IRVING, Texas - Gallaudet University senior linebacker Sean Fenton (Chicago, Ill.) was selected as one the best and brightest from the college gridiron as announced by The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame. Fenton is one of 156 semifinalists honored from the Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. Fenton joins the company of other great players from top college programs such as University of Michigan tight end Michael Jocz and The Ohio State University linebacker Joe Burger.
Fenton is a four-year letterwinner in football at Gallaudet, the world's only university with programs and services specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. He was named to the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) All-Academic team the past two seasons (2014, '15) and has made the Dean's List four times since he has been here. He received the NFF National Capital Region college scholarhsip last April. Fenton was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America All-District Football First Team for Division III - District 2 last year. He is also a representative on the GU Student-Athletes Advisory Committee (SAAC). Fenton, a information technology major, is slated to graduate in May 2017.
"This is an incredible honor for Sean and for Gallaudet University. He has been a leader in the community and has done everything we have asked of him on defense and he has done it at a high level," said Gallaudet head football coach Chuck Goldstein. "Sean definitely deserves this honor and represents the University in a positive manner, both on and off the field."
Fenton, who is deaf, is one of 33 nominees selected from Division III, and he is one of two nominees that hail from the ECFC joining Castleton (Vt.) University's Soren Pelz-Walsh. Gallaudet is the only football program from the District of Columbia represented among the 156 candidates.
Gallaudet has had six NFF National Scholar-Athlete semifinalists over the years. The first came in 1992 when Jeffrey Kurz was bestowed the great honor while the second came six years ago when Caleb Hinton (2011) was recognized for his academic and athletic prowess followed by Denton Mallas (2012), Nicholas Elstad (2013) and Nico Santiago (2014).
The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Nov. 1, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. At the event, one member of the class will be declared the winner of the 27th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
"These 156 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. "It is important for us to showcase their success 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."
Nominated by their schools' Sports Information Office, 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 exceptional football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Only one nomination per school. 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 past recipients of the William V. Campbell Trophy include: Air Force's Chris Howard (1990); Florida's Brad Culpepper (1991); Colorado's Jim Hansen (1992); Virginia's Thomas Burns (1993); Nebraska's Rob Zatechka (1994); Ohio State's Bobby Hoying (1995); Florida's Danny Wuerffel (1996); Tennessee's Peyton Manning (1997); Georgia's Matt Stinchcomb (1998); Marshall's Chad Pennington (1999); Nebraska's Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000); Miami (Fla.)'s Joaquin Gonzalez (2001); Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.)'s Brandon Roberts (2002); Ohio State's Craig Krenzel (2003); Tennessee's Michael Munoz (2004); LSU's Rudy Niswanger (2005); Rutgers' Brian Leonard (2006); Texas' Dallas Griffin (2007); California's Alex Mack (2008); Florida's Tim Tebow (2009); Texas' Sam Acho (2010); Army West Point's Andrew Rodriguez (2011); Alabama's Barrett Jones (2012); Penn State's John Urschel (2013); Duke's David Helton (2014); and Oklahoma's Ty Darlington (2015).
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. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.
2016 NFF NATIONAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CANDIDATE NOTES
- 156 Nominations
- 58th Year of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Program
- 3.63 Average GPA
- 50 Nominees with a 3.7 GPA or Better
- 91 Captains
- 72 All-Conference Picks
- 20 Academic All-America Selections
- 13 All-Americans
- 6 Members of the 2016 AFCA Good Works Team
- 66 Nominees from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)
- 36 Nominees from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)
- 17 Nominees from NCAA Division II
- 33 Nominees from NCAA Division III
- 4 Nominees from the NAIA
- 67 Offensive Players
- 68 Defensive Players
- 21 Special Teams Players
Gallaudet's NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award Semifinalists
2016: Sean Fenton
2014: Nico Santiago
2013: Nicholas Elstad
2012: Denton Mallas
2011: Caleb Hinton
1992: Jeffrey Kurz