Sept. 28, 2011
(DALLAS) - The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday that Cal senior placekicker Giorgio Tavecchio is a semifinalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy often referred to as the "Academic Heisman" and a candidate for the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
The NFF's Scholar-Athlete Awards are presented by Fidelity Investments®, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education. The 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, will recognize an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. A total of 127 NFF Scholar-Athlete Award candidates and Campbell Trophy semifinalists across all divisions of college football are vying for the honors.
"This year's candidates truly embody the National Football Foundation's mission of building leaders through football," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (1997 Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They are standouts in the classroom and on the field, and have become leaders in their respective communities. Each school should take great pride in being represented by such well-rounded young men who will undoubtedly go on to do great things in life."
Tavecchio's selection continues Cal's strong tradition with the NFF honors in recent years. In 2008, Alex Mack won Campbell Trophy (named the Draddy Trophy at the time). Mike Mohamed was one of 16 Campbell Trophy finalists in 2010. Both were recipients of an NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award.
"It's an incredible blessing just to be considered worth to be counted among the semifinalist," Tavecchio said. "It's an honor and a testament to what you can achieve with perseverance and hard work."
"It speaks volumes to what we value here at Cal, which is being a student-athlete," Tavecchio added. "It's a testament to the character of this team and this football program."
Tavecchio has a 3.711 cumulative GPA and is on track to graduate with a bachelor's degree in his Political Economy major in May of 2012. He has earned second-team Pac-10 All-Academic honors each of the last two seasons in 2009 and '10. In terms of community service Tavecchio has been off the charts, with his activities including ...
On the field, Tavecchio has played in 37 games at Cal over the past three-plus seasons and is the Golden Bears' active career leader with 192 points, making 33-of-46 (71.7%) field goal attempts and 93-of-98 (94.9%) extra-point tries. Through the first four games of his 2011 senior season Tavecchio is only 18 points shy of reaching Cal's all-time top-10 list in scoring. He has also kicked off 198 times for 11,869 kickoff yards and an average of 59.9 yards per kickoff with 12 touchbacks, leading all active Cal players in each category. Tavecchio made the first 65 extra-point tries of his career before the streak was snapped on his second PAT attempt in the seventh game of his junior year against Arizona State. Tavecchio has made all five of his field goal attempts in 2011 and leads Cal in scoring with 32 points, following a 2010 junior campaign in which he ranked second on the team in scoring with 70 points. A year ago he was also fifth in the Pac-10 in both scoring among kickers (5.8 ppg) and PAT percentage (37-39, 94.9%), as well as sixth in field goal percentage (11-16, 68.8%) and field goals (0.92 fgpg).
Tavecchio also has an interesting Cal football story, having joined the Bears as a walk-on three days before the 2008 season-opener against Michigan State and then handling the team's kickoff duties against the Spartans in his first collegiate contest. He has played a primary role in the team's kicking ever since and been a full-time starter each of the past two campaigns.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the NFF honors 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 for maintaining such high standards throughout their collegiate careers," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to showcase their achievements, and there is no question that the NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the final group of honorees 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 Wednesday, October 26. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2011 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored December 6 during the 54th 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. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the Campbell Trophy.
Named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia, and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total post-graduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program's all-time distributions to more than $9.8 million. Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post-graduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments. The Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round picks in the NFL Draft.
In August, the NFF and Fidelity announced 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 53-year history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. To promote the achievements of the recipients, Fidelity has been working with ESPN to produce a series of short television segments about the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The segments will also include a special feature about the recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy winner. All of the segments are airing on ESPN's College Football Live on Thursdays from September through early December.
CAMPBELL TROPHY PAST RECIPIENTS
1990 - Chris Howard, Air Force
2011 NFF NATIONAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE CANDIDATE NOTES
Cal (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) is in the midst of a bye week before traveling to Eugene for a nationally-televised ESPN 3D contest against No. 9/11 Oregon (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) on Thursday, Oct. 6. Kickoff time is slated for 6 p.m. PT.
The Bears' next home game at San Francisco's AT&T Park is against USC the following Thursday, Oct. 13. The Bears-Trojans' game is also a nationally-televised ESPN 3D affair with a kickoff of 6 p.m. PT.
The commercial radio broadcast of all Cal football contests can be heard on the IMG College Sports Radio Network, with KGO 810 AM in San Francisco serving as the flagship station and the broadcast also available live online at CalBears.com. KALX 90.7 FM offers fans the student radio broadcast.
Single-game Cal football tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at CalBears.com, or by calling the Cal Athletic Ticket Office at (800) GO BEARS.
In addition to the USC contest, the remainder of Cal's 2011 home schedule at AT&T Park includes games against Utah (Sat., Oct. 22), Washington State (Sat., Nov. 5) and Oregon State (Sat., Nov. 12).
After playing the last 88 seasons and every home game at Memorial Stadium since the facility opened for the 1923 Big Game, Cal is hosting its home contests outside of Berkeley in 2011 for the first time since Memorial Stadium opened while the venue undergoes an extensive renovation and retrofit. For updates on the progress of the renovation and retrofit of Memorial Stadium as well as the Memorial Stadium webcam, visit stadium.berkeley.edu.
REMAINING 2011 CAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Day, Date - Opponent (Time, TV)