EVANSTON, Ill.--Northwestern senior left tackle Patrick Ward (Homer Glen, Ill./Providence Catholic) has been chosen as one of 15 student-athletes from FBS and FCS football to be named a recipient of a 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Award, the National Football Foundation announced Wednesday. The award carries with it an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and the right for Ward to be called a finalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy.
Ward and his fellow National Scholar-Athlete Award winners were chosen from a field of 147 of college football's most accomplished seniors, athletically and academically. The honorees will be recognized during the NFF's 55th Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 in New York City -- alongside the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame induction class -- where one of the award winners will be announced as the 2012 Campbell Trophy recipient.
Ward, who has started 34 consecutive games on Northwestern's offensive line, is a two-time Capital One Academic All-District honoree and was a first-team Capital One Academic All-American in 2011. The mechanical engineering major, who maintains a 3.94 cumulative GPA, also is a two-time recipient of the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten awards.
Ward's performance on the field this season has mirrored his efforts in the classroom, helping the Wildcats (6-2) post the third-best rushing attack in the Big Ten and twice being named NU's Offensive Player of the Game (vs. South Dakota, vs. Nebraska).
Ward joins Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead as Big Ten representatives in this year's National Scholar-Athlete Award class.
"This year's class contains some of the finest student-athletes to ever compete in college athletics in any sport," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "They have an average GPA of 3.67, which showcases their commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. Without exception, they embody what it takes to be great leaders. We are proud to hold them out as examples for future generations to emulate."
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 Campbell 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 $10.1 million.
2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award Recipients
Matt Barkley, QB, Southern California
Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
Cody Davis, SAF, Texas Tech
Nick Driskill, SAF, Mount Union
Nick Florence, QB, Baylor
Nabal Jefferson, DT, Northern Illinois
Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
Aaron Mullane, OL, West Texas A&M
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Nolan Nearhoof, DE, Robert Morris
Ethan Peterson, OL, MIT
Sean Renfree, QB, Duke
Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Patrick Ward, OT, Northwestern
Shane Zackery, WR, Saint Xavier (Ill.)