AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific senior strong safety Nick Grunsky was recognized as one of college football’s “best and brightest” with his selection as a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete awards, presented by Fidelity Investments.
As one of 170 nominees for the NFF National Scholar-Athlete awards, Grunsky is also a semifinalist for the 2013 William F. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.
Grunsky is one of 24 semifinalists from NCAA Division II programs, and he is the only semifinalist representing the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. He is one of 64 semifinalists nominated at a defensive position.
“This recognition for Nick is a reflection of who he is and how he represents this great university,” Azusa Pacific football head coach Victor Santa Cruz said. “We are proud of the way he has developed, and we are honored to have him represent our football program and our university in this rare and distinguished class that he’s a part of. We believe he’s a worthy candidate for this unique honor.”
Grunsky, in his fourth year of involvement with the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Azusa Pacific, is a second-year starter in the Cougar secondary, and he was one of a league-high 13 Azusa Pacific representatives on the 2012 GNAC Academic All-Conference Team. In the areas of campus activities, leadership and citizenship, Grunsky has volunteered at a local food bank, served on the color guard at university commencement exercises, and completed supplementary military training and leadership development courses over the past two summers.
In the NFF’s official announcement, NFF Chairman Archie Manning said, “We take great pride in the record participation by the number of schools in the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program this year. It is important for us to showcase that success on the football field starts with winners in the classroom and the community. This year’s record-breaking number of nominations further illustrates the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders.”
Nominated by 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. 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 NFF Awards Committee selects up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, October 31. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 10 during the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy.