LSU Gold

Football's Williams Among Campbell Trophy Semifinalists

by Michael Bonnette
Football's Williams Among Campbell Trophy Semifinalists

BATON ROUGE – LSU senior running back Josh Williams has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2023 William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday.

The William V. Campbell Trophy is presented annually to college football’s premier student-athlete. A record 201 players were nominated for this year’s award. Former Tiger Rudy Niswanger won the award in 2005.

In addition to Niswanger, LSU has had seven players earn the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. The list includes Robert Dugas, 1978; James Britt, 1982; Nacho Albergamo,1987; Sol Graves, 1990; Chad Kessler, 1997; Bradie James, 2002; and Rodney Reed, 2003.

Now in its 34th year, the Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.

Williams earned his undergraduate degree from LSU in marketing, graduating with a 3.4 grade point average. He’s a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was named the 2023 NFF Hampshire Honor Society.

Williams, who is also a member of LSU’s Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, is currently enrolled in the Flores MBA Program.

On the field, Williams has helped the Tigers to a 3-1 mark following last week’s win over Arkansas. In the win over the Razorbacks, Williams had a 41-yard run that setup LSU’s first points of the season. In four games, Williams has rushed 145 yards and a TD. He’s also caught two passes for 20 yards.

Originally a walk-on, Williams earned a scholarship prior to the 2020 season. He was a scout team member of LSU’s national championship team in 2019 and has been a steady contributor since. He 38 career games, Williams has rushed for 862 yards and seven touchdowns.

Off the field, Williams is a routine participant in community service endeavors. He’s a legacy member of Jack and Jill of America, an organization built on cultural awareness, educational development and volunteer service projects.

Last May, he was one of 11 LSU football players who studied abroad, travelling to Senegal for 10 days where the group learned about the culture of the Senegalese. The trip included an educational component as well as community service.

“These 201 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy® winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “During the past seven decades, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards have recognized 906 college football players who excelled as the best our great sport has to offer. This year’s semifinalists build on the tradition, further illustrating the power of football to develop the next generation of influential leaders.”

The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 25, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2023 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. 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. Live 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. Click here for more information on the Awards Dinner, including options to purchase tickets online, special travel rates to the event from Delta Air Lines and room rates at the ARIA.

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.

“The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools and coaches on their tremendous accomplishments,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist’s achievements, showcasing their ability to balance academics and athletics at the highest level. The NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from this outstanding group of candidates.”

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, and the NFF has recognized 906 outstanding individuals since the program’s inception. This year’s postgraduate scholarships will push the program’s all-time distribution to more than $12.6 million.

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. 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 storied venue.