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Eastern Kentucky University football player Avery Pitt is a semifinalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

From a list of 156 semifinalists, the NFF will announce 12-14 finalists for trophy on Nov. 1. Each of the finalists will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2016 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity. One of the finalist will be named the winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy at the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 in New York City, and his postgraduate scholarship will be increased to $25,000.

Each nominee must meet the highest of standards based on their performance in the classroom, on the field and as outstanding leaders and citizens in the community. The candidates come from all levels of play in the NCAA and the NAIA.

Pitt is a redshirt senior defensive lineman from Henderson, Kentucky.  He has a 3.45 grade-point-average and is majoring in occupational safety. He is a team captain and a member of the players staff team leadership group. In four seasons, Pitt has started 27 times and played in 39 games. This year he has nine tackles through three games, including a sack and a team-best 2.5 tackles for a loss. He has also forced and recovered a fumble, and broken up one pass attempt. In 2015, Pitt was fourth on the team with six tackles for a loss. He recorded a sack for a loss of four yards at North Carolina State and finished with a season-high seven tackles at Eastern Illinois.

In addition to his success on the field and in the classroom, Pitt is involved in several campus organizations and community service projects. He is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Pitt has worked with the Hands and Feet project, traveling to Haiti in May 2015 to help build the foundation to a hydroponic system at a Jacmel orphanage, helped organize food donations for the on-campus food bank, was a Jock 'N Roll participant with proceeds from the event helping send two veterans to Ohio Valley Conference basketball tournament, participated in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation "Roaring for a Cure" walk, worked with students at Model School’s activity day multiple times and read books to students at local elementary school on Read Across America day.

Pitt is one of only 36 semifinalists from Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams and one of only three from Ohio Valley Conference schools.

The William V. Campbell Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast 678 years of tradition-selection excellence. Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.