IRVING, Texas (News release) – Adding to his already impressive achievements on and off the field, Arkansas senior linebacker Brooks Ellis was named a National Scholar-Athlete and one of 12 finalists for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy by the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
Considered by many to be the “Academic Heisman,” the Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Ellis and the 11 other finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. 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 the winner of the 27th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
Selected from a nationwide pool of 156 exceptional semifinalists among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, Ellis is the only student-athlete in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to be selected as an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. He is the fourth Arkansas player in school history to receive the honor and the first since William Shoup in 1978.
A three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member, Ellis carries a 3.8 GPA as a pre-professional exercise science major with aspirations of being a doctor after his playing days. In addition to his major, Ellis is on a pre-med plan and spent a week in Belize this past May with his biology classmates. Ellis was named to the 2015 Academic All-America second team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) for his efforts in the classroom last season.
The Fayetteville native and two-year team captain leads the Razorbacks in tackles this season with 57 through eight games to rank seventh in the SEC. For his career, he has totaled 264 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, 12 pass breakups and four interceptions, returning one 47 yards for a touchdown during a win at then-No. 15 TCU earlier this season.
Ellis has spent time volunteering with the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas, Boys and Girls Club, Book Hogs – Read to Win program, Ozark Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, among other community service projects. He is also a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, became the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Including the 2016 recipients, the NFF has honored 828 individuals with National Scholar-Athlete Awards. The honorees have used the financial support to earn more than 150 medical degrees, 100 law degrees, 80 MBAs and 43 PhDs. Continuing their excellence on the field, 175 recipients have played in the NFL with an average career of six seasons or double the length of a typical NFL player.