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Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell Claims NFF's 27th William V. Campbell Trophy, Presented by Fidelity Investments
Standout quarterback becomes first Bronco to win college football's premier scholar-athlete award, receives $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Published: 12/6/2016 8:33:00 PM

NEW YORK (Dec. 6, 2016) – Western Michigan University quarterback Zach Terrell has been named the 27th recipient of The William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently displayed at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club, at the 59th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York City tonight.

“Zach Terrell’s exceptional accomplishments 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 NFF’s mission of Building Leaders Through Football, 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 is 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 comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship. A total of $223,000 was awarded tonight to Terrell and the 11 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.

“Zach and his fellow members of the 2016 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.”

Described by head coach P.J. Fleck as “the best young man I’ve ever been around,” Terrell graduated cum laude in 3.5 years while leading one of the MAC’s best offenses.

A three-year captain, Terrell currently maintains a 4.0 GPA in pursuit of his MBA after graduating with a 3.66 GPA in finance last December. A 2016 First Team Academic All-America and Academic All-District selection, he is a two-time Academic All-MAC honoree and MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native was the 2015 recipient of the John Gill Scholar-Athlete Award, and he is a six-time member of the Dean’s List. Terrell was named the recipient of the MAC’s 2016 Vern Smith Leadership Award.

In 2016, Terrell has led the Broncos to the best season offensively speaking in program history, scoring a record 567 points. Quarterbacking the MAC’s No. 1 scoring offense (43.5 points per game), which is currently eighth in the FBS, Terrell has guided Western Michigan to an undefeated regular season, the 2016 MAC title and its first-ever ranking in the AP Poll. The Broncos will play in their third consecutive bowl game on Jan. 2, 2017, when they take on Wisconsin in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. A semifinalist for the 2016 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, his 32 touchdown passes are 10th in the FBS and he is second in the MAC in passing efficiency (180.6).

A finalist for the 2016 Manning Award, Terrell has twice been named the MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week and a MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week in 2016. He had a personal best 445 passing yards against Buffalo, the fifth most in a single game in Bronco history.

The three-time All-MAC quarterback earned Second Team honors in 2016 and 2014 and Third Team laurels in 2015. Western Michigan’s all-time leader in career passing yards (11,947) and completion percentage, Terrell led the Broncos to their first bowl victory in school history at the 2015 Bahamas Bowl. Boasting the top two single-season completion percentages in Western Michigan history, he ranks second in school annals for passing touchdowns (95) and completions (892).

His career passing yards rank third in MAC history while his career passing touchdowns are fourth, and his career passing touchdowns are the most among all active quarterbacks in the country. As a junior, Terrell was seventh in the FBS and second in the MAC in quarterback efficiency, and he led the MAC in completion percentage as a sophomore.

A stalwart in the community, Terrell was named to the 2016 AFCA Good Works Team and was a semifinalist for the Wuerffel Trophy. He has received multiple awards for his service, including the 2014-15 WMU Community Service Award, 2014 Idaho Potato Bowl Humanitarian Award and 2014 WMU Coxswain Spring Leadership Award. Terrell led a mission trip to the Dominican Republic; serves as a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; and mentors students at Tree of Life.

A Special Olympics volunteer, he has volunteered for MLK day of service; visited kids at Bronson Children’s Hospital; and participated in the Project Incentive Christmas program. Terrell has also served food at shelters; volunteered at football camps; and donated his time as a guest speaker for various organizations.

Following tonight’s Annual Awards Dinner, Terrell will receive several additional honors. On Wednesday, the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) will host a luncheon in his honor at the organization’s Hall of Fame Room. 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 by Tom Rinaldi during the show. Finally, he will be honored on the field during the College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 9.

Terrell becomes Western Michigan’s first Campbell Trophy winner and the school’s second NFF National Scholar-Athlete, joining Tim Hiller (2009). He is the first recipient from a team currently in the MAC (Chad Pennington won the Campbell Trophy in 1999 when Marshall was a member of the MAC).

Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post graduate scholarships based on a player’s combined academic, athletic and community accomplishments, and the program has awarded $11.1 million to 828 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.

The 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)

·                        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 - Corporate Executive)

·                        Rudy Niswanger (LSU, 2005 - Corporate Executive)

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

·                        Dallas Griffin (Texas, 2007 - Corporate Executive)

·                        Alex Mack (California, 2008 - NFL Player)

·                        Tim Tebow (Florida, 2009 - Non-Profit Chairman and TV Broadcaster)

·                        Sam Acho (Texas, 2010 - NFL Player)

·                        Andrew Rodriguez (Army, 2011 - Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army)

·                        Barrett Jones (Alabama, 2012 - Retired NFL Player)

·                        John Urschel (Penn State, 2013 - NFL Player and Ph.D. candidate)

·                        David Helton (Duke, 2014 - Financial Analyst)

·                        Ty Darlington (Oklahoma, 2015 - Fellow and TV Broadcaster)

The 2016 NFF Campbell Trophy Finalists 
Presented by Fidelity Investments






Chris Beaschler




Mechanical Engineering

Tim Crawley


San Jose State


Business Management

DeVon Edwards





Brooks Ellis




Exercise Science

Carter Hanson


Saint John’s (Minn.)


Business Leadership

Taysom Hill





Ryan Janvion


Wake Forest


Business Management

Zay Jones


East Carolina



Cooper Rush


Central Michigan


Actuarial Science

Karter Schult


Northern Iowa


Exercise Science

Tyler Sullivan


Delta State (Miss.)



Zach Terrell


Western Michigan



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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, 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, Hofmann Brands, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at

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The William V. Campbell Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast 678 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit to learn more about our story.

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