Crittenden Named Semifinalist for Prestigious Campbell Trophy

Whitefish native semifinalist for award highlighting best football scholar-athlete in the nation

By Beacon Staff
Whitefish native and Montana Grizzlies defensive end Derek Crittenden. Courtesy Montana Sports Information

Derek Crittenden, a Whitefish native and senior defensive lineman at University of Montana, is a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, commonly referred to as the Academic Heisman award.

The Campbell Trophy is presented annually by the National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame (NFF), and recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation, at any level of play. Crittenden is also a nominee for the elite U.S. Rhodes scholarship.

Crittenden’s list of scholastic accolades has earned him a place among college football’s 135 best student athletes. Candidates for the award 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.

“These 135 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.”

The NFF will announce 15 finalists on Oct. 29, and each will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8, where their accomplishments will be highlighted at the home of the Heisman Trophy. At the event, one member of the class will be declared the winner of the 26th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.

Crittenden carries a perfect 4.0 GPA, with a degree in chemistry and minors in philosophy and mathematics. He is one of Montana’s nominees for the Rhodes Scholarship, recipient of UM’s Eugene Davis Scholarship for Chemistry, UM’s 2013 Fessenden Scholarship Recipient, and a recipient of UM’s Jesse scholarship.

Crittenden’s accolades include being elected a co-captain of the Grizzly football team this fall, being named to the 2015 FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team, a four-time member of the Big Sky All-Academic Team, a four-time recipient of UM’s President’s award for the Student-Athlete with the highest GPA, a two-time member of the CoSIDA Academic All-District team and a member of the 2014 Capitol One Academic All-American second team.

On the field, Crittenden returned to the Griz as the team’s third leading tackler, and has picked up 9.5 tackles, .5 sacks, and a safety thus far in the 2015 season.

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 Campbell Trophy is displayed inside it’s permanent home at the New York Athletic Club.

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