IRVING, Texas — Mount Union senior offensive lineman Matt Fitchet (Edgewood) is one of 181 (33 from NCAA Division III) semifinalists for the National Football Foundation for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments®. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Nov. 1, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. Live during the event, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 28th William V. Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
“These 181 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® winner) and Eliwere named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “It is important for us to showcase their success 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.”
Named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal, the Campbell Trophy® is a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient’s grant by $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship of $25,000, which is endowed by HealthSouth. This year’s postgraduate scholarships will push the program’s all-time distribution to more than $11.3 million. Since 2013, the Campbell Trophy® has been prominently displayed inside its official home at the New York Athletic Club.
Fitchet has played the 32 consecutive games on the Purple Raiders’ offensive line on an offense that over those seasons as been ranked among the nation’s best in scoring, total offense, passing offense and rushing offense categories. An Academic All-American in 2016, Fitchet has also been an All-OAC honorable mention, Academic All-OAC and Academic All-District selection. Off the field, he is an Exercise Science major, who has also participated in community service efforts that include Trick or Treat with the Raiders, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, Be The Match Bone Marrow event and the Raider Buddies mentoring program. He is also a member of the Mount Union track and field program.
Fitchet is one of just 33 NCAA Division III semifinalist and the lone representative from the Ohio Athletic Conference. Mount Union has sent four finalists to New York City over the years — Hank Spencer 2015, Nick Driskill in 2012, Greg Micheli in 2008 and Eric Safran in 2007.
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 playing 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.