East Haven, Connecticut, senior co-captain among 135 candidates for 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments
EASTON, Mass. (September 25, 2015) The Stonehill College football program has placed one of its top student-athletes among the semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments, as the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame announced its 2015 National Scholar-Athlete Award candidates.
Senior safety Anthony Masucci (East Haven, Connecticut/Notre Dame-West Haven) is among the 135 semifinalists across all levels of college football which have an average cumulative grade point average of 3.60, of which he is one of 20 nominees from NCAA Division II, five from Super Region 1 and three from the Northeast-10 Conference. Masucci, a CoSIDA Academic All-District and Northeast-10 Academic All-Conference selection as a junior, has earned a 3.59 cumulative grade point average as a finance major, with a minor in economics, at Stonehill.
It marks the third straight year Stonehill has had a Campbell Trophy and NFF Scholar-Athlete Award semifinalist after Masucci's former teammates Brian Harrington, '15 and James Lanier, '14, were selections the last two seasons. Masucci is the leader on a Stonehill defensive unit which leads the Northeast-10 in total defense (194.3 yds/gm), scoring defense (14.3 ppg), rushing defense (56.3 yds/gm) and passing defense (138.0 yds/gm) through the first three weeks of the season. The Skyhawks rank fifth nationally in Division II for total defense and rushing defense, while ranking 13th in pass defense and 22nd in scoring defense.
Masucci has started all three games (and 14 straight games dating back to his sophomore season overall) and ranks fourth on the team with 11 tackles (six solo), including 2.0 for a loss of eight yards. He posted a season-high six stops (one solo) in the Skyhawks season-opening 27-10 victory at No. 11/14 Bloomsburg University. The Stonehill co-captain is a two-time Division II Athletic Director's Association (ADA) Academic Achievement Award recipient for having a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or better. He has been named to the NE-10 Commissioner's Honor Roll and Athletic Director's Honor Roll all six semesters.
Masucci has appeared in 34 games over his Stonehill career, totaling 151 tackles (78 solo), including 8.0 tackles for a loss of 47 yards, with 0.5 sacks for a loss of three, two forced fumbles, four interceptions and six pass breakups. His 24 career starts rank second on the team. Masucci recorded a career-high 14 tackles at Bloomsburg in 2013.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete 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 will announce 15 finalists on Thursday, October 29. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2015 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 8 during the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner 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.
Named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, 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 and increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total post-graduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program's all-time distributions to more than $11-million.
Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post-graduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments. The William V. Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL draft picks.
Stonehill (3-0, 2-0 NE-10), among teams receiving votes in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll, is off to its best start since 2007. The Skyhawks are back in action tomorrow with a big early season matchup at LIU Post (3-0, 2-0 NE-10), the only other remaining unbeaten team in the NE-10. Following tomorrow's matchup at LIU Post, Stonehill will be home for four of the next five weekends, starting Saturday, October 3, as it hosts Southern Connecticut State University for its Purple & White Game at 6 p.m.