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DALLAS — Sacramento State senior defensive back Markell Williams was named a semifinalist for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, it was announced today. The award, which is presented by the National Football Foundation, recognizes the top student-athlete in college football.

Williams has started every game at nickelback for Sacramento State over the last two seasons and has appeared in every game for the Hornets during his career. The Vacaville, Calif., native enters this week with 96 career tackles, including 5.0 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He has also intercepted a pair of passes during his career.

Williams will graduate in December with a degree in sociology. He has been a Big Sky Conference all-academic selection following his first three seasons and posted a perfect 4.00 grade point average last spring.

The senior is one of 170 candidates who are also up for the 2013 National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments.

"We take great pride in the record participation by the number of schools in the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program this year," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (William V. Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "It is important for us to showcase that success on the football field starts with winners in the classroom and the community. This year's record-breaking number of nominations further illustrates the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders."

Candidates for the awards 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 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.

The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, October 31. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 10 during the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy.