IRVING, Texas - Alabama senior center Ryan Kelly was selected as a semifinalist for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation, the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Football Hall of Fame has announced. Kelly is one of 56 semifinalists for the trophy presented by Fidelity Investments in the FBS division.
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 a 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.
"I am truly honored to be a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy," said Kelly. "Being a student-athlete and achieving my goals in the classroom as well as on the football field has been the most important thing I have done in my college career."
A standout in the classroom, Kelly graduated in the summer of 2014 with his undergraduate degree in marketing and is currently enrolled in classes working towards his master's degree in the same specialization, which he is scheduled to receive this December. During his undergraduate career, he was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll three times, the SEC Freshman Honor Roll and the Dean's list in both semesters of 2013. He currently holds a 3.75 grade point average in graduate school after finishing his undergrad coursework with a 3.298 cumulative GPA.
Kelly is an active member in the Tuscaloosa community as well as his hometown of West Chester, Ohio. A regular at elementary schools, hospitals and Habitat for Humanity builds, Kelly has consistently put forth a strong effort to give back to others. He also had a prominent role in the cleanup efforts the summer following the April 27, 2011, tornado that devastated Tuscaloosa.
Now in his third year as the Tide's starting center, Kelly is a three-year member of the Rimington Trophy watch list and has been named to numerous preseason All-American lists. As a junior, he anchored an offensive line that helped open holes for an average of 206.6 yards rushing per game and provided time for 277.9 yards through the air. Individually, Kelly did not allow a sack and missed just seven assignments across 806 snaps during Alabama's SEC Championship run a season ago.
"At some point your football career is going to come to an end, and you never really know when that time is going to come, so getting an education is vital," added Kelly. "Coach Saban and the academic support staff at The University of Alabama have provided me with unbelievable resources during my time here. Football is only going to take me so far, but the education I have received will serve me the rest of my life."
The NFF will announce 15 finalists on October 29, 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 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8, 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 26th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.