DALLAS – Gallaudet University senior defensive back Nicholas Elstad (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was selected as one of the best and brightest from the college gridiron as announced by The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Elstad is one of 170 candidates honored from the Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. Elstad is in the company of other great players from top college programs such as quarterback Aaron Murray of the 6th ranked Georgia Bulldogs and placekicker Cade Foster of the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. From the pool of 170 candidates the NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients to be named to the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments. The 170 nominees also comprise the list of semifinalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.
"This is a great honor for Nicholas and for Gallaudet University. He has been a leader amongst his peers and has done everything we have asked of him on offense, defense and special teams and done it at a high level," said Gallaudet head football coach Chuck Goldstein. "Nicholas has worked hard to succeed in the classroom and on the field and he definitely deserves this honor."
Elstad, a senior co-captain, is a four-year letterwinner in football at Gallaudet. He was named to the ECFC All-Academic Team in 2011 and has made Gallaudet's Dean's List five of the six semesters he has been here. Last season, Elstad was named to the 2012 All-ECFC Honorable Mention Offense. On the field, Elstad has started 23 games and seen action in 32 games as a Bison. He has been a very versatile player, as he has played running back, quarterback and now defensive back while also returning kicks and holding on field goal and point after attempts. Elstad, a Business Administration major, is slated to graduate May 2014.
"We take great pride in the record participation by the number of schools in the NFF National Scholar-Athletie Awards program this year," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (William V. Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "It is important for us to showcase that success on the football fields starts with winners in the classroom and the community. This year's record-breaking number of nominations further illustrates the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders."
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 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.
"The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools on this tremendous honor," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist's achievements, which show that football players can balance between academics and athletics at the highest level. There is no question that the NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from among this esteemed group."
The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, Oct. 31. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 10 during the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy.
Previous winners of the Campbell Trophy include Florida's Danny Wuerffel (1996), Tennessee's Peyton Manning (1997), Marshall's Chad Pennington (1999), Ohio State's Craig Krenzel (2003) and most recently Florida's Tim Tebow (2009) and Alabama's Barrett Jones (2012) to name a few of the college football standouts that have received this prestigious award since 1990.
Elstad is one of 39 nominees selected from Division III, which has the largest pool of teams (239) to choose from, and he is the only nominee that hails from the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Gallaudet is the only football program from D.C. represented among the 170 candidates.
Gallaudet has only had three other NFF Scholar-Athlete honorees over the years. The first came in 1992 when Jeffrey Kurz was bestowed the great honor, the second came two years ago when Caleb Hinton's academic and athletics prowess was recognized and most recently last year Denton Mallas was recognized for his athletic, academic and leadership abilities.
About NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, was established in 1959 as the first initiative in history to honor scholar-athletes with post-graduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities.
About the NFF & College Football 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, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.
2013 NFF NATIONAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CANDIDATE NOTES
- 170 nominations, record number since minimum GPA increased in 2006
- 3.60 Average GPA
- 7 nominees with a perfect 4.0 GPA
- 39 nominees with a 3.8 GPA or better
- 105 Team captains
- 97 All-Conference Picks
- 29 Academic All-America Selections
- 21 All-America Selections
- 1 former NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete
- 54 Nominees from the Football Bowl Subdivision
- 46 Nominees from the Football Championship Subdivision
- 24 Nominees from the Division II
- 39 Nominees from the Division III
- 7 Nominees from the NAIA
- 86 Offensive Players
- 64 Defensive Players
- 20 Special Teams Players