Sean Mahone hopes to cap his senior season as the winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy

Gold and Blue Nation

WVU safety up for the so-called "Heisman Trophy for academics"

It’s the night Sean Mahone has been patiently waiting for since Oct. 27 — the 63rd Annual National Football Foundation Awards Dinner. Mahone is one of 12 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, for which the winner will be announced tonight in Las Vegas.

The Campbell Trophy, colloquially tabbed the Heisman of academics, is awarded annually to an individual who demonstrated the “absolute best in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.”

“It’s an incredible honor. I’m glad to set a positive example for my family, University, coaches and teammates,” Mahone said on Monday night in an interview with the NFF. “I’m very grateful and proud to be a part of this prestigious event and it’s something that I’m always going to remember.”

The redshirt senior has taken full advantage of the opportunities WVU has to offer over the past couple of years. Mahone graduated magna cum laude with a degree in management information systems in 2020. In May of 2021, he earned his MBA and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. He is one of two finalists with a master’s degree. He is also a four-time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 selection and a member the Big 12 Commissioner’s and the WVU Garrett Ford Academic honor rolls. To Mahone, a NFF National Scholar-athlete, this accomplishment for his efforts in the classroom means just as much as any accolade earned for his on-field talent.

“It’s very meaningful. I want to set a good representation for myself and I want younger people to see it’s not just about football,” Mahone said. “Off the field stuff like academics, you have to take that seriously. It’s huge because I went to set an example for people who come in my shoes one day.”

Mahone credited his academic advisors for helping him become a finalist for this prestigious honor, adding time management is something he learned at WVU that has helped him tremendously with his education. As for what he plans to do once his playing days are over is still to be determined, but one thing is for certain, he’s done everything he can to set himself up for future success.

The NFF Annual Awards Dinner will be streamed live starting at 10 p.m. ET and officials anticipate the Scholar-Athlete portion to start approximately at 10:30 p.m. ET.

2021 William V. Campbell Trophy finalists:
Troy Andersen, LB – Montana State (3.91 GPA – Agricultural Business)
Thomas Booker, DE – Stanford (3.88 GPA – Economics & Communications)
Mike Caliendo, OL – Western Michigan (3.90 GPA – Biomedical Sciences)
Sean Clifford, QB – Penn State (3.45 GPA – Public Relations)
Cameron Dukes, QB – Lindsey Wilson [KY] (3.89 GPA – Physical Education & Health)
Patrick Fields, DB – Oklahoma (3.82 GPA – Accounting)
Matt Henningsen, DE – Wisconsin (4.00 GPA – Electrical Engineering)
Aidan Hutchinson, DE – Michigan (3.54 GPA – Applied Exercise Science)
Joshua King, LB – U.S. Merchant Marine Academy [NY] (3.73 GPA – Marine Engineering)
Charlie Kolar, TE – Iowa State (3.99 GPA – Mechanical Engineering)
Henry Litwin, WR – Slippery Rock [PA] (3.66 GPA – Safety Management)
Sean Mahone, S – West Virginia (3.60 GPA – Management Information Systems)
Grant Morgan, LB – Arkansas (3.66 GPA – Kinesiology)

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