West Virginia University senior linebacker Reed Williams has been named to the 2009 National Scholar-Athlete class and will vie as a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, as announced today by The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame.
Selected as the best and the brightest from the college gridiron, from a nationwide pool of 154 semifinalists among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, Williams joins the 15 other members of the 2009 class, which are: Jon Asamoah (Illinois), Matt Bauman (Brigham Young University), Eric Decker (Minnesota), Moses Harris (Fresno State), Tim Hiller (Western Michigan), Paul Jasinowski (Brown), Beau Kildow [Morningside College (Iowa)], Josh Mahoney (Northern Iowa), Colt McCoy (Texas), Jarrell NeSmith [Tusculum College (Tenn.)], Joe Pawelek (Baylor), Todd Reesing (Kansas), ZaVious Robbins [Hardin-Simmons University (Texas)], Tim Tebow (Florida) and Blaine Westemeyer [Augustana College (Ill.)].
“There is no doubt that this year’s class of NFF National Scholar-Athletes is one of the greatest of all time,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “Mediocrity is not in their lexicon in any aspect of their lives. They have exhibited the same drive to compete in the classroom that distinguished them on the field, and they have found the time to be leaders in their communities too. We will be very excited and proud to name one of these extraordinary young men the recipient of the 20th Anniversary William V. Campbell Trophy on Dec. 8.”
“The 2009 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class boasts the highest average GPA in the history of our awards,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “They are truly the best of the best among all college sports and the epitome of our mission to build leaders through football. Bob Mulcahy and the NFF Awards Committee should be credited for the research, time and commitment it took to select this outstanding group.”
Williams, a Moorefield, W.Va., native, becomes the sixth Mountaineer to earn the honor and joins a list that includes Oliver Luck (1981), Jeff Hostetler (1983), Eric de Groh (1998), Jeff Berk (2004) and Jay Henry(2006).
Williams is the force within the Mountaineer defense, having played in 45 career games and recorded 93 unassisted tackles, 217 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles and two interceptions. Additionally, he maintains a 3.86 grade-point average (GPA) while pursing a second degree in marketing after already earning a finance degree.
Though forced to medically redshirt the 2008, Williams has bounced back with a strong showing in his final WVU season, and through six games has totaled 32 tackles, six pass breakups, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble.
A member of four-consecutive bowl-winning teams, Williams had a breakout performance in the Mountaineers’ 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win, earning the game’s defensive MVP honors and CollegeFootbalNews.com’s All-Bowl Team accolades. He has twice been named the “Ideal Mountaineer Man” by his teammates and the coaching staff.
Off the field, Williams, an eight-time member of the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, was named a 2007 Academic All-American. He is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key National Honor Society, and has frequented both the WVU Dean’s List and the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team. He has also been chosen a member of the Huntington Bank Junior Board of Directors and volunteers with both the Boys and Girls Club and the Special Olympics.
The NFF’s National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in the history to award scholar-athletes post graduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. This year’s class members find themselves in good company, as former National Scholar-Athletes include NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker (Oregon State), Gary Beban (UCLA), Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Danny Wuerffel (Florida).
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Selected by the NFF Awards Committee, the 16 National Scholar-Athlete Award recipients will be honored at the 2009 NFF Annual Awards Dinner December 8 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The event will also include the induction of the 2009 College Football Hall of Fame and the presentation of several major awards.
Each finalist will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and one of the 16 will be announced as the recipient of the 20th Anniversary William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth (and formerly known as the Draddy Trophy), which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. Renamed this 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, the award comes with a 25 pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
ABOUT HEALTHSOUTH: HealthSouth is the nation’s largest provider of inpatient rehabilitation services. Operating in 26 states across the country and in Puerto Rico, HealthSouth serves more than 250,000 patients annually through its network of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation satellites and home health agencies. HealthSouth strives to be the health care company of choice for its patients, employees, physicians and shareholders and can be found on the Web at www.healthsouth.com
ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE HALL OF FAME: Founded in 1947 with leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, Play It Smart, the NFF-FWAA Football Forum, the NFF Gridiron Clubs of New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF awards the MacArthur Trophy, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.