Darlington Wins OU's First Campbell Trophy

Mike Houck
By Mike Houck
Assistant A.D. / Strategic Communications

NEW YORK — Up for two national awards on the same day, University of Oklahoma senior center Ty Darlington made it a clean sweep Tuesday night by being named the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient during the 58th annual National Football Foundation Awards Dinner and College Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria hotel's grand ballroom. The Campbell Trophy is awarded to the individual deemed the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

Earlier in the day in New York, Darlington was named the 2015 winner of the Wuerffel Trophy, presented annually to the Football Bowl Subdivision football player who best exhibits exemplary community service.

Selected from a nationwide pool of 135 semifinalists from all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, Darlington and the 11 other Campbell Trophy finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. As this year's winner, Darlington will have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.

"When you look at the past award winners, the people on the NFF board and the people in the room tonight, I was in awe of every person that got introduced, every video that was played, every person that stepped up to the podium. It was incredible."
- Ty Darlington

Darlington will be honored at the NFF Board of Directors meeting and at a reception hosted by the New York Athletic Club, both on Wednesdsay, before flying to Atlanta to be recognized during Thursday's "Home Depot College Football Awards" show on ESPN at the College Football Hall of Fame. There he will join OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is one of three finalists for the Davey O'Brien Award.

"This award is truly what it means to be a student-athlete," said Darlington of the Campbell Trophy. "In a world where that gets twisted so often with the athlete part and what you can do on the field coming first, this is for the whole package. It's being a student first, then an athlete and also serving the community. It's a tremendous honor.

"When you look at the past award winners, the people on the NFF board and the people in the room tonight, I was in awe of every person that got introduced, every video that was played, every person that stepped up to the podium. It was incredible."

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, Campbell Trophy candidates had be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, 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 135 semifinalists were announced Sept. 24, and the class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.

Darlington, who has made 25 career starts, graduated from OU in two-and-a-half years with a 3.91 GPA in Arts and Sciences Planned Program (Health Promotion emphasis) and is working on his master's in Adult and Higher Education (Intercollegiate Athletics Administration emphasis).

From Apopka, Fla., Darlington was named a CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American last week for the second straight year. As a junior, he was named a Dr. Gerald Lage Award winner (highest academic honor given to a student-athlete by the Big 12 Conference) and earned the 1A Faculty Athletics Representatives Academic Excellence Award. The three-time OU President's Honor Roll member earned only two Bs during his undergraduate course work. He is a six-time Sooner Scholar and Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll selection.

Other honors secured by Darlington at OU were the 2015 Letzeiser Award (based on leadership, scholarship and service to the university), the 2015 Dan Gibbens Outstanding Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, the 2015 Athletics Director's Leadership Award, the 2015 Athletics Council Service Award, the 2014 Sooner Oath Award for male athletes and the 2012-13 Jay Myers Outstanding Freshman Award, presented by the OU Athletics Council.

"Ty is an AD-in-training," said OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione of Darlington. "He may have much bigger sights than that. He's exceptional. I start to run out of adjectives. He's just an extraordinary leader. A lot of times it's his influence by leading by example rather than actually doing something, but he does a lot. I can't say enough about him."

"Ty is an AD-in-training. He may have much bigger sights than that. He's exceptional. I start to run out of adjectives. He's just an extraordinary leader."
- Joe Castiglione

Darlington has also made a significant impact off the gridiron on OU's campus, around Oklahoma, the Big 12 region, Florida and abroad. He is serving as 2015-16 president of the Big 12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (served as 2014-15 vice president), is one of 15 Division I student-athletes who serves on the NCAA's autonomy legislation committee and was president of the OU Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter in 2013-14 and 2014-15 (he averages between 10-15 FCA speeches per semester).

Darlington also served as 2014-15 president of the OU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, helped lead the OU football volunteer efforts following the devastating tornadoes that hit Oklahoma in May 2013, volunteers at Oklahoma's Children's Hospital special events, has traveled to Haiti three times as part of the Mission of Hope (earthquake damage relief) and has served as a volunteer football coach at Apopka High School every year since graduation.

The NFF National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, became the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarship for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Including the 2015 recipients, the NFF has honored 816 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. Past recipients also include 13 Rhodes Scholars.

Darlington is the 10th NFF National Scholar-Athlete from OU and the first Campbell Trophy recipient. The award is 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. It comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy.

2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class
E.K. Binns, G, Navy, 3.43 GPA, EconomicsJacoby Boren, C, Ohio State, 3.83, Sustainable Plant SystemsJake Brendel, C, UCLA, 3.43, Economics
Taveze Calhoun, DB, Mississippi State, 3.51, Interdisciplinary Studies
Derek Crittenden, DE, Montana, 4.00, Chemistry
Ty Darlington, C, Oklahoma, 3.91, Arts and Sciences Planned Program
Jordan Dobrich, LB, Nevada, 3.85, Mechanical Engineering
Spencer Drango, T, Baylor, 3.71, Finance
Blake Frohnapfel, QB, Massachusetts, 3.65, Finance/Economics
Jordan Italiano, S, Kent State, 3.98, Biochemistry
Hank Spencer, LB, Mount Union, 3.99, Computer Science
Jason Vander Laan, QB, Ferris State, 3.77, Applied Math and Actuarial Science