Four former NFF National Scholar-Athletes appear on rosters of teams playing in Super Bowl LI, which will be played this Sunday, Feb. 5, in Houston, Texas. The game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
“The NFF National Scholar-Athletes who will be playing in Super Bowl LI are amazing examples of individuals who learned to apply the same focus and determination from football to all aspects of their lives,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “It will be fun to watch them in the big game on Sunday, and we know that their great football success will be followed by equal or greater success later in life.”
Atlanta Falcons center Alex Mack, the 2008 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient while at California, is looking for his first Super Bowl win in his first appearance.
Mack becomes just the third Campbell Trophy winner to play in the Super Bowl. Quarterback Peyton Manning, the 1997 Campbell Trophy recipient while at Tennessee and a 2017 College Football Hall of Fame electee, appeared in four Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLI with the Indianapolis Colts and Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos. Offensive lineman Matt Stinchcomb, the 1998 Campbell Trophy winner while at Georgia, appeared in Super Bowl XXXVII with the Oakland Raiders.
Tight end Jacob Tamme, a 2007 NFF National Scholar-Athlete from Kentucky, also appears on the Falcons roster. Previously appearing in Super Bowl XLVIII with the Broncos and Super Bowl XLIV with the Colts, he will miss Sunday’s game with an injury.
NFF National Scholar-Athletes appearing for the New England Patriots are offensive tackle Nate Solder (Colorado – 2010) and safety Jordan Richards (Stanford – 2014). Solder is looking for his second Super Bowl victory after winning Super Bowl XLIX with the Patriots. He also appeared in Super Bowl XLVI with New England. Richards hopes to win his first Super Bowl in just his second year in the NFL.
Many NFF National Scholar-Athletes have appeared in Super Bowls, including Tiki Barber (Virginia) for the New York Giants, Harris Barton (North Carolina) for the San Francisco 49ers, Drew Brees (Purdue) for the New Orleans Saints, Derrick Brooks (Florida State) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dave Casper (Notre Dame) for the Oakland Raiders, Je’Rod Cherry (California) with the New England Patriots, Eric Decker (Minnesota) with the Denver Broncos, Kevin Donnalley (North Carolina) for the Carolina Panthers, Dave Elmendorf (Texas A&M) for the Los Angeles Rams, Vince Ferragamo (Nebraska) for the Rams, Randy Gradishar (Ohio State) for the Broncos, Jeff Hostetler (West Virginia) for the Giants, Randy Hughes (Oklahoma) for the Dallas Cowboys, Carnell Lake (UCLA) for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jim Lynch (Notre Dame) for the Kansas City Chiefs, Eli Manning (Ole Miss) for the Giants, Darrin Smith (Miami [Fla.]) for the Cowboys, Jon Stinchcomb (Georgia) for the Saints, Jonathan Vilma (Miami [Fla.]) for the Saints, Wesley Walls (Ole Miss) for the 49ers, Grant Wistrom (Nebraska) with the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams and Steve Young (BYU) for the 49ers.
Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program became the first initiative in history to award postgraduate scholarships based on a player’s combined academic, athletic and community accomplishments, and the program has awarded $11.1 million to 828 top athletes since its inception. 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 or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
The centerpiece to the NFF’s scholar-athlete program, The William V. Campbell Trophy was first awarded in 1990. It is named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal. In 2011, Fidelity Investments became the first presenting sponsor of the organization’s prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program, and it became the presenting sponsor of the Campbell Trophy at the start of the 2014 season.