Golden Eagle James Normand chosen as NFF National Scholar-Athlete

Golden Eagle James Normand chosen as NFF National Scholar-Athlete

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Selected among the best and brightest from the college gridiron, Tennessee Tech senior center James Normand is a finalist on the list of candidates for the 2013 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, presented by Fidelity Investments.

Normand, curently a graduate student who hails from Oak Ridge, Tenn., is one of just 46 players in the Football Championship Subdivision -- and one of only four in the Ohio Valley Conference -- to be on the list of finalists. He is joined in the league by Ben Stansfield of Austin Peay, Cameron Berra of Eastern Illinois, and Ichiro Vance of Eastern Kentucky.

“We take great pride in the record participation by the number of schools in the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program this year,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (William V. Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “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.”

One of two seniors in the Tech offensive line in 2013, James heads into the weekend having started in 29 consecutive games over the past three seasons. A five-time member of the Athletic Director's Honor Roll and twice listed on the OVC Commissioner's Adademic Honor Roll, Norman was also voted CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2011 as a sophomore.

Earlier this season, Normand scored a touchdown -- a rare feat for a center -- when he recovered a fumble in the end zone against Tennessee State.

Named All-State as a lineman during his outstanding four-year career at Oak Ridge (Tenn.) High School, he also earned a spot on the National Guard Academic All-State team. The first lineman to letter all four years at his high school, Normand was an effective offensive lineman, not allowing a single quarterback sack his final two seasons while splitting his playing time between center and tackle. The District 3A Lineman of the Year, he was picked for both the Tennessee-Kentucky Border Bowl and the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game. A two-time team captain, he also played two seasons of basketball and four on the baseball team, setting the school’s home run record as a junior.

A member of the National Honor Society, he is the son of James and Mary Normand. He earned his accounting degree in three years, and is now playing his final season as a graduate student while working toward master's of accounting degree.

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. 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 would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools on this tremendous honor,” said NFF President & CEO
Steven J. Hatchell. “We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist’s achievements, which show that football players can balance between academics and athletics at the highest level. There is no question that the NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from among this esteemed group.”

The NFF Awards Committee will select 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.

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 $10.4 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.

In 2011, the NFF and Fidelity Investments launched a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. As part of the initiative, Fidelity became the first presenting sponsor ever in the 55-year history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. Fidelity also helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. As part of the initiative, the NFF will present each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.

The past recipients of the
William V. Campbell Trophy include: Air Force’s Chris Howard (1990); Florida’s Brad Culpepper (1991); Colorado’s Jim Hansen (1992); Virginia’s Thomas Burns (1993); Nebraska’s Rob Zatechka (1994); Ohio State’s Bobby Hoying (1995); Florida’s Danny Wuerffel (1996); Tennessee’s Peyton Manning (1997); Georgia’s Matt Stinchcomb (1998); Marshall’s Chad Pennington (1999); Nebraska’s Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000); Miami’s (Fla.) Joaquin Gonzalez (2001); Washington University in St. Louis’ Brandon Roberts (2002); Ohio State’s Craig Krenzel (2003); Tennessee’s Michael Munoz (2004); LSU’s Rudy Niswanger (2005); Rutgers’ Brian Leonard (2006); Texas’ Dallas Griffin (2007); Cal’s Alex Mack (2008); Florida’s Tim Tebow (2009); Texas’ Sam Acho (2010); Army’s Andrew Rodriguez (2011); and Alabama’s Barrett Jones (2012).

Normand and the Golden Eagles will be in Kentucky this weekend to take on the Murray State Racers. Kickoff Saturday in Roy Stewart Stadium is set for 3 p.m. CDT.

Football Championship Subdivision
NFF Scholar-Athlete Finalists
Alabama State - Bobby Wenzig
Albany - Eric LaPorta
Appalachian State - Tony Washington
Austin Peay State - Ben Stansfield
Brown - Michael Yules
Bucknell - Tracey Smith
Butler - Matt Lancaster
Campbell - Kurt Odom
Coastal Carolina - Niccolo Mastromatteo
Columbia - Zach Olinger
Cornell - Jeff Mathews
Dartmouth - Michael Runger
Dayton - Colin Monnier
Delaware - Mike Milburn
Delaware State - Marco Kano
Drake - Brandon Coleman
Eastern Illinois - Cameron Berra
Eastern Kentucky - Ichiro Vance
Harvard - Cameron Brate
Holy Cross - John Macomber
Lamar - Kollin Kahler
Marist - Tyler Ramsey
Montana - Bo Tully
Montana State - Tanner Bleskin
New Hampshire - Mike MacArthur
North Carolina Central - Jordan Reid
North Dakota - Jake Miller
North Dakota State - Ryan Drevlow
Northern Arizona - Drew Emanuel
Northern Colorado - Seth Lobato
Northern Iowa - Dan Kruger
Portland State - Mitch Gaulke
Sacramento State - Markell Williams
Saint Francis - Kyle Harbridge
Sam Houston State - Matt Boyles
San Diego - Blake Oliaro
South Dakota State - Brandon Hubert
Southern Illinois - Austin Pucylowski
Stephen F. Austin - Ryne Chambers
Tennessee Tech - James Normand
Valparaiso - Alex Grask
Weber State - Tony Epperson
Western Carolina - Clark Sechrest
Wofford - James Zotto
Yale - Beau Palin
Youngstown State - Kurt Hess