Virginia senior linebacker Micah Kiser was named Wednesday as a finalist for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the top scholar-athlete in the nation in college football.
The award is presented by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, and Kiser was among the 13 players in all divisions to make the cut from an original list of 181 semifinalists.
Kiser, a Baltimore native, will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. He, along with the other 12 finalists, will attend the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5 in New York, where his accomplishments will be highlighted.
During the event, one member of the class will be declared the winner of the Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
The event, at the New York Hilton Midtown, will be live-streamed on ESPN3 starting at 8:30 p.m.
“We have a saying here … how you do one thing is how you do everything, and Micah does everything, no matter what area it is in his life, with just the highest of standards and the highest of excellence,” Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “And now he's one of the finalists for the academic Heisman, which is just extraordinary because when you consider how hard he plays and how much time he invests in preparing to play football, which he does, and then every time I hear about Micah, no matter what area, from someone in the community, it's just, man, what an exemplary young man. And then the professors, the teachers, classmates, there's nothing but excellence as part of who he is.
“It's so important in helping us build a culture of what U.Va. football really looks like, and we believe in what's called the ‘and,’ and that means it's football and academics and social and spiritual and service, and he's exactly what I would like an entire team to look like.”
The recipient of the Campbell Trophy will also be honored at the NFF Board of Directors meeting and at a reception hosted by its official home, the New York Athletic Club, on Dec. 6.
Kiser will be recognized during a college football awards show on ESPN at the College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 7 in Atlanta. Finally, as part of the NFF’s partnership with the College Football Playoff, the Campbell Trophy winner will return to Atlanta to be recognized on the field during the national championship game Jan. 8.
The trophy is named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the former chairman of Intuit, a former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal.
The award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy. A total distribution of $241,000 in scholarships will be awarded Dec. 5, pushing the program’s all-time distributions to more than $11.3 million.
Kiser was a Football Writers Association of America second-team All-American in 2016 after finishing No. 1 in the ACC and No. 4 in the nation with 11.2 tackles per game. He was also named a CoSIDA second-team Academic All-American honoree in 2016. The two-time first-team All-ACC honoree has led the league in tackles each of the past two seasons.
“I've seen him after wins and after losses and after in-betweens and good days and bad days, and he just is a — man, he just works so hard to be exceptional,” Mendenhall said. “We have an extra session, and we meet and practice really early. The team meetings are at 6:30 every morning. There's another optional kind of session that's at 6, which means the guys have to be here before — it's in the 5 range in the morning, and Micah is one of about 12 players on the team that he's there every single day. That's the earliest guys here doing extra to start the day, and man, it's so powerful.
“It's inspiring to me as a 51-year-old man and father to see a young guy doing extra just for the sake of there's extra to do, and the example that's setting is just — I'm so appreciative of that.”
Already in 2017, Kiser has been named a midseason second-team All-American by The Associated Press. He is a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.