Duke’s DeVon Edwards, Wake Forest’s Ryan Janvion and East Carolina’s Zay Jones are among the 12 finalists named by the National Football Foundation on Tuesday for the William V. Campbell Trophy as college football’s top scholar-athlete. The three were selected from a nationwide pool of 156 semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA. Edwards, whose career ended prematurely because of a knee injury suffered in Duke’s win at Notre Dame, is a three-time All-American kick returner whose six kickoff returns for touchdowns rank third in NCAA history. He is also a former All-ACC selection as a defensive back who recorded 327 tackles, 10.5 sacks, five interceptions and six caused fumbles in his 44 games as a Blue Devil. A graduate student with a degree in psychology, Edwards is the sixth player to be named a Campbell Trophy finalist. David Helton won the award in 2014.”This award is about what kind of player you are, what kind of student you are, what kind of person you are,” Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe said. “For Devon to be named a finalist after suffering a season ending injury shows you how highly he’s regarded.” Janvion is Wake’s first NFF national scholar-athlete finalist. A three-time Academic All-ACC selection who maintains a 3.53 GPA in business and enterprise management, the senior safety is also a four-year starter and three-year captain for the Deacons. He led his team in tackles in both 2013 and ’14 and is currently 11th on the all-time Wake list with 322 career tackles. Jones, meanwhile, is in the process of putting together one of the most remarkable seasons in college football history for a wide receiver. He leads the nation with an average of better than 14 catches per game and has already amassed 114 catches for 1,094 yards in eight games. At his current pace, Jones won’t just surpass former teammate Justin Hardy’s school record of 121 catches in a season and his former teammate’s national career mark of 387, he’ll totally obliterate both. The senior communications major has been just as prolific in the classroom, maintaining a 3.56 GPA while earning Academic all-conference honors in each of his first three seasons with the Pirates.”Zay Jones, he’s a special one,” ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said. “I’ve been around a lot of great players, some spectacular players, and he’s one of the best on-field players I’ve been around. And he’s one of the best off-field performers I’ve been around on this level.Each of the 12 finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete class. The finalists will travel to New York for the 59th NFF Annual Awards dinner on Dec. 6, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. The winner of the Campbell Trophy will be announced at the event, with the recipient earning a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship. The other finalists are linebacker Chris Beaschler of Dayton, wide receiver Tim Crawley of San Jose State, linebacker Brooks Ellis of Arkansas, linebacker Carter Hanson of St. John’s (Minnesota), quarterback Taysom Hill of BYU, quarterback Cooper Rush of Central Michigan, defensive lineman Carter Schult of Northern Iowa, quarterback Tyler Sullivan of Delta State and quarterback Zach Terrell of Western Michigan.
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