IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior defensive end Zach VanValkenburg has been named a semifinalist for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is annually awarded by the National Football Foundation to the nation’s top scholar-athlete. The announcement was made Wednesday by the National Football Foundation.
VanValkenburg (6-foot-4, 267-pounds) has started all four games at defensive end for the 4-0 Hawkeyes in 2021. He has totaled six solo tackles and five assists, with 1.5 tackles for loss and three QB pressures.
VanValkenburg carried a 3.42 GPA as an undergraduate at Hillsdale College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. At Iowa, he has earned his master’s degree in Eastern European Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies.
Candidates for the Campbell Trophy must 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 NFF will announce 12-14 finalists for the award Oct. 27, with each finalist to receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. All finalists will be invited to the 63rd NFF annual Awards Dinner in Las Vegas on Dec. 7. The Campbell Award winner will receive a $25,000 scholarship.
Former Iowa linebacker James Morris was one of 16 finalists for the Campbell Trophy in 2013, earning an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. Other Iowa honorees include defensive lineman John Charles Hendricks (1968), defensive back Bob Elliott (1975), tight end Mike Flagg (1987), offensive lineman Derek Rose (1998) and linebacker Mike Klinkenborg (2007).
VanValkenburg is also one of 42 candidates named to the 2021 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List.
The native of Zeeland, Michigan, earned second-team All-Big Ten honors while starting every game in 2020. He tied for first in the nation with four fumble recoveries and recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors following a career-best performance with three sacks and five tackles in Iowa’s 35-7 win at Minnesota.
Iowa continues its season Friday evening at Maryland (7:05 p.m. CT, FS1). The Hawkeyes return home to host Penn State Oct. 9 (3 p.m. CT, FOX).