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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State senior linebacker Brandon Smith (Winfield, Pa.) is among the semifinalists for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF).
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. The Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Penn State’s lone Campbell Trophy winner was John Urschel in 2013.
Smith, who was selected to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, has 11 tackles, including two tackles for loss, in four games this season. Last year, Smith started the season as the third-string Mike linebacker but was thrust into starting in the third game of the season due to a series of injuries to the three opening day starting linebackers. Smith shined in his expanded role, ranking sixth on the team with 54 tackles and leading the squad with two interceptions. He also had three pass breakups and 4.0 tackles for loss. Smith was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after posting 14 tackles in a win over Maryland. His interception and 22-yard return on the first defensive possession of the second half at Purdue sparked a 45-7 second-half surge by the Nittany Lions.
A native of Winfield, Pennsylvania, Smith graduated with a degree in kinesiology last December. He is working on a second degree in health policy and administration and owns a 3.81 GPA. He is a seventh-time Dean’s List honoree and recorded a pair of 4.0 semesters during his academic career. In 2016, Smith was selected CoSIDA Academic All-District and was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar recipient. He intends on working in the health care field.
The senior is also active in the community. In addition to the numerous community service activities that he does as part of the Nittany Lions, Smith helps with his wife’s non-profit organization, Honduran Soles, which provides shoes to kids that need them in various countries. He and his wife traveled to Honduras during spring break in 2015 helped build a soccer field. He and his wife have volunteered at homeless shelters, and done other community work through their church, Revival Tabernacle, in Watsontown, Pennsylvania, near his hometown.
Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program became the first initiative in history to award postgraduate scholarships based on both a player’s academic and athletic accomplishments, and it has recognized 828 outstanding individuals since its inception. The Campbell Trophy®, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program’s prestige, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL draft picks.
The fourth-ranked Nittany Lions host Indiana Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network in the “Generations of Greatness” game. The game can also be heard on GoPSUsports.com and the Penn State Sports Network.
Single-game tickets for the 2017 Penn State football season presented by PSECU are available for three home games (Indiana, Rutgers, Nebraska). For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2018 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 9 a.m-4:30 p.m. More than 9,000 new season tickets have been sold and the season ticket allotment for 2017 has been exhausted.