Oct. 1, 2009
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today (Thursday, Oct. 1) the 154 semifinalists for the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy (formerly known as the Draddy Trophy), endowed by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the 2009 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. Among the semifinalists is University of Michigan fifth-year senior punter Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg HS).
Schools are limited to one nominee who must be a senior or graduate student in his final year of eligibility. He must 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 award was renamed this fall in honor of Intuit chairman and former Columbia player and coach Bill Campbell.
The NFF Awards Committee will announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 29. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2009 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The Campbell Trophy winner, who will receive a bronze trophy and $25,000 scholarship, will be announced live at the NFF's Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of $277,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
Of the nominees, Mesko is one of only eight special teams players. Currently pursuing his master's in the School of Kinesiology, he earned his bachelor's degree from U-M's Ross School of Business in marketing and finance this spring. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Mesko was also recognized as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2009, the inaugural year of the award, having maintained a GPA of at least 3.7 in the 2008-09 academic year. He is also a 2009 Academic All-America candidate.
Mesko was recently named to the 2009 Allstate AFCA Good Works Teams®, honoring dedicated and hard-working student-athletes for their off-the-field achievements and selfless contributions to their communities. During the academic year, Mesko makes weekly visits to the U-M C.S. Mott Children and Women's Hospital as one of his many off-the-field community service projects. He was also a three-time participant in the U-M Football Carr's Wash for Kids charity event that helped raise money for the new children's hospital and has been a counselor every year at the U-M Women's Football Academy, which benefits the university's comprehensive cancer center.
On the field, Mesko is U-M's all-time leader in punts (220) and punting yardage (9,276). He was a 2008 semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation's best punter, and a 2008 first team All-Big Ten selection, leading the conference in punting average. This summer, he was named to the Playboy Magazine All-America team. He has appeared in 42 career games as the Wolverines' starting punter, with a career average of 42 yards per punt, the second-best career mark in school history.