The national finalists were selected from a list of 154 national semifinalists from all three NCAA Divisions as well as the NAIA. Each finalist will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and one of the 16 will be announced as the recipient of the 20th Anniversary William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth (and formerly known as the Draddy Trophy), which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar- athlete in the nation.
Renamed this 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 that evening.
Robbins, a native of Mesquite, is Hardin-Simmons' all-time leader in kickoff return yards, ZaVious Robbins has carried his on-field excellence into the classroom and community, establishing himself as the university's first-ever NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
“I am so excited about this I can’t stop smiling,” said Robbins. “A long time ago when I was a little kid my dad told me he wanted me to be a versatile person. He wanted me to be a good student and a good athlete and I guess this award signifies that I have done that.”
“It is crazy and
definitely unexpected, but I am appreciative and humbled to be
selected. That is some pretty good company that I am included with. I
want to thank all of my coaches and teammates who have stuck with me
throughout my career. They are definitely a big part of this.”
Named an ESPN The Magazine All-District selection in 2008, Robbins will graduate with honors this December. The Mesquite, Texas, native is a three- time President's List and Dean's List honoree, and was named the school's most outstanding marketing student. He is also a two-time academic all-conference selection.
A two-year captain, Robbins garnered first-team all-ASC laurels as a receiver and second-team all-conference honors as a kick returner in 2008. He has recorded 49 kickoff returns for 1,211 yards and three touchdowns in his career, including a school-record 100-yard return, adding 75 career receptions for 1,119 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was also named the 2008 ASC Football Sportsmanship Player of the Year. Unfortunately, he has missed most of his senior season with a knee injury. He had 11 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown in the season opener and was injured on the first drive of the second game.
An officer for the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society, Robbins spends his time volunteering for Meals on Wheels and the Keep Abilene Beautiful program. He also serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a member of the American Marketing Association.
“Zavious is a great kid and very deserving of this honor,” said HSU head coach Jimmie Keeling. “He is one of the rare ones that does everything the right way. He goes to class, he is active in the community and he is one of the best players on the field we have ever had. He has twice been voted a team captain and our kids just love him. When he gets the ball in his hands he is really explosive. We are proud for ZaVious. He is a great representative of what we look for in our program.”
"There is no doubt that this year's class of NFF National Scholar-Athletes is one of the greatest of all time," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "Mediocrity is not in their lexicon in any aspect of their lives. They have exhibited the same drive to compete in the classroom that distinguished them on the field, and they have found the time to be leaders in their communities too. We will be very excited and proud to name one of these extraordinary young men the recipient of the 20th Anniversary William V. Campbell Trophy on Dec. 8."
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. Selected by the NFF Awards Committee, the 16 National Scholar-Athlete Award recipients will be honored at the 2009 NFF Annual Awards Dinner December 8 at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. The event will also include the induction of the 2009 College Football Hall of Fame and the presentation of several major awards.
"The 2009 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class boasts the highest average GPA in the history of our awards," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They are truly the best of the best among all college sports and the epitome of our mission to build leaders through football. Bob Mulcahy and the NFF Awards Committee should be credited for the research, time and commitment it took to select this outstanding group."