Senior safety and Cornell football captain Jelani Taylor was named one of 12 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday.
The award recognizes “an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.”
As a finalist, Taylor will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and will attend the NFF Annual Award Dinner on Dec. 10. The winner of the Campbell Trophy will be announced at the dinner, which will be held in New York City.
Selected among 185 semifinalists, the 12 finalists were nominated by their schools and have a 3.82 GPA on average, according to the press release.
The NFF began presenting the award in 1990, and previous winners include former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. There has never been a winner from the Ivy League.
Taylor, who studies in the School of Hotel Administration, has a 3.96 GPA, according to the release. He was the 2019 recipient of the Richie Moran award, which honors the Cornell athlete who distinguishes themselves through “academics, athletics and ambassadorship.”
On the field, Taylor has anchored the Cornell defense, leading the team with 42 tackles and two interceptions. The Beecher, Michigan, native finished in the top 10 in the Ivy League in both tackles and pass breakups last season.