Iowa LB James Morris won a major award (“Christmas Story” reference, I’m a sucker for that movie).
Here are the releases (from the National Football Foundation):
IRVING, Texas (October 31, 2013) – Recognizing one of the most impressive classes in the storied history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Program, The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the 2013 recipients of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments®, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education. The honorees also comprise the list of finalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Selected from a nationwide pool of 171 exceptional semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, the 16 class members are:
Northwest Missouri State
Biology & Psychology
Johns Hopkins (Md.)
Recreation Admin. & Leisure Services
Applied Economics & Mgmt.
West Texas A&M
Math & Secondary Education
“We are extremely proud to present the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “With an average GPA of 3.79, these young men have a discernible and unrelenting commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. This class represents all that is right about college football, and the members serve as living examples of our mission to build leaders through football.”
The NFF’s National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. This year’s class members finds themselves in good company, as past National Scholar-Athletes include former NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); Southern California Athletics Director Pat Haden (USC); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); Hampden-Sydney College (Va.) President Chris Howard (Air Force); West Virginia Athletics Director Oliver Luck (West Virginia); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners, Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Tim Tebow (Florida).
“Jack Ford and the NFF Awards Committee did an excellent job in selecting this year’s National Scholar-Athletes,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “Selected from a record number of semifinalists, this group should be extremely proud of their accomplishments, as they have undoubtedly distinguished themselves as some of the best football players and students in the country. Each of these men is also a leader in his respective community, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential.”
Each member of the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class will travel to New York City to be honored December 10 during the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. They each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the 24th recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. The recipient of the Campbell Trophy will also be honored at the NFF Board of Directors meeting and at a reception hosted by the New York Athletic Club on Wednesday, December 11.
Named in honor of Bill Campbell (the chairman of Intuit, a former player and head coach at Columbia University, and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal), the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $7,000 increase in postgraduate funds for a total scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening, pushing the program’s all-time distributions to more than $10.4 million.
In 2011, the NFF and Fidelity Investments launched a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. As part of the initiative, Fidelity became the first presenting sponsor ever in the history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. Fidelity also helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes Initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. As part of the initiative, the NFF will present each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.
2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Highlights
· 3.79 Average GPA
· 15-of-16 Team Captains
· 16-of-16 Academic All-Conference Athletes
· 15-of-16 All-Conference Athletes
· 11 Academic All-America Selections (Adams, Arena, Bullough, Ikard, Mastromatteo, Murray, Simmons,
Urschel, Vaughan, Washington, Westerberg)
· 10 All-America Picks (Bullough, Carr, Ikard, Long, Mathews, Morris, Murray, Simmons, Vaughan,
· 4 Conference Players of the Year (Carr, Mathews, Vaughan, Westerberg)
· 7 School Record Holders (Carr, Mastromatteo, Mathews, Murray, Soza, Vaughan, Washington)
· 6 Members of Nationally Ranked Teams (as of 10/31) (Adams, Arena, Bullough, Carr, Ikard, Vaughan)
· 12 Offensive Players
(Adams, Carr, Ikard, Long, Mastromatteo, Mathews, Murray, Simmons, Soza, Urschel, Vaughan, Washington)
· 4 Defensive Players (Arena, Bullough, Morris, Westerberg)
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, 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 and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The 171 semifinalists for the award were announced on October 2 (click here for the names of the 171 semifinalists), and 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.
In addition to the presentation of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and the William V. Campbell Trophy, the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner will include the induction of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class and the presentation of several major awards, including the organization’s highest honor, the NFF Gold Medal, and the NFF Distinguished American Award.
Bios for the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class,
presented by Fidelity Investments
University of Iowa
Political Science – 3.84 GPA
Athletics Director: Gary Barta
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz
One of the Big Ten’s leading tacklers during the course of his career, Iowa’s James Morris has firmly planted himself among the all-time Hawkeye greats as he becomes the sixth NFF National Scholar-Athlete in school history.
A 2012 CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, Morris will graduate in May with an impressive 3.84 GPA in political science. He claimed the Third House Scholar Award, presented by the Iowa political science department, for excellence in scholarship, active participation, and leadership in political and civic organizations. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Morris hails from Solon, Iowa, and he hopes to attend law school.
A four-year starter, Morris made an immediate impact on the Hawkeye defense, earning Freshman All-America accolades in 2010. He has garnered Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors the last two seasons after ranking third (9.4) and fifth (9.2) in tackles per game in 2012 and 2011, respectively. This season he has earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and Lott Impact Player of the Week honors after an eight-tackle, two-sack and one fumble recovery performance in Iowa’s 17-10 overtime win over Northwestern. He currently ranks ninth in the conference with 7.9 tackles per game, and he has posted 357 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, and five interceptions in his career.
A four-year member of the football team’s leadership group, Morris has participated in Iowa Football leadership retreats. He has volunteered for the Read to Grow program, Dance Marathon, Ronald McDonald House, and he has helped coordinate a team blood drive. He has made numerous visits to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, and he is the son of Hawkeye’s equipment manager, Greg Morris.
And from the UI:
MORRIS NAMED NFF NATIONAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE
IRVING, Texas – University of Iowa senior linebacker James Morris has been named a 2013 National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete. The NFF and College Hall of Fame announced the recipients Thursday.
The 16 honorees comprise the list of finalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the best scholar-athlete in the nation. The list was selected from a pool of 171 semifinalists among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA.
The 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athletes will travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 10 during the 56th NFF Annual Award Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Each student-athlete receives an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, while the Campbell Trophy recipient earns an additional $7,000 in postgraduate funds.
“It’s a fantastic honor for James,” said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. “The group of people who are recognized at that dinner is unbelievable; guys that are committed to being excellent football players, excellent students, and that fits James. He has been a pleasure to have in our program. He has been a model football player, leader, and student. We’re happy for James and his family.”
Morris is the sixth Iowa football student-athlete to be named a NFF National Scholar-Athlete. Former honorees include defensive lineman John Charles Hendricks (1968), defensive back Bob Elliott (1975), tight end Mike Flagg (1987), offensive lineman Derek Rose (1998) and linebacker Mike Klinkenborg (2007).
Morris is a product of a UI football program that has a long history of success in academic achievement. According to data released last week by the NCAA, Iowa earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 81 percent. That total was 11 points better than the national average for Football Bowl Sub-Division programs. The football program at the UI has scored 80 percent or better in the GSR in three consecutive years.
“We’ve always believed it’s possible to excel in both athletics and academics, and our guys would be the first to tell you they get great support from our academic student services people,” said Ferentz. “It’s like being a good football player, ultimately the students have to do the work. They are the ones that go to class and spend time on the papers and exams. At the end of the day it’s a credit to the guys being honored. He has been committed to his studies, and nobody is more committed to football. It’s another example that it is possible to do both things well.”
Morris, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound senior from Solon, Iowa, has been in the Hawkeye starting lineup since playing as a true freshman in 2010. He ranks eighth in career tackles (257), and this week was honored by both the Big Ten Conference and the Lott IMPACT Trophy as defensive Player of the Week. He was also recognized with the same honor by the Big Ten following Iowa’s win at Minnesota. Morris leads the Hawkeyes in tackles for loss (7.5), sacks (4) and interceptions (3) after eight games.