This release is courtesy of Maine Maritime Academy Sports Information and Springfield College Sports Information.
IRVING, Texas - Recognizing one of the most impressive groups of scholar-athletes in the history of college football, the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) has proudly announced that two New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) football student-athletes were among the 179 semifinalists named for the 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy. Maine Maritime Academy's senior defenseman John Bennett and Springfield College's senior defensive end Nick Giorgio were among the 41 student-athletes named from Division III and two of five from New England. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Fidelity Investments is a proud partner of the Campbell Trophy®.
Bennett, a Marine Engineering Technology major from Chelsea, Maine, was named a team captain this season and was named to the NEWMAC Second-Team Defense in 2017. Last fall, Bennett was named to the ECAC President's Honor Roll.
On the field, Bennett has appeared in all 30 games during his time with the Mariners, totaling 171 career tackles, including four tackles for a loss, a fumble recovery, seven interceptions returned for a total of 112 yards and 12 broken up passes. The senior has also been versatile on special teams, returning 36 kicks for 597 yards and 12 punts for 66 yards.
Giorgio, a Marketing major with a 3.526 grade point average, entered his senior season as the 2018 Lindys' Division III Preseason National Defensive Player of the Year. During his time on the gridiron, Giorgio has been named the 2017 NEWMAC Defensive Athlete of the Year, and has been selected to the AFCA All-America Second Team, NEFW All-New England First Team, D3football.com All-East Region First Team, ECAC All-Region First Team, NEWMAC All-Conference First Team, and the Liberty League First Team.
On the field last season, Giorgio ranked second in Division III in tackles-for-loss per game (2.4) and was a catalyst for Springfield ranking fifth in total defense (233.8 ypg) and sixth in the nation in scoring defense (12.0 ppg). In his career, Giorgio has 165 tackles, including a program-record 46.5 tackles-for-loss.
In the community, Giorgio has been actively involved with Team IMPACT and the Pride's relationship with cancer-survivor and teammate Luke Bradley, as well as participating in St. Baldrick's Pediatric Cancer Awareness events, a Be the Match donor and bone marrow drive leader, and an Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk participant.
The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 31, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 60th NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4, 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 29th William V. Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
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.
"These 179 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "For 60 years, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program has showcased more than 800 college football players who have been successful 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. This year's postgraduate scholarships will push the program's all-time distribution to more than $11.5 million.