IRVING, Texas --- Tusculum University linebacker Jackson Cauthen has been named semifinalist for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Mazda. Cauthen was one of a record 199 semifinalists selected by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.
Cauthen is one of two representatives from the South Atlantic Conference and 20 overall from NCAA Division II.
Celebrating its 31st year, the award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. The NFF will announce 12-to-14 finalists in November, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2020 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. Later this year, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 31st Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, having his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000 and receiving his own 25-pound-bronze version of the iconic statue.
Cauthen, a 6-1, 225-pound senior from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, garnered All-South Atlantic Conference second team honors last season while leading the Pioneers with his 15 tackles for loss (-34 yards), which were tied for 10th most in a TU single-season. He finished the year with 75 total tackles, which were second on the team, while his 1.2 tackles per game average was fifth-best in the SAC.
He earned SAC Defensive Player of the Week honors in 2019 for his stellar defensive performance against UNC Pembroke as he posted eight tackles including three for loss and returned an interception for a 31-yard touchdown. He also made a key fourth-down stop in the final minute to preserve TU's 23-20 win over UNCP.
Cauthen has a 3.96 cumulative grade point average while majoring in nursing and was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District first team in 2019. He is a member of the SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, Dean's List, President's List, Charles Oliver Gray Honors List, TU Athletic Director's Honor Roll and the Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Award. In 2017, he was also the recipient of the Tusculum University Freshman of the Year Academic Award.
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 playing 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.
Named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the trophy has been prominently displayed inside its official home at the New York Athletic Club since 2013, and the winner is honored each year during a special luncheon at the venue.
An All-Ivy League player and the captain of Columbia's 1961 Ivy League championship team, Bill Campbell found his true calling after an unlikely career change at age 39 from Columbia football coach to advertising executive. His ability to recruit, develop and manage talented executives – all lessons learned on the gridiron – proved to be a critical component of his ability to inspire his business teams to the highest levels of success.
Campbell joined the NFF Board in 1978 while he was still a coach at Columbia, and he continued to serve with distinction until his passing in 2016. In 2004, the NFF recognized Campbell's contributions and accomplishments by presenting him with the NFF Gold Medal, the organization's highest honor. In 2009, the NFF renamed college football's premier scholar-athlete award as The William V. Campbell Trophy® in his honor.
Tusculum Sports Hall of Famer Dr. Jarrell NeSmith was a national finalist for the Campbell Trophy in 2009. It was won that year by Florida Heisman Trophy quarterback Tim Tebow.