CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia senior safety Joey Blount was today named a semifinalist for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy (Oct. 1) by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. The award recognizes an individual as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Blount is one of 199 semifinalists for the award and one of seven from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Blount (Sr., Atlanta, Ga.) after one game has seven tackles, 1.0 tackles for loss and one interception to help a Virginia defense that is No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin (+4). Blount was a third-team All-ACC honoree in 2019 after finishing with 95 tackles and leading UVA with three interceptions. Blount has appeared in in 39 career games for the Cavaliers and boasts 201 career tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and six interceptions.
Blount, who graduated in three years this past summer, is currently working on his Master’s degree in the Curry School. His community service includes a myriad of activities like working with the Eritrean Ethiopian Student Association at UVA, the student-athlete leadership council, Thursday’s Heroes, a middle school tutor, hospital visits, Athletes for Hope Social Media Challenge, helping at Camp Henry which is a summer camp for those with mental and/or physical disabilities and speaking with at-risk kids from a camp organized by the Albemarle Police Department.
Celebrating its 31st year, the award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. The NFF will announce 12-to-14 finalists in November, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2020 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. Later this year, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 31st Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, having his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000 and receiving his own 25-pound-bronze version of the iconic statue.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing 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.
Named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal, the Campbell Trophy is a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient’s grant by $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship of $25,000, which is endowed by HealthSouth. This year’s postgraduate scholarships will push the program’s all-time distribution to more than $11.5 million. Since 2013, the Campbell Trophy has been prominently displayed inside its official home at the New York Athletic Club.
“It is wonderful to see a record number of semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy® during such a turbulent year, proving the Future for Football is bright,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist’s achievements, showcasing their ability to balance academics and athletics at the highest level. The NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from this outstanding group of candidates.”
Virginia is one of five schools (only ACC school) to have multiple Campbell Trophy recipients. Former UVA All-American linebacker Micah Kiser the most recent winner, the 28th all-time recipient. Kiser was a CoSIDA second-team Academic All-American and is only the second player in ACC history to lead the league in tackles for three years in a row. Kiser graduated No. 5 all-time at UVA with 411 career tackles and he currently plays for the Los Angeles Rams after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Former Virginia standout Tom Burns was the Campbell Trophy’s fourth recipient. He won the award in 1994. He was a two-year starter at linebacker and four-year performer. Burns became one of Virginia’s all-time leading tacklers with 200 career stops, placing him 15th on the Cavaliers’ all-time roster at the time of his graduation. Majoring in nuclear engineering, he compiled a 3.92 GPA and was twice named a CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American. His many academic accolades during his senior year include the Woody Hayes National Scholar Athlete Award, the Jim Tatum Award and the ACC’s Weaver-James Post-Graduate Award.