NFF Proudly Announces Finalists for
2020 William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda
12 finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments
IRVING, Texas (Nov. 12, 2020) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the finalists for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda – college football’s premier scholar-athlete award that annually recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.
The 12 finalists will each 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 the winner of the 31st William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
Selected from a record 199 semifinalists nationwide from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, the 12 finalists are:
• Tyler Bradfield, LB – Grand Valley State [MI] (3.99 GPA – Finance)
• Sam Ehlinger, QB – Texas (3.42 GPA – Marketing)
• Jack Gibbens, LB – Abilene Christian (4.00 GPA – Accounting & Financial Mgmt.)
• Ezra Gray, RB – Alabama State (4.00 GPA – Computer Information Systems)
• Tyriq Harris, DE – Charlotte (3.68 GPA – Biology)
• Drew Himmelman, OT – Illinois State (3.82 GPA – Exercise Science)
• Tyler Howerton, OL – Hampden-Sydney [VA] (4.00 GPA – Physics)
• Kekaula Kaniho, DB – Boise State (3.94 GPA – Health Science)
• Brandon Kennedy, OL – Tennessee (3.55 GPA – Sport Management)
• Cameron Kinley, CB – Navy (3.32 GPA – Political Science)
• Elijah Molden, DB – Washington (3.56 GPA – Communications)
• Brady White, QB – Memphis (3.58 GPA – Business)
“We are extremely proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “These young men have an unrelenting commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives, and they represent all that is right in college football. As strong leaders in the vein of the trophy’s namesake Bill Campbell, they all serve as living examples that the Future for Football is bright. We are excited to honor their hard work and outstanding leadership with postgraduate scholarships.”
Submitted by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda 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 NFF Awards Committee did an excellent job in selecting this year’s National Scholar-Athletes,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® recipient) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “Selected from a record number of impressive semifinalists, they should be extremely proud of their accomplishments, as they have undoubtedly distinguished themselves as some of the best student-athletes in the country. Each of these men is also a leader on and off the field, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential.”
In September 2019, Mazda announced a three-year partnership to become the presenting sponsor of the Campbell Trophy®. Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of workplace savings plans in higher education, serves as the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Presented by Fidelity Investments celebrate their 62nd year in 2020. The awards were the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on both a player’s academic and athletic accomplishments.
Including the 2020 Campbell Trophy® finalists, the NFF has honored 878 individuals with National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and this year’s postgraduate scholarships will push the program’s all-time distribution to more than $11.9 million. The honorees have used the financial support to earn more than 150 medical degrees, 100 law degrees, 80 MBAs and 43 PhDs. Continuing their excellence on the field, more than 200 recipients have played in the NFL with an average career of six seasons or double the length of a typical NFL player. Past recipients also include 13 Rhodes Scholars and six Heisman Trophy winners.
The members of this year’s class find themselves among some of the most elite student-athletes in the history of the game, including NFL standout Drew Brees (Purdue); actor and 2019 NFF Gold Medal recipient Mark Harmon (UCLA); Robert Morris University President Chris Howard (Air Force); Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech); NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins (Illinois) and Leland Melvin (Richmond); and 40 College Football Hall of Famers, including 2020 electees Jason Hanson (Washington State) and Bob Stein (Minnesota). Click here for a database of all the past NFF National Scholar-Athletes.
The Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda was first awarded in 1990, adding to the program’s prestige. Past recipients include two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and seven first-round NFL draft picks.
The past recipients of the Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, include:
1990 – Chris Howard (Air Force)
1991 – Brad Culpepper (Florida)
1992 – Jim Hansen (Colorado)
1993 – Thomas Burns (Virginia)
1994 – Rob Zatechka (Nebraska)
1995 – Bobby Hoying (Ohio State)
1996 – Danny Wuerffel (Florida)
1997 – Peyton Manning (Tennessee)
1998 – Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia)
1999 – Chad Pennington (Marshall)
2000 – Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska)
2001 – Joaquin Gonzalez (Miami [FL])
2002 – Brandon Roberts (Washington U. in St. Louis [MO])
2003 – Craig Krenzel (Ohio State)
2004 – Michael Munoz (Tennessee)
2005 – Rudy Niswanger (LSU)
2006 – Brian Leonard (Rutgers)
2007 – Dallas Griffin (Texas)
2008 – Alex Mack (California)
2009 – Tim Tebow (Florida)
2010 – Sam Acho (Texas)
2011 – Andrew Rodriguez (Army West Point)
2012 – Barrett Jones (Alabama)
2013 – John Urschel (Penn State)
2014 – David Helton (Duke)
2015 – Ty Darlington (Oklahoma)
2016 – Zach Terrell (Western Michigan)
2017 – Micah Kiser (Virginia)
2018 – Christian Wilkins (Clemson)
2019 – Justin Herbert (Oregon)
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.
An All-Ivy League player and the captain of Columbia’s 1961 Ivy League championship team, Bill Campbell found his true calling after an unlikely career change at age 39 from Columbia football coach to advertising executive. His ability to recruit, develop and manage talented executives – all lessons learned on the gridiron – proved to be a critical component of his ability to inspire his business teams to the highest levels of success.
As the CEO and chairman of Intuit, Campbell’s strong leadership and unique talent in building teams allowed him to become one of the most influential individuals in Silicon Valley, using the lessons of the gridiron to mentor Steve Jobs of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Sundar Pichai and Eric Schmidt of Google, Scott Cook and Brad Smith of Intuit, John Doerr of Kleiner-Perkins, Dick Costolo at Twitter, Diane Greene of VMWare and countless others. His contributions were recently captured in a book titled “The Trillion Dollar Coach,” and during his lifetime, he affectionally became known as the “Coach of Silicon Valley.”
Campbell joined the NFF Board in 1978 while he was still a coach at Columbia, and he continued to serve with distinction until his passing in 2016. In 2004, the NFF recognized Campbell’s contributions and accomplishments by presenting him with the NFF Gold Medal, the organization’s highest honor. In 2009, the NFF renamed college football’s premier scholar-athlete award as The William V. Campbell Trophy® in his honor.
As part of its support of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, Fidelity Investments helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes, which recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with a finalist for the Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda. The NFF presents each of the faculty athletics representatives with a plaque and Fidelity donates $5,000 for the academic support services at each school. The salutes have recognized 139 FARs since the program’s inception, and Fidelity has made a total of $690,000 (including $60,000 this year) in donations.
2020 NFF Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda Finalists Highlights
• 3.74 Average GPA
• 3 players with a perfect 4.00 GPA (Gibbens, Gray, Howerton)
• 10 captains, including 2 two-year captains (Ehlinger, Gibbens) and 1 three-year captain (Harris)
• 6 players who have already graduated (Gray, Harris, Himmelman, Kennedy-2 degrees, Molden, White-2 degrees), with 1 more on track to graduate in December (Ehlinger)
• 5 Academic All-America selections (Bradfield-2x, Gibbens, Gray, Howerton, Kaniho)
• 11 Academic All-Conference athletes (Bradfield, Ehlinger, Gibbens, Gray, Harris, Himmelman, Howerton, Kaniho, Kennedy, Molden, White)
• 2 All-America performers (Himmelman, Molden)
• 10 All-Conference selections (Bradfield, Ehlinger, Gibbens, Gray, Harris, Himmelman, Howerton, Kaniho, Molden, White)
• 4 members of conference championship teams (Kaniho-2x, Kennedy*, Molden, White)
• 5 players who become their school’s first NFF National Scholar-Athlete (Bradfield, Gibbens, Harris, Howerton, White)
• 1 Barry Goldwater Scholar (Howerton)
• 1 school record holder (Ehlinger)
• 1 player who serves as his class president (Kinley)
• 3 members of playoff teams (CFP – Kennedy-2x*; FCS – Himmelman; Division II – Bradfield)
• 1 member of a ranked team (Ehlinger)
• 6 Offensive Players (Ehlinger, Gray, Himmelman, Howerton, Kennedy, White)
• 6 Defensive Players (Bradfield, Gibbens, Harris, Kaniho, Kinley, Molden)
*Kennedy’s conference championship and playoff appearances took place while he was at Alabama.
2020 Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda Finalist Bios
(In alphabetical order – All stats as of Nov. 8, 2020)
Tyler Bradfield, LB – Grand Valley State University (MI)
3.99 GPA – Finance
Head Coach: Matt Mitchell | Athletics Director: Keri Becker
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Paul Leidig
The first back-to-back Academic All-American in Grand Valley State football history, Tyler Bradfield boasts a near perfect GPA while excelling on the field. Dubbed “the most respected player in the GVSU football program” by head coach Matt Mitchell, he deservedly becomes the Lakers’ first NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
On pace to graduate in December 2020 with a degree in finance, Bradfield earned First Team Academic All-America honors in 2019 and Second Team accolades in 2018. The Rockford, Michigan, native is a two-time First Team Academic All-District selection, a three-time GLIAC Academic All-Excellence Award recipient and an eight-time Dean’s List honoree.
A 2019 team captain and GVSU Skill Defensive Player of the Year, Bradfield earned second team all-conference honors after finishing second on the team and eighth in the GLIAC in total tackles with 81 stops. He tallied 10 or more tackles three times during his junior campaign, including a season-high 14 tackles vs. Ashland (OH).
As a sophomore, Bradfield received first team all-conference laurels and was named to the 2018 D2 Conference Commissioner’s Second Team All-Super Region 3. That season, he led the team and finished fourth in the GLIAC with 88 tackles while guiding the Lakers to the Division II Playoffs and a No. 8 final ranking. During his standout career, Bradfield has amassed 214 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
A member of the GVSU Football Leadership Group, Bradfield is active off the field and was selected to the 2020 AFCA Good Works Team. For the last four years, he has participated in a three-day service trip on the facilities of Timberwolf Young Life Camp each spring. A three-year member of the GVSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Bradfield has helped the organization raise $10,000 each year for Make-a-Wish. The standout linebacker also volunteers at all summer and winter youth football camps at GVSU, participates in numerous visits to a school for mentally disabled children and has made multiple visits to Allendale Elementary School for morning greetings and reading days.
Sam Ehlinger, QB – University of Texas
3.42 GPA – Marketing
Head Coach: Tom Herman | Athletics Director: Chris Del Conte
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Michael Clement
The only player in school history to record multiple seasons with at least 35 total touchdowns, Sam Ehlinger continues to climb the Texas record books while cementing himself among the Longhorns’ most decorated quarterbacks. The Austin native and lifelong Texas fan becomes the program’s 12th NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A student in Texas’ prestigious McCombs School of Business, Ehlinger is on track to graduate in December with a degree in marketing. The two-year team captain is a two-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 selection and a six-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
This season, Ehlinger currently tops the Big 12 and is tied for first nationally with 22 passing touchdowns, and he is second nationally with 178 points responsible for. He leads all Texas runners with 323 rushing yards, and he sits third in the conference with 1,834 passing yards. Ehlinger has guided the No. 21 Longhorns to a 5-2 record, having been named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week once and the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week twice.
Ehlinger ranks second in Longhorn history behind 2009 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Colt McCoy in career passing yards (10,704), completions (876), passing touchdowns (90) and total offensive yards (12,557). An Honorable Mention All-Big 12 performer in 2018, Ehlinger set the single-season school record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 16 while guiding the Longhorns to a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game and a No. 9 final ranking. In 2018, he became the first player in Texas history to pass for at least 25 touchdowns and rush for at least 15 touchdowns in a single season. That year he also set a Big 12 and school record with 308 consecutive passes without an interception.
Ehlinger is only the second quarterback in Texas history to throw for at least 3,000 yards in multiple seasons. He has led the Longhorns to three consecutive bowl victories, earning back-to-back Offensive MVP honors in wins over No. 11 Utah in the 2019 Alamo Bowl and No. 6 Georgia in the 2019 Sugar Bowl.
During the pandemic, Ehlinger started a GoFundMe page to raise money for COVID-19 relief, raising nearly $200,000 distributed to local Austin charities. He is heavily involved with the children’s cancer organization NEGU, setting up an event to meet patients and families. Supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement on campus, Ehlinger marched with teammates to the Texas State Capitol. He has also participated in numerous YMCA, hospital and school visits and volunteered with the Special Olympics among numerous other service activities.
Jack Gibbens, LB – Abilene Christian University
4.00 GPA – Accounting & Financial Management
Head Coach: Adam Dorrel | Athletics Director: Allen Ward
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Jonathan Stewart
A two-year captain with a perfect GPA at Abilene Christian, Jack Gibbens is the epitome of the scholar-athlete ideal. The Bulverde, Texas, native earns his spot as the Wildcats’ first NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A 2019 First Team Academic All-American, Gibbens is on pace to graduate in May 2021 with a 4.00 GPA in accounting & financial management. The First Team Academic All-District selection was named to the 2019 Southland Conference All-Academic Team and is a member of the conference commissioner’s honor roll. A six-time Dean’s List honoree, Gibbens was inducted into the Beta Sigma Gamma Academic Honor Society.
While captaining one of just a handful of FCS teams playing games this fall, Gibbens leads ACU with 42 total tackles while also recording 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one interception. He was named FCS Co-Player of the Week after a career day against Angelo State (TX) on Nov. 7 that included a career-high 14 tackles; a sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery on the same play; and an interception. The 2018 Honorable Mention All-Southland Conference performer finished second on the team in tackles in both 2019 (104) and 2018 (77).
In 2019, Gibbens helped the defense rank among the top 15 in the FCS in team sacks (3) and team tackles for loss (8.1). He was also a key cog in leading the Wildcats to their first winning season (6-5 in 2018) since moving up to the FCS. For his career, the standout linebacker boasts 251 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, six sacks and five interceptions.
Off the field, Gibbens was a financial analysis intern for Records Consultants Inc., and he served as a teaching and research assistant in the ACU College of Business Administration. He also volunteers with New Horizons, which helps children through counseling, foster care and adoption, and Palm House, which provides neighborhood resources.
Ezra Gray, RB – Alabama State University
4.00 GPA – Computer Information Systems
Head Coach: Donald Hill-Eley | Athletics Director: Jennifer Lynne Williams
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Carmela Drake
An all-conference running back who earned his degree with a perfect 4.00 GPA, Ezra Gray has taken full advantage of his time on and off the gridiron at Alabama State. The Lynn Haven, Florida, native becomes the Hornets’ second NFF National Scholar-Athlete, and the program’s first in almost 30 years.
A 2019 First Team Academic All-American, Gray graduated summa cum laude with a degree in computer information systems in May 2020. The 2019 FCS ADA Scholar-Athlete of the Year was also a First Team Academic All-District selection, an FCS ADA Academic All-Star and the Coca-Cola Scholar-Athlete of the Year at the Magic City Classic (annual rivalry game between Alabama State and Alabama A&M).
Gray has played in 31 games and was a team captain during the 2019 season. He has rushed for 1,372 yards and six touchdowns on 341 carries during his career while adding 37 receptions for 246 yards and another touchdown. Gray led the Hornets in rushing in both 2019 and 2018.
A two-time All-SWAC selection as a return specialist, Gray has returned 44 kicks for an average of 23.93 yards. He led the conference with a 24.1 kick return average on 14 returns. The SWAC plans on playing a spring football schedule beginning in February.
Active off the field, Gray has assisted with Alabama State’s campus move-in day each year. He has also served food at the Salvation Army during the holidays, and he reads to elementary school children.
Tyriq Harris, DE – University of North Carolina at Charlotte
3.68 GPA – Biology
Head Coach: Will Healy | Athletics Director: Mike Hill
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Jeffrey Leak
Working on his second bachelor’s degree, “Mr. 49er” Tyriq Harris is a shining example of what you can achieve through college football. The Roanoke, Virginia, native makes history as Charlotte’s first NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
After graduating cum laude with a biology degree in 2019, Harris is currently working toward second bachelor’s degree in business. The 2018-19 Conference USA Scholar-Athlete of the Year was an Academic All-District selection and two-time C-USA All-Academic Team honoree. Harris is a five-time conference honor roll member, a four-time chancellor’s list honoree and a three-time selection to the dean’s and athletics director’s lists.
After missing the entire 2019 season with an injury, Harris has returned to action this fall and is serving as a team captain for the third year in a row. So far in 2020, the four-year starter has recorded 15 tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack.
The 2018 Honorable Mention All-Conference USA performer led the 49ers with 24 consecutive starts prior to his injury. A member of the conference all-freshman team in 2016, Harris was a member of Charlotte’s 2019 Bahamas Bowl squad, which marked the program’s first postseason appearance. The standout defensive end currently ranks in the top 10 of many Charlotte defensive categories, including seventh in career tackles (164), fifth in career tackles for loss (15) and tied for fourth in career sacks (7).
Harris received the “Mr. 49er” moniker for his involvement in Charlotte’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) the last three years, and he currently serves as operations manager for the organization. He has twice attended the APPLE training conference to combat drug and alcohol abuse on campuses. Harris’ vast volunteer history includes activities with Elevation EKidz, YMCA Miracle League, Tim Tebow Night to Shine, Dance Marathon, Weddington Hills Field Day, Kings Kitchen, Healthy Kids Day, Project 658 and numerous blood and food drives in the community.
Drew Himmelman, OT – Illinois State University
3.82 GPA – Exercise Science
Head Coach: Brock Spack | Athletics Director: Larry Lyons
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Jeri Beggs
A First Team All-American who has already graduated, Drew Himmelman’s résumé at Illinois State places him among the best and brightest in the nation. The Geneseo, Illinois, native becomes the Redbirds’ fourth NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
After graduating in May 2019 with a 3.82 GPA in exercise science, Himmelman currently boasts a 4.00 GPA as a graduate student in kinesiology. The 2019 FCS ADA Academic All-Star is a two-time Academic All-MVFC selection, earning first team honors last season and second team accolades in 2018. Himmelman is a two-time MVFC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award recipient and a one-time MVFC President’s Council Academic Excellence Award winner. A recipient of the James R. Tague Endowed Scholarship, he is a three-time MVFC Honor Roll member.
A 2019 First Team All-American, Himmelman graded out at over 90 percent last season while helping All-American James Robinson record a conference-leading 1,899 rushing yards. The anchor of an offensive unit that averaged 345.8 yards per game of total offense in 2019, he helped lead Illinois State to the FCS Quarterfinals and a No. 7 final ranking. The game captain and three-year starter is a two-time All-MVFC performer, earning first team honors in 2019 and second team recognition in 2018.
In 2018, Himmelman was named a First Team Sophomore All-American after helping the Redbirds rank second in the MVFC with 241.5 rushing yards per game and fourth in total offense (418.1 ypg). In 2017, he was selected to the Freshman All-America Team and the MVFC All-Freshman Team. Himmelman has started every game in which he has played. The MVFC plans on playing a spring football schedule beginning in February.
A leader in the community, Himmelman has volunteered his time with ISU Women’s Football Camp, Special Olympics of Illinois, 100 Caring Adults (welcoming students back to school), Reading Day at Calvary Christian School, Cedar Ridge Reading Night, Red Ribbon Week (guest speaker), BJHS Lunch, Benjamin Elementary Fridays, First Star and the Weisbecker Scholarship Fund 110% Donor Dinner.
Tyler Howerton, OL – Hampden-Sydney College (VA)
4.00 GPA – Physics
Head Coach: Marty Favret | Athletics Director: Chad Eisele
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Saranna Thornton
A 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholar with a perfect 4.00 GPA, Tyler Howerton has started every game of his illustrious Hampden-Sydney career. The Alexandria, Virginia, native takes his rightful place as the Tigers’ first NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A 2019 First Team Academic All-American, Howerton is the first Hampden-Sydney physics major to be named a Goldwater Scholar, the nation’s most prestigious scholarship in natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. The Academic All-District selection and three-time academic all-conference honoree was the recipient of the Samuel S. Jones Phi Betta Kappa Award (H-SC junior with highest GPA) and the Sophomore Academic Excellence Award. A three-time recipient of the Howell L. Gruver Award as the football player with the highest GPA, Howerton is a member of the Dean’s List and has been named to multiple honor societies. He also received the President’s Award for Overall Academic Excellence, which is given to the senior at Hampden-Sydney with the highest GPA in his class.
The 2020 team captain has started every game of his college career on the Tigers’ offensive line. A 2017 Third Team All-ODAC performer, Howerton has helped Hampden-Sydney’s offense average 76.8 rushing yards per game and 310.2 passing yards per game over the last three seasons. He holds the football program’s all-time squat record (700 lbs.) and boasts the program’s second-highest bench press (450 lbs.) in team annals.
A member of the Hampden-Sydney Football Leadership Council, Howerton has served the Tiger Athletic Club as treasurer, vice president and president. A Student-Athlete Mentor (SAM) at Hamden-Sydney for three semesters, he will spend his senior year as a member of the SAM’s Leadership Group while also mentoring an elementary school student. During the 2020-21 school year, Howerton is serving on the Appeals Committee at Hampden-Sydney, which is responsible for reviewing Honor Court and Code of Conduct cases appealed by students.
He also partnered with United Methodist Family Services and raised money to purchase Christmas gifts for underprivileged children in the Farmville, Virginia, area. The vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa, Howerton is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society and the Alpha Chi Sigma chemistry fraternity, spending two semesters as its treasurer. A campus tour guide for football team recruiting events, he has also volunteered with the Special Olympics, FACES Food Pantry and various cleanup events.
Kekaula Kaniho, DB – Boise State University
3.94 GPA – Health Science
Head Coach: Bryan Harsin | Athletics Director: Bob Carney
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Roger Munger
An Academic All-American with an impressive GPA, Kekaula Kaniho has led Boise State to two conference titles during his time playing on “The Blue.” The Kahuku, Hawai’i, native becomes the Broncos’ second NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
Boasting a remarkable 3.94 GPA as a health science major, Kaniho is on pace to graduate in May 2021. The 2019 Second Team Academic All-American was also a First Team Academic All-District selection. Kaniho is a three-time Academic All-Mountain West honoree and a three-time Mountain West Scholar-Athlete Award recipient.
Kaniho has 10 tackles in the Broncos’ three games this season, including one for loss, while leading team to a 2-1 record. The 2019 First Team All-Mountain West performer helped Boise State win the 2017 and 2019 conference titles. Kaniho has led the Broncos to three consecutive bowl berths, including a win over Oregon in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl. Boise State has finished with a Top 25 national ranking in all three seasons of his career – No. 23 in 2019, No. 23 in 2018 and No. 22 in 2017.
As a junior, Kaniho finished third on the team in tackles-for-loss (11.0) and fourth in tackles (61). The previous season, he led the team with three interceptions. In his career to date, Kaniho boasts 143 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and five interceptions.
A standout in the community, Kaniho visits local elementary schools and talks to students about healthy lifestyles and good sportsmanship. He also participates in the “Broncos vs. Bullying” anti-bullying campaign.
Brandon Kennedy, OL – University of Tennessee
3.55 GPA – Sport Management
Head Coach: Jeremy Pruitt | Athletics Director: Phillip Fulmer
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Donald Bruce
Currently working on his second master’s degree, Brandon Kennedy has been called “the mastermind of the offense” by his Tennessee teammates. The Wetumpka, Alabama, native is the Volunteers’ seventh NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A grad transfer, Kennedy earned his bachelor’s degree in recreation and sport management from the University of Alabama in just three years. After earning a master’s degree from Tennessee in sports psychology and motor behavior in December of 2019, he is currently working on a second master’s degree in agricultural leadership, education and communications. The 2019 Academic All-District selection and two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member has maintained a 3.86 cumulative GPA during his postgraduate studies at Tennessee.
Kennedy has started at center in every game this season, giving him a total of 19 consecutive starts for the Vols. In 2019, he led Tennessee to an 8-5 record and a win in the Gator Bowl, the program’s first postseason berth and victory since 2016. Kennedy was part of an offensive unit last season that allowed only 21 sacks last season while paving the way for an offense that averaged 145 rushing yards per game.
While playing at Alabama, Kennedy helped the Crimson Tide to the 2016 SEC title and consecutive appearances in the College Football Playoff National Championship, winning the championship following the 2017 season.
An example off the field, Kennedy has volunteered for the Humane Society and the Special Olympics Winter Games. An annual participant in Read Across America events, he has also volunteered for the Make a Difference Foundation.
Cameron Kinley, CB – United States Naval Academy
3.32 GPA – Political Science
Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo | Athletics Director: Chet Gladchuk
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Christine Copper
The President for the Naval Academy’s Class of 2021, Cameron Kinley has put together a remarkable career while facing the rigors of balancing academics and athletics while attending a service academy. He becomes Navy’s 10th NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A political science major with aspirations to hold a higher office one day, Kinley is a three-time member of the Commandant’s List and a two-time Dean’s List selection.
A 2020 team captain, Kinley has recorded 25 tackles and one interception this season. In 2019, he helped Navy to an 11-2 record, the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy and a share of the American Athletic Conference West Division title. The Midshipmen finished 2019 with a No. 20 national ranking, just the second time in the last 56 years that Navy finished in the AP Top 20. Kinley has also led Navy to victories in the 2019 Liberty Bowl and 2017 Military Bowl.
As President of the Class of 2021, Kinley is the first Navy football player to hold the distinction since at least 1991. As president, he serves as the liaison between the senior class and the Naval Academy leadership, including the superintendent and commandant of midshipmen. Kinley also must organize several events and ceremonies, and he will speak at the Class of 2021 graduation in May.
In addition to his leadership responsibilities as class president and team captain, Kinley is a member of the Midshipmen Black Studies Club, the Midshipmen Diversity Team and the Navy Football Players Council for Racial Equality. He has volunteered for the Bay Bridge swim event, We Feed our People, Maryland Special Olympics, Stanton Center, Thanksgiving food drives, Anne Arundel Food Bank and toy drives. Kinley also works with kids through the Newtowne Outreach programs, and he participates in feeding the homeless through the Distant Relatives initiative.
Elijah Molden, DB – University of Washington
3.56 GPA – Communications
Head Coach: Jimmy Lake | Athletics Director: Jennifer Cohen
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Alexes Harris
An All-America defensive back who led Washington in tackles last season, Elijah Molden notched equal success in the classroom by having already earned his degree. The West Linn, Oregon, native becomes the Huskies’ 10th NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A 2019 Academic All-District selection, Molden graduated in May 2020 with a degree in communications. The 2018 First Team Academic All-Pac-12 honoree and 2019 Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll member received the 2019 UW Husky and 101 Club Academic awards.
A team captain in 2020, Molden and the Huskies will play their first game of the season on Nov. 14 against Oregon State.
A two-time All-Pac-12 performer, Molden earned First Team honors in 2019 and Second Team accolades in 2018. A 2019 Pro Football Focus Second Team All-American, he led Washington with 79 tackles, four interceptions and 12 pass breakups last season. Molden was named the MVP of last season’s Las Vegas Bowl after totaling nine tackles, a half tackle for loss, a forced fumble and an interception in the win over Boise State.
As a sophomore in 2018, Molden was named the Huskies’ Most Outstanding Special Teams Player after helping guide Washington to the Pac-12 title. He led the team to two New Year’s Six game berths in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl and the 2019 Rose Bowl, and helped the Huskies finish in the top 16 in the final rankings in both 2017 (No. 16) and 2018 (No. 13). Molden currently ranks eighth all-time a UW with 23 passes broken up in his career.
Brady White, QB – University of Memphis
3.58 GPA – Business
Head Coach: Ryan Silverfield | Athletics Director: Laird Veatch
Faculty Athletics Representative: Lynda Black
The epitome of success on and off the field, Brady White is currently pursuing a doctorate degree while ranking in the top five in most passing categories in Memphis history. The Santa Clarita, California, native’s record makes him the ideal selection as the Tigers’ first NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
A grad transfer, White graduated cum laude with a degree in business from Arizona State in 3.5 years. After completing his master’s in sports administration at Memphis in just over a year, he is currently pursuing a doctorate in humanities. A 2019 First Team Academic All-District selection, White is a two-time American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team honoree and a member of Memphis’ Tiger 3.0 Club and the Dean’s List. While at Arizona State, he was a First Team Academic All-Pac-12 selection.
This season, White currently ranks second in the American and sixth nationally with 354.7 passing yards per game. The game captain also leads the conference and is tied for first nationally with 22 passing touchdowns while sitting second in the American and tied for sixth nationally with 364.5 yards of total offense per game. Following the largest comeback victory in Memphis history (a 50-49 win against UCF), White was named the Walter Camp and Maxwell Award National Player of the Week and the conference offensive player of the week. In the game, he set a Memphis record with 486 passing yards and tied a school and conference mark with seven total touchdowns. White was also named conference offensive player of the week two other times this year.
A 2019 Second Team All-AAC performer, White was a finalist for the Manning Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He guided Memphis to a 12-2 season and a No. 17 final ranking in 2019, which saw the program’s first outright American Athletic Conference title and its first New Year’s Six Bowl berth in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. White led the American with 4,014 passing yards (fourth nationally) and 33 passing TDs (t-sixth nationally) last season. His passing yards in 2019 were the second-most in school single-season history, making him just the second Memphis quarterback to ever record a 4,000-yard passing season. On the Memphis career charts, White currently sits first in wins (24), tied for first in passing touchdowns (81), second in passing yards (9,438) and third in completions (670).
Active off the field, White completed 35 hours of community service in 2019 alone. He has visited LeBonheur Children’s and St. Jude Children’s hospitals, volunteered with the Jessie Reed Foundation by distributing Joy Jars to hospitalized kids and participated in the Tiger Blue Holiday event at Gardenview Elementary. He continued to give back during the pandemic, reading a book to a local school system via Facebook Live.