IRVING, Texas – North Carolina Central University senior quarterback Davius Richard has been announced by the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame as one of 16 finalists for the 2023 William V. Campbell Trophy®, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award that annually recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.
As a finalist, Richard will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2023 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments®.
The 16 finalists were selected from a record number of 201 semifinalists nationwide from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA.
The finalists will travel to the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas on Dec. 5, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports.
During the event, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 34th Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
2023 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments®:
• Cooper Beebe, OL – Kansas State (3.84 GPA – Social Studies Education)
• JD Bertrand, LB – Notre Dame (3.62 GPA – Marketing)
• DeWayne Carter, DT – Duke (3.47 GPA – Psychology)
• Loobert Denelus, DE – Benedict [SC] (3.96 GPA – Psychology)
• Jacob Dobbs, LB – Holy Cross (3.76 GPA – Economics & Religious Studies)
• Olu Fashanu, OT – Penn State (3.45 GPA – Supply Chain & Info Systems)
• Zach Frazier, C – West Virginia (3.88 GPA – Sport Management)
• Owen Grover, LB – Wartburg [IA] (3.99 GPA – Biology)
• Leo Lowin, LB – Army West Point (3.92 GPA – Engineering Management)
• Ladd McConkey, WR – Georgia (3.85 GPA – Finance)
• Bo Nix, QB – Oregon (3.62 GPA – Communications)
• Davius Richard, QB – North Carolina Central (3.59 GPA – Business Administration)
• Luke Schuermann, DE – Johns Hopkins [MD] (3.61 GPA – Mechanical Engineering)
• Taulia Tagovailoa, QB – Maryland (3.61 GPA – Family Science)
• Liam Thompson, QB – Wabash [IN] (3.87 GPA – Rhetoric)
• Zak Zinter, OL – Michigan (3.53 GPA – Sport Management)
“We are extremely proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Campbell Trophy®,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® recipient) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “These young men have an unrelenting commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives, and they represent all that is right in college football. As strong leaders in the vein of the trophy’s namesake Bill Campbell, they all serve as living examples that the ‘Future For Football’ is bright. We are excited to honor their hard work and outstanding leadership with postgraduate scholarships.”
Submitted by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the Campbell Trophy® must be either a senior player who will complete his final year of eligibility during the 2023 season or be a graduated player who has been enrolled in school at least three (3) years (even if he has remaining eligibility); must have minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale; must have outstanding football ability as a starter/significant contributor; and must have exhibited exemplary leadership on the field, in the classroom and within the community.
“The NFF Awards Committee did an excellent job in selecting this year’s National Scholar-Athletes,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Chosen from a record-breaking number of semifinalists, the finalists have undoubtedly distinguished themselves as some of the best student-athletes in the country. Each of these men is a leader on and off the field, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential.”
Davius Richard, QB – North Carolina Central University
3.59 GPA – Business Administration
Head Coach: Trei Oliver | Athletics Director: Dr. Louis “Skip” Perkins
Faculty Athletics Representative: Dr. Deborah Fortune
Recipient of the Coach Eddie Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award,
Endowed by the George M. Steinbrenner Family and the New York Yankees Foundation
Described by head coach Trei Oliver as “a strong yet humble leader who remains even keeled under pressure,” Davius Richard quarterbacked North Carolina Central to a conference title while maintaining an impressive 3.59 GPA in the classroom. The Belle Glade, Florida, native now becomes the Eagles’ first NFF National Scholar-Athlete in school history.
Graduating magna cum laude last December, Davius Richard is currently working towards his MBA. The 2023 FCS Athletics Directors Association (ADA) Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Richard made the FCS ADA Academic All-Star and the CSC Academic All-District teams in 2022, and he was a member of the 2023 NFF Hampshire Honor Society.
Last season, Richard guided NCCU to its first MEAC title since 2016 and a victory over Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl. The team finished 10-2, marking only the third time in school history the Eagles posted 10 wins or more, and a final No. 17 ranking, the highest in school annals at the end of a season. Currently 6-1, the Eagles are ranked No. 10.
A three-time team captain, Richard claimed MEAC Offensive Player of the Year honors last season. He was also a Walter Payton Award finalist and the BOXTOROW Impact Player of the Year in 2022. A two-time All-MEAC selection, Richard was the 2022 Celebration Bowl Offensive MVP and the 2021 MEAC/SWAC Challenge Offensive MVP.
Davius Richard entered the 2023 season having passed for 6,814 yards and 52 touchdowns while rushing for 1,396 yards and 26 touchdowns during his career, ranking second all-time at North Carolina Central in career passing yards, career passing touchdowns and career total offense with 8,210 yards. He led the MEAC last year in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and rushing touchdowns, and he ranked fifth nationally for points responsible with 244. He is just the second quarterback in NCCU history to pass for 2,000 yards in three-consecutive seasons. He has passed for 949 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 377 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2023.
A member of the North Carolina Central University Football Leadership Council, Davius Richard has hosted youth football clinics, helping develop local aspiring young players.
(all stats of Oct. 25, 2023)
2023 NFF Campbell Trophy® Finalists Highlights:
• 3.72 Average GPA
• 16 captains, including 1 four-year captain (Dobbs), 6 three-year captains (Carter, Frazier, Nix, Richard, Tagovailoa, Thompson) and 4 two-year captains (Beebe, Bertrand, Denelus, Grover)
• 6 players who have already graduated (Beebe, Bertrand, McConkey, Nix, Richard, Tagovailoa)
• 6 Academic All-America selections (Denelus, Grover, Lowin, Schuermann, Thompson, Zinter)
• 14 Academic All-Conference athletes (Beebe, Carter, Denelus, Dobbs, Fashanu, Frazier, Grover, McConkey, Nix, Richard, Schuermann, Tagovailoa, Thompson, Zinter)
• 8 All-America performers (Beebe, Carter, Denelus, Dobbs, Fashanu, Frazier, Grover, Schuermann)
• 6 Conference Players of the Year (Denelus, Dobbs, Grover, Richard, Schuermann, Thompson)
• 14 All-Conference selections (Beebe, Carter, Denelus, Dobbs, Fashanu, Frazier, Grover, McConkey, Nix, Richard, Schuermann, Tagovailoa, Thompson, Zinter)
• 9 members of conference championship teams (Beebe, Denelus, Dobbs, Grover, McConkey, Richard, Schuermann, Thompson, Zinter)
• 5 school record holders (Nix, Richard, Schuermann, Tagovailoa, Thompson)
• 16 members of postseason teams (College Football Playoff – McConkey, Zinter; FBS Bowl Games – Beebe, Bertrand, Carter, Fashanu, Frazier, Lowin, McConkey, Nix, Tagovailoa, Zinter); FCS Playoffs – Dobbs; Celebration Bowl – Richard; Division II Playoffs – Denelus; Division III Playoffs – Grover, Schuermann, Thompson)
• 10 members of currently ranked teams (Bertrand, Carter, Denelus, Dobbs, Richard, Fashanu, Grover, Schuermann, McConkey, Nix, Zinter)
• 3 players who become their school’s first NFF National Scholar-Athlete (Denelus, Grover, Richard)
• 9 Offensive Players (Beebe, Fashanu, Frazier, McConkey, Nix, Richard, Tagovailoa, Thompson, Zinter)
• 7 Defensive Players (Bertrand, Carter, Denelus, Dobbs, Grover, Lowin, Schuermann)
Following the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas, the recipient of the 2023 Campbell Trophy® will be honored at several other prestigious events. On Thursday, Dec. 7, he will be interviewed live during the “The Home Depot College Football Awards” on ESPN. On Sunday, Dec. 10, he will sit on the dais during the Heisman Trophy dinner. Then on Monday, Dec. 11, a reception will be held in his honor at the New York Athletic Club (NYAC), the official home of the trophy since 2013.
Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Presented by Fidelity Investments celebrate their 65th year in 2023. The awards were the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on both a player’s academic and athletic accomplishments. Since 2011, Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of workplace savings plans in higher education, has served as the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
As part of its support of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, Fidelity Investments helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes, which recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with a finalist for the Campbell Trophy®. The NFF presents each of the faculty athletics representatives with a plaque and Fidelity donates $5,000 for the academic support services at each school. The salutes have recognized 186 FARs since the program’s inception, and Fidelity has made a total of $930,000 (including $80,000 this year) in donations.
Including the 2023 Campbell Trophy® finalists, the NFF has honored 922 individuals with National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and this year’s postgraduate scholarships will push the program’s all-time distribution to more than $12.6 million.
Past recipients have used their postgraduate scholarships to set the standard for excellence in our society, earning more than 175 medical degrees, 105 law degrees, 80 MBAs and 45 PhDs. Others have used their financial backing to enhance successful careers in finance, consulting and engineering. Continuing their excellence on the field, more than 260 recipients have played in the NFL with an average career of six seasons or double the length of a typical NFL player. Past recipients also include 13 Rhodes Scholars and six Heisman Trophy winners.
Past NFF National Scholar-Athletes have made it big in a variety of fields, including actor and film producer Mark Harmon (UCLA); Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans (Alabama); NASA astronauts Leland Melvin (Richmond) and Michael Hopkins (Illinois); and athletics directors at their respective alma maters: Trev Alberts (Nebraska) and Josh Whitman (Illinois). NFF National Scholar-Athletes who became NFL stalwarts include Drew Brees, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, Doug Flutie, Joey Galloway, Brian Griese, Justin Herbert, Jeff Hostetler, Bradie James, Tyler Lockett, Alex Mack, Johnny Musso, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Thomas, Jonathan Vilma and Wesley Walls, among many others.
A total of 42 former National Scholar-Athletes have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and seven are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Tony Boselli (Southern California), Derrick Brooks (Florida State), Dave Casper (Notre Dame), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Merlin Olsen (Utah State), Lee Roy Selmon (Oklahoma) and Steve Young (BYU). Click here for a database of all the past NFF National Scholar-Athletes.
The Campbell Trophy® was first awarded in 1990, adding to the program’s prestige. Past recipients include two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and eight first-round NFL draft picks.
The past recipients of the Campbell Trophy® include:
1990 – Chris Howard (Air Force)
1991 – Brad Culpepper (Florida)
1992 – Jim Hansen (Colorado)
1993 – Thomas Burns (Virginia)
1994 – Rob Zatechka (Nebraska)
1995 – Bobby Hoying (Ohio State)
1996 – Danny Wuerffel (Florida)
1997 – Peyton Manning (Tennessee)
1998 – Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia)
1999 – Chad Pennington (Marshall)
2000 – Kyle Vanden Bosch (Nebraska)
2001 – Joaquin Gonzalez (Miami [FL])
2002 – Brandon Roberts (Washington U. in St. Louis [MO])
2003 – Craig Krenzel (Ohio State)
2004 – Michael Munoz (Tennessee)
2005 – Rudy Niswanger (LSU)
2006 – Brian Leonard (Rutgers)
2007 – Dallas Griffin (Texas)
2008 – Alex Mack (California)
2009 – Tim Tebow (Florida)
2010 – Sam Acho (Texas)
2011 – Andrew Rodriguez (Army West Point)
2012 – Barrett Jones (Alabama)
2013 – John Urschel (Penn State)
2014 – David Helton (Duke)
2015 – Ty Darlington (Oklahoma)
2016 – Zach Terrell (Western Michigan)
2017 – Micah Kiser (Virginia)
2018 – Christian Wilkins (Clemson)
2019 – Justin Herbert (Oregon)
2020 – Brady White (Memphis)
2021 – Charlie Kolar (Iowa State)
2022 – Jack Campbell (Iowa)