Ashland University senior linebacker Zach Bernhard has followed up his spot on the 2016 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team with the announcement on Thursday (Sept. 28) afternoon by the National Football Foundation (NFF) of his being one of 156 semifinalists for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy.
The William V. Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation, and is prominently displayed inside its official home at the New York Athletic Club.
Bernhard, of 17 Division II semifinalists, sported a 3.61 cumulative grade-point average in Biochemistry as an undergrad, is the President of Ashland's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and has been involved in several community service/volunteer endeavors.
On the field, as a backup linebacker and special teamer, Bernhard has three solo tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss in 2016 after making 15 total tackles each of the last two seasons. He also has returned a kickoff for 17 yards this fall.
The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Nov. 1, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. At the event, one member of the class will be declared the winner of the 27th William V. Campbell Trophy, and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
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 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.