(Photo by Tab Brockman. Release courtesy of Murray State Media Relations).
Former Grizzly Toby Omli, now a senior on the Murray State football team, has been named as a semifinalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation announced Wednesday.
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 significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. In total, 156 football student-athlete across all four divisions of NCAA football and the NAIA were named as semifinalists, with Omli being just one of two Ohio Valley Conference honorees.
The Brookville, Kan. native is majoring in engineering physics and currently boasts a 3.82 GPA in addition to his prowess on the football field. So far this season, Omli has started each game for the Racers and is averaging 4.8 tackles per game to go along with 2.0 tackles-for-loss for a total of 11 yards of loss, 1.0 sacks for a total loss of eight yards and a forced fumble. Omli played two seasons at Butler in 2013 and 2014.
The end goal of the process is the Campbell Trophy which recognizes one individual each year as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. 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, presented by Fidelity Investments. 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 finalists will travel to New York City 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. At the event, one member of the class will be declared in dramatic fashion the winner of the 27th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
Named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the Campbell Trophy is a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship of $25,000. This year's postgraduate scholarships will push the program's all-time distribution to more than $11.1 million.