sophomore while leading the Bulldogs to a national championship . . . holds virtually ever single-game, season and career rushing record in UMD history . . . the mechanical engineering major has been inducted into the Mortar Board National Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Christian Ponder - QB - Florida State University: Earned his undergraduate degree in two and a half years and played this season while working toward his second master's degree . . . led the No. 23 Seminoles to their first ACC Championship Game appearance since 2005 . . . completed 183 of 294 passes for 2,038 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions . . . also rushed for 177 yards and four touchdowns . . . claimed the he 2010 James Tatum Award as the ACC's top student-athlete... led the ACC as a junior with 321.8 total yards per game . . . a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award . . . claims 6,866 career passing yards and 49 touchdown passes and 10 rushing scores . . . leads all Seminole athletes in community service hours performed .

Derek Sherrod - OT - Mississippi State University: Helped the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record and a No. 21 national ranking . . . has helped clear the way for the nation's 16th-ranked rushing offense . . . earned All-SEC honors as a junior while leading the conference's top-ranked rushing attack . . . carries a 3.54 GPA in business . . . a four-year member of the M-Club, a student-athlete service organization . . . a three-time President's List scholar.

Nate Solder - OT - University of Colorado: Selected as the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year . . . also named Colorado's Most Valuable Player for the 2010 season . . . tabbed as an finalist for the Outland Trophy . . . earned First Team All-Big 12 accolades as a junior . . . a three-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree . . . holds a 3.51 GPA in biology . . . received the Dean Jacob Van Elk Award for Academic Excellence.

Chris Stewart - OG - University of Notre Dame: The only player in the storied history of Notre Dame football to attend law school as a player. . . a 2009 CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-American . . . earned CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District honors this season . . . graduated with a degree in history in three and a half years . . . a member of the History Honors Program . . . journeyed to Haiti during his spring break of 2009 for earthquake relief efforts.

Scott Tolzien ¬- QB - University of Wisconsin: Directed the Badgers to an 11-1 season, a No. 5 national ranking, a Big Ten Co-Championship and first Rose Bowl berth since the 1999 season . . . 2010 Second Team All-Big Ten selection... helped Wisconsin average 43.3 points per game, tied for fourth-best nationally . . . also helped push the squad to 450.17 yards per game, which ranks 18th in FBS . . . ranks fourth in the country in passing efficiency with a 169.8 quarterback rating . . . completed 182 of 245 passes for 2,300 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions . . . also a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist.

Ben Wartman ¬- RB - University of Saint Thomas (Minn.): Has led the Tommies to a 12-0 record and a spot in the Division III quarterfinals . . . has rushed 172 times for 938 yards and 13 touchdowns . . . has also tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass . . . a CoSIDA/ESPN First Team Academic All-American . . . earned First Team All-America honors as a junior while assisting Saint Thomas to its first playoff berth in 19 years . . . also helped the Tommies baseball team to a national championship last season . . . has performed mission work in Costa Rica . . . a six time Dean's List honoree.

Stefen Wisniewski - OG - Pennsylvania State University: Tabbed as an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and named a 2010 First Team All-Big Ten pick . . . Penn State's first three-time CoSIDA/ESPN First Team Academic All-American . . . a Wuerffel Trophy finalist . . . also an Allstate AFCA Good Works Team honoree . . . a Third Team All-American as a junior . . . qualified for two All-Big Ten teams . . . helped the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl berth as a sophomore . . . a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.