National Football Foundation

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Virginia’s Micah Kiser Claims NFF's 28th William V. Campbell Trophy®, Presented by Fidelity Investments
All-America linebacker becomes second Cavalier to win college football's premier scholar-athlete award, receives $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Published: 12/5/2017 9:00:00 PM

NEW YORK (Dec. 5, 2017) – University of Virginia linebacker Micah Kiser has been named the 28th recipient of The William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments, at the 60th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York City tonight.

“Micah Kiser’s exceptional accomplishments on and off the field rank him among the best student-athletes in the history of our sport, making him the ideal Campbell Trophy® recipient,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “He truly embodies the scholar-athlete ideal and we are proud to have him as a member of this elite fraternity. He stands as the perfect example for the next generation to emulate.”

The Campbell Trophy® ranks as one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The award, which is prominently displayed at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club, comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship. A total of $241,000 was awarded tonight to Kiser and the 12 other members of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments, who comprised the list of Campbell Trophy® finalists. Each member of the class claimed an $18,000 scholarship for their postgraduate educations.

“Micah and his fellow members of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class represent more than just the standout athletic ability seen on the field,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons, Peyton (Campbell Trophy® winner) and Eli, were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “Their academic achievements and their contributions as leaders in the community send a powerful message about the young men who play our sport. They have taken full advantage of the educational opportunities created by college football, and they have created a compelling legacy for others to follow.”

Kiser personifies the student-athlete ideal, having already earned his degree while claiming All-America accolades as one of the top defensive players in the nation.

A 2016 Second Team Academic All-American, Kiser graduated with a bachelor’s degree in foreign affairs in May 2017 while boasting a 3.42 GPA. The two-time First Team Academic All-District selection currently maintains a 4.0 GPA while working toward his master’s in higher education. A Baltimore native, Kiser is a two-time Academic All-ACC selection and a three-time ACC Academic Honor Roll member.

A semifinalist for the 2017 Butkus Award, Kiser has racked up an impressive 134 tackles during the regular season, which leads the ACC and is tied for fourth in the nation. His 11.2 tackles per game average leads the ACC for the third consecutive year and is tied for fifth in the FBS. He also has four pass breakups and is second on the Cavaliers with five sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. Kiser’s two fumble recoveries this season are tied for second in the ACC, and he was named a finalist for the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Earlier this season, Kiser was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week and ACC Linebacker of the Week after his game against Connecticut when he recorded 15 tackles, two sacks and recovered one fumble at Virginia’s own goal line.

Kiser was again named the ACC Linebacker of the Week and Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week after helping the Cavaliers rally to beat Georgia Tech, 40-36, on Nov. 4. His 18 tackles against Georgia Tech and his 19 against Virginia Tech (a career best) are the two highest single-game totals in the ACC this season.

Kiser has played an integral role in Virginia becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2011, and the Cavaliers will play Navy in the 2017 Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman on Dec. 28 at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. He also accepted an invitation to play in the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl, which is scheduled for Jan. 27 in Mobile, Ala., and will air on the NFL Network.

A Second Team All-American as a junior, Kiser is a three-time First Team All-ACC linebacker (2015, 2016, 2017). Only the sixth player since 1976 to lead the ACC in tackles per game in consecutive seasons, he recorded 9.8 as a sophomore and 11.2 as a junior, which ranked fourth in the nation.

A two-year team captain, Kiser currently ranks fifth all-time at Virginia with 400 career tackles, reaching double-digits in 20 of his 36 starts. His 385 tackles since the start of the 2015 season are the most in the nation during that span. The two-time Touchdown Club of Richmond Linebacker of the Year also ranks 10th all-time in Cavaliers history with 19 career sacks and is 11th with 32.5 career tackles for loss.

Kiser has had a profound impact on the community during his time at Virginia. Following the riots in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this year, he was solely responsible for uniting the football team and initiating the idea of taking a group photo with all the players locked arm-in-arm.

When asked about it, Kiser said, “I always say if the world was like a football team, we would be better off. A collection of people from all over the country from different backgrounds…if we can show what we can do together, then that’s a beacon of light for the community and an example for other people to follow.”

His other activities include volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, mentoring elementary school students and visiting sick children at area hospitals.

Following tonight’s Annual Awards Dinner, Kiser will be recognized as the Campbell Trophy® winner at several prestigious events. On Wednesday, the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) will host a luncheon in his honor. From there, he will head directly to Atlanta for ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards at the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday, where he will be interviewed live during the show. Finally, he will be return to Atlanta to be honored on the field during the College Football Playoff National Championship at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Jan. 8.

Kiser becomes Virginia’s second Campbell Trophy® winner, joining former Cavaliers linebacker Thomas Burns, who claimed the award in 1993. Kiser is the school’s fifth NFF National Scholar-Athlete, joining Gary Cuozzo (1962), Burns (1993), Tiki Barber (1996) and Stephen Phelan Jr. (1997). He becomes the fourth Campbell Trophy® recipient from a team currently in the ACC, joining Burns, Joaquin Gonzalez (Miami [Fla.] - 2001) and David Helton (Duke - 2014).

Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program became the first initiative in history to award postgraduate scholarships based on a player’s combined academic, athletic and community accomplishments, and the program has awarded $11.3 million to 841 top athletes since its inception. 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 or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

The centerpiece to the NFF's scholar-athlete program, The William V. Campbell Trophy® was first awarded in 1990. It is named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal. In 2011, Fidelity Investments became the first presenting sponsor of the organization’s prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program, and it became the presenting sponsor of the Campbell Trophy® at the start of the 2014 season.

Past Recipients of The William V. Campbell Trophy

·                               Chris Howard (Air Force, 1990 - College President)

·                               Brad Culpepper (Florida, 1991 - Attorney)

·                               Jim Hansen (Colorado, 1992 - Leader in Climatology Research)

·                               Thomas Burns (Virginia, 1993 - Engineering Executive)

·                               Robert Zatechka (Nebraska, 1994 - Physician)

·                               Bobby Hoying (Ohio State, 1995 - Real Estate Executive)

·                               Danny Wuerffel (Florida, 1996 – Non-Profit Executive Director)

·                               Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997 - Retired NFL Player & Philanthropist)

·                               Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1998 - Insurance Executive and TV Broadcaster)

·                               Chad Pennington (Marshall, 1999 - Non-Profit President)

·                               Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska, 2000 - Retired NFL Player)

·                               Joaquin Gonzalez (Miami [Fla.], 2001 - Corporate Executive)

·                               Brandon Roberts (Washington University in St. Louis [Mo.], 2002 - Physician)

·                               Craig Krenzel (Ohio State, 2003 - Insurance Executive)

·                               Michael Munoz (Tennessee, 2004 - Executive)

·                               Rudy Niswanger (LSU, 2005 - Corporate Executive)

·                               Brian Leonard (Rutgers, 2006 - Retired NFL Player & Philanthropist)

·                               Dallas Griffin (Texas, 2007 - Corporate Executive)

·                               Alex Mack (California, 2008 - NFL Player)

·                               Tim Tebow (Florida, 2009 - Non-Profit Chairman, TV Broadcaster & Baseball Player)

·                               Sam Acho (Texas, 2010 - NFL Player)

·                               Andrew Rodriguez (Army, 2011 - Assistant Brigade Planner)

·                               Barrett Jones (Alabama, 2012 - Broadcaster)

·                               John Urschel (Penn State, 2013 - Ph.D. Candidate)

·                               David Helton (Duke, 2014 - Financial Analyst)

·                               Ty Darlington (Oklahoma, 2015 - College Football Assistant Coach)

·                               Zach Terrell (Western Michigan, 2016 - Executive Development Associate)

The 2017 NFF Campbell Trophy® Finalists 
Presented by Fidelity Investments






Sam Benger


Carnegie Mellon (Pa.)


Business Administration

Braxton Berrios


Miami (Fla.)


Finance & Entrepreneurship

Mason Hampton


Boise State



Justin Jackson





Micah Kiser




Foreign Affairs

Justin Lea


Jacksonville State


Emergency MGMT & Geography

Brad Lundblade


Oklahoma State



Marcus Martin


Slippery Rock (Pa.)


Safety Management

Chandon Sullivan


Georgia State



Blaise Taylor


Arkansas State


Business Administration

Marlon Walls


Stephen F. Austin


Engineering Physics

Chris Weber




Nutrition Science

Jake Wieneke


South Dakota State


Physical/Teacher Education

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About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include Football Matters®, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at

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