The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame does more than just honor the recipients. Greg McElroy, who has quarterbacked Alabama to 21 wins in his 22 starts over the past two years and made all ‘A’s except for one ‘B’ while earning his degree prior to his senior season, will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. He is also in the running with the other 15 for the 21st William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. Renamed last fall in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, 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 $25,000 post-graduate scholarship. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded.
"We are ecstatic about the quality of this year's remarkable National Scholar-Athlete Class. They stand as a testament to our mission of building leaders through football," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "From top to bottom, this group has established itself as one of the greatest in the 50-plus years of this program, boasting an impressive array of academic and athletic achievements. We look forward to presenting each of them an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship to further their education, as there are no limits to what these young men will accomplish following their football careers."
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in the 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); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (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 Terry Baker (Oregon State), Gary Beban (UCLA), Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Danny Wuerffel (Florida).
"The 2010 National Scholar-Athlete Class represents all that is right about college football," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They have balanced practice with difficult majors like mechanical engineering and biology. They've also taken their passion for helping others beyond their local communities, taking medical and mission trips overseas to help those less fortunate than themselves. They are prime role models for future generations of young men in this country."
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 121 semifinalists for the award were announced on Sept. 30, 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.
The 2010 National Scholar-Athlete Class will be honored at the 2010 NFF Annual Awards Dinner December 7 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The event will also include the induction of the 2010 College Football Hall of Fame Class and the presentation of several major awards, including the organization's highest honor, the Gold Medal, to American icon Bill Cosby and the Distinguished American Award to renowned journalist and author Tom Brokaw.
McElroy, already a national champion, is now The University of Alabama's sixth NFF National Scholar-Athlete. After graduating in three years, McElroy is working on a graduate degree while leading the No. 7 Crimson Tide in its national title defense.
A Rhodes Scholar nominee, McElroy is a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree. The Southlake, Texas, resident has qualified for the Dean's List four times and the President's List twice. One of The Sporting News' "20 Smartest Athletes," he was named Alabama's Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Marketing and earned the Marketing Senior Gold Certificate.
En route to leading Alabama to its 13th national title in 2009, McElroy was named Most Valuable Player of the SEC Championship Game in a 32-13 defeat of No. 1 Florida. McElroy, who claims a 21-1 record as a starter, currently ranks fourth nationally with a 150.42 career pass efficiency rating. In 2009, McElroy directed an offense that gained more yards from scrimmage than any other in the 118-year history of Alabama football while finishing with the lowest interception percentage in school history and second-lowest in SEC history. This season, McElroy has completed 137-of-194 passes for 1,781 yards with 11 touchdowns and was recently named a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist.
McElroy has volunteered with Read Across America, Habitat for Humanity, the West Alabama Food Bank, and Hospice of West Alabama. Since 2007, he has been a member of the university's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is also a member of the UA Athletics and Academics Committee.