Bethany College senior wide receiver Johnathan Foster (Cumberland, Md./Fort Hill) has been named as one of the 147 candidates for the 2012 National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete Awards, which also makes him a semifinalist for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, 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 25. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored December 4 during the 55th 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 Campbell Trophy.
Of the 147 semifinalists, Foster is one of only 41 nominees from Division III and is the only representative from the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC). He is the first Bison player in program history to recognized by the NFF. Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post-graduate scholarships based on both a player's academic and athletic accomplishments.
The Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990, adds to the program's mystique, having previously honored two Rhodes Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL draft picks. Past winners include Ohio State's Bobby Hoying (1995), Marshall Chad Pennington (1999), Ohio State's Craig Krenzel (2003), Florida's Tim Tebow (2009) and last year's recipient, Andrew Rodriguez from Army.
Foster truly stacks up as a worthy candidate for the Scholar-Athlete Award and the Campbell Trophy. On the field, he is a four-year starter and two-year captain. He was 10th in the PAC in receiving yards as a freshman and then was forced to miss all but two games of his sophomore season due to injury. Foster returned to the field to start all 10 games last year and tied for the team lead with four touchdown receptions.
This season, Foster is off to the best start of his career. He is ranked second in the PAC with 19 receptions, which have gone for 196 yards and one touchdown, a two-yard TD grab against Grove City Sept. 22nd. In his career, he has 86 career receptions, leaving him 14 away from becoming the 10th player in Bethany history to reach 100, for 961 yards and six touchdowns.
Foster's achievements off the gridiron are even more impressive. Start with his GPA of 3.926 as a psychology major (human services track) and his appearance on either the Dean's List or President's List for a 4.0 GPA every semester he's been at Bethany. He is a member of three honor societies on campus, including Bethany's prestigious Kalon Honor Society, which gives recognition to students of high character who have shown unselfish leadership within the College community.
Other awards earned by Foster during his Bethany tenure include the Richard B. Kenney Outstanding Freshman Award, the W.F. Kennedy Prize Winner as the Outstanding Junior Male and he earned acceptance into the Eastern Psychological Association for original research design. Foster has also worked in the McCann Learning Center on campus as a tutor, volunteered for The Neighborhood Academy Summer program and worked as an undergraduate assistant to Bethany President Dr. Scott Miller for the last three years.
"We're extremely proud of Johnathan being named to this very impressive, selective group of semifinalists from all over the country and all different levels of college football," said Bethany head coach Tim Weaver. "Johnathan has led our team by example since his freshman year. He's having the most productive season of his career, and his ability to not only succeed, but excel, as both a student and a player makes him a great role model for all the young men in our program. We're lucky to have him and wish him the very best as the selection process moves forward."
Johnathan is the son of Patricia Foster of Cumberland, Md.