IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) proudly announced today an all-time record of 199 semifinalists for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, establishing an exciting new highwater mark for one of college football’s most sought-after and coveted awards.
Boston College senior offensive lineman Zion Johnson was named a semifinalist. An All-ACC Preseason team selection and second-team All-ACC performer in 2019, Johnson also excels in the classroom with a 3.229 GPA in computer science.
Johnson, who was named a preseason All-American by Phil Steele, is coming off a dominant season in 2019 for the Eagles. The Maryland native quickly blossomed into one of the ACC’s best offensive linemen in 2019 after transferring from Davidson.
He started seven games but played 90% of the snaps at left guard. A three-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week selection in 2019, Zion Johnson was a key member of a BC offensive line that was among the national leaders in sacks allowed and rushing yards.
“This is terrific news. To set a record for the number of Campbell nominees is extra special during the pandemic because it shows how the stature of the award continues to rise even during these challenging times,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “We have worked hard to expand the profile of the award, and it’s extremely gratifying to have so many schools participate this year with nominations. We believe it sends an important message to the younger student-athletes that you truly can do it all, succeeding on the field, in the classroom and as leaders in the community.”
Celebrating its 31st year, the award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance, and exemplary leadership. The NFF will announce 12-to-14 finalists in November, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2020 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. Later this year, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 31st Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, having his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000 and receiving his own 25-pound-bronze version of the iconic statue.
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.
Named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the trophy has been prominently displayed inside its official home at the New York Athletic Club since 2013, and the winner is honored each year during a special luncheon at the venue.