South Dakota State University quarterback Taryn Christion was named Wednesday as one of 13 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy®, which is awarded annually to college football's top scholar-athlete.
The award is presented by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame in partnership with Fidelity Investments.
Christion is the fourth Jackrabbit to be named a Campbell Trophy® finalist and recipient of an NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award, joining Ryan Berry (2008), Zach Zenner (2014) and Jake Wieneke (2017). In the past five years, the Jackrabbits have had more semifinalists than Duke.
A senior from Sioux Falls, Christion has rewritten the Jackrabbit and Missouri Valley Football Conference record books, holding career marks of 11,601 yards of total offense and 91 touchdown passes through Oct. 28. He also holds the SDSU career passing yardage record with 10,292 yards, putting him within 300 yards of the league record.
A two-time all-conference performer, Christion was named the 2016 MVFC Offensive Player of the Year, while also earning third-team All-America honors. He established SDSU single-season records with 3,714 passing yards and 4,049 yards of total offense in 2016, while setting the single-season mark for touchdown passes in back-to-back seasons with 30 in 2016 and 35 in 2017.
Twice a team captain, Christion started Football Championship Subdivision playoff games each of his first three seasons, leading the Jackrabbits to the FCS semifinals and a school-record 11 victories in 2017.
In addition, Christion has been a two-time first-team selection to the MVFC All-Academic Team with a 3.61 GPA while majoring in economics. He also has made an impact in the community, helping organize an on-campus "Be The Match" bone marrow registry drive and serving in a leadership role within the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
"Taryn’s analytical skills in his business economics classes match his analytical skills on the field. He has the ability to rapidly assimilate information and optimize the best strategy: great skills for a future business leader,” said Eluned Jones, professor and department head of the Department of Economics.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the Campbell Trophy® and NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility, have a GPA 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.
A pool of 179 semifinalists was pared to the 13 finalists by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
The finalists will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and will travel to New York City for the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 4, 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 29th William V. Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
A total distribution of $241,000 in scholarships will be awarded Dec. 4, pushing the program's all-time distributions to more than $11.5 million.
The Dec. 4 event, which will take place at the New York Hilton Midtown, will be streamed live on ESPN3.com, starting at 7:30 p.m. Central Time.
The Campbell Trophy® is named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, the former 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.