DURHAM, N.C. - The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Football Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday that Duke University redshirt senior quarterback Sean Renfree has been named one of 15 recipients of the 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award, presented by Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education.
The 15 honorees also comprise the list of finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. Selected from a nationwide pool of 147 exceptional semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, Renfree is joined in the class by Matt Barkley (Southern California), Rex Burkhead (Nebraska), Cody Davis (Texas Tech), Nick Driskill (Mount Union), Nick Florence (Baylor), Nabal Jefferson (Northern Illinois), Barrett Jones (Alabama), Aaron Mullane (West Texas A&M), Ryan Nassib (Syracuse), Nolan Nearhoof (Robert Morris), Ethan Peterson (MIT), Manti Te'o (Notre Dame), Patrick Ward (Northwestern) and Shane Zackery (Saint Xavier).
This season, Renfree has guided Duke to a 6-2 overall record - the school's best start since 1994 - by hitting on 164-of-237 (.692) pass attempts for 1,793 yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. In the ACC, he ranks first in pass completions per game (23.4), fourth in pass efficiency rating (142.2), fifth in passing yards per game (256.1) and eighth in total offensive yards per game (252.7).
The most accurate passing quarterback in Blue Devil history, Renfree has played in 36 career games with 30 starting assignments and completed 75-of-1,185 pass attempts for 8,145 yards with 43 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. On Duke's all-time charts, he ranks first in pass completion percentage (.646), fourth in passing yardage and fifth in touchdown passes. In addition, his passing yardage total is the 17th-highest in ACC history.
Earlier this year, Renfree was named to the American Football Coaches Association's 11-man Good Works Team for his community service efforts and will represent Duke at the 79th Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La. He also is a finalist for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award.
Renfree graduated from Duke in December of 2011 with a degree in public policy studies, boasting a cumulative grade point average of 3.40. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in humanities, where he holds a 3.81 GPA.
A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., Renfree becomes the third Duke player to earn the honor, joining Mike Diminick (1988) and Bill Obremskey (1983).
"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."
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. This year's class members finds themselves in good company, as past National Scholar-Athletes include former NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker (Oregon State), Gary Beban (UCLA), Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Tim Tebow (Florida).
"The 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class represents all that is right about college football," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar- Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They have displayed the same competitive fire to win in the classroom that has distinguished them as some of the best football players in the country. In addition, each has found time to give back with an impressive list of leadership roles in their respective communities. Ensuring that they continue their education with an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship is a privilege, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential."
Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will travel to New York City to be honored December 4 during the 55th 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. They each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the 23rd recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.
Named in honor of Bill Campbell (the chairman of Intuit, a 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 a $7,000 increase in postgraduate funds for a total scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening, pushing the program's all-time distributions to more than $10.1 million.
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 54-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.