Duke's Renfree Named to 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class

Oct. 24, 2012

DALLAS – 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 2012 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 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. Selected from a nationwide pool of 147 exceptional semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, the 15 class members are:






Matt Barkley


Southern California



Rex Burkhead





Cody Davis


Texas Tech


Management Info. Systems

Nick Driskill


Mount Union (Ohio)


Exercise Science

Nick Florence





Nabal Jefferson


Northern Illinois



Barrett Jones





Aaron Mullane


West Texas A&M


Biology & Chemistry

Ryan Nassib




Finance & Manag.


Nolan Nearhoof


Robert Morris



Ethan Peterson




Nuclear Engineering & Physics

Sean Renfree




Public Policy Studies

Manti Te’o


Notre Dame


Graphic Design

Patrick Ward




Mechanical Engineering

Shane Zackery


Saint Xavier (Ill.)


Business Management

“This year’s class contains some of the finest student-athletes to ever compete in college athletics in any sport,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “They have an average GPA of 3.67, which showcases their commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. Without exception, they embody what it takes to be great leaders. We are proud to hold them out as examples for future generations to emulate.”

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); 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 Tim Tebow (Florida).

“The 2012 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 displayed the same competitive fire to win in the classroom that has distinguished them as some of the best football players in the country. In addition, each has found time to give back with an impressive list of leadership roles in their respective communities. Ensuring that they continue their education with an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship is a privilege, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential.”

Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will travel to New York City to be honored December 4 during the 55th 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 23rd recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. 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 $10.1 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 54-year 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.

2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Highlights

• 3.67 Average GPA
• 13-of-15 Team Captains
• 13-of-15 Academic All-Conference Athletes (with one player attending an independent school)
• 10-of-15 All-Conference Athletes (with one player attending an independent school)
• 8 Academic All-America Selections (Burkhead, Driskill, Jones, Nearhoof, Peterson, Te’o, Ward, Zackery)
• 7 All-America Picks (Barkley, Burkhead, Davis, Driskill, Jones, Te’o, Zackery)
• 3 National Award Winners (Barkley – CollegeFootballNews.com Offensive Player of the Year; Driskill – D3Football.com National Defensive Player of the Year; Jones – Outland Trophy)
• 6 School Statistical Record Holders (Barkley, Burkhead, Florence, Nassib, Nearhoof, Renfree)
• 7 Members of Nationally Ranked Teams (Barkley, Davis, Driskill, Jones, Mullane, Te’o, Zackery)
• 6 National Championship Appearances (Driskill – 3; Jones – 2; Zackery – 1)
• 10 Offensive Players (Barkley, Burkhead, Florence, Jones, Mullane, Nearhoof, Peterson, Renfree, Ward, Zackery)
• 5 Defensive Players (Davis, Driskill, Jefferson, Nearhoof, Te’o)

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 147 semifinalists for the award were announced on Sept. 27 (names listed at the end of the release), 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 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner will include the induction of the 2012 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.

Public Policy Studies - 3.40 GPA

The most accurate signal caller in Duke football history, Sean Renfree is on pace to become just the third quarterback in ACC history to throw for more than 10,000 yards in a career. Couple football success with an impressive academic résumé, and the result is the Blue Devils' third NFF National Scholar-Athlete and the first in more than two decades.

A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., Renfree graduated last December with a degree in public policy. He is currently pursuing a master's in humanities, boasting a 3.81 GPA in his graduate studies. He is a two-time Academic All-ACC selection and a four-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll.

Renfree, a two-year team captain, led the ACC in completions per game the last two seasons and is on track to become the first quarterback in school history to pass for more than 2,500 yards in three consecutive seasons. The 2010 Duke MVP holds or shares seven school records, including career pass completion percentage (.634), most 100-yard games in a season (12), single-game pass completions (41), and consecutive pass completions in a game (16). Leading the Blue Devils to its first bowl-eligible season in 18 years, Renfree has completed 164 passes for 1,793 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012.

A member of the 2012 AFCA Good Works Team, Renfree volunteers with the Duke Rescue Mission, which is dedicated to providing food and support to those in need. He participated in Christmas gift wrapping in conjunction with North Carolina Central University and the annual campus trash clean-up initiative. He supervises and encourages kids to exercise and play games at the Active Teens program and is a regular visitor to Duke Children's Hospital.

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the BCS, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Liberty Mutual Insurance, NCAA Football, and Under Armour. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.

The William V. Campbell Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official Web site, www.NCFAA.org.