KENT, Ohio (WYTV) – Kent State senior safety Jordan Italiano (Canfield, Ohio) was selected as a 2015 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete and finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments. Italiano is the first Kent State player to earn the honor.
Twelve finalists, including nine FBS players were chosen among a pool of 135 candidates. Each player receives an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and will attend the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City, alongside the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class on Dec. 8.
Earlier this summer, Italiano was tabbed “Smartest Player in College Football” in NFL.com’s 15 for ’15 series. The pre-med/biochemistry major carries a 3.98 heading into his fourth academic year.
“Jordan is a team leader on and off the field,” Head Coach Paul Haynes said. “In all my years of football, I’ve never seen anyone dedicate themselves to their studies and to the game quite like he has.”
Since the inaugural class in 1959, National Scholar-Athlete Awards have become among the most prestigious honors in all of college football. The Campbell Trophy annually honors one member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. Established in 1990 and formerly known as the Draddy Trophy until 2009, the winner receives an increase of $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship of $25,000.
Italiano is a two-time Academic All-America selection, including first team honors in 2014. To date, he has amassed 236 career tackles with five forced fumbles and five interceptions.
On Wednesday, Italiano was named Mid-American Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Week after making a season-high 11 tackles against Bowling Green.
The three-year starter is also on the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List and a nominee for the 2015 All-State American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.
“We are extremely proud to announce this year’s finalists for the Campbell Trophy, who make up the National Scholar-Athlete Class,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “These young men have an unrelenting commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives, and they represent all that is right in college football. They serve as living examples of our mission of Building Leaders Through Football, and we are excited to be able to honor their hard work and accomplishments with postgraduate scholarships.”
The members of this year’s class find themselves among some of the most elite student-athletes in the history of the game, including former NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); Robert Morris University President Chris Howard (Air Force); NCAA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Oliver Luck (West Virginia); NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins (Illinois) and Leland Melvin (Richmond); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and 32 College Football Hall of Famers, including 2015 electees Trev Alberts (Nebraska), Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame) and Dick Jauron (Yale).
Kent State returns to action Thursday, Nov. 5, hosting MAC East foe Buffalo at 7 p.m.
COURTESY: KENT STATE UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS