The Wildcat’s All-American offensive lineman Ty Whitworth was named one of 199 semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy.
Players are nominated for the award based on their excellence in academics, performance on the field and community service contributions.
The 199 semifinalists for 2020 is an all-time record number of nominations.
The trophy spans every division of college football and is awarded by the National Football Foundation. It’s known across college football as the “Academic Heisman.”
Whitworth received All-Big Sky Academic Honors the last three seasons with the Wildcats, along with two first-team All-Conference offensive lineman selections in 2018 and 2019.
“It’s an honor, hearing players such as Peyton Manning win that kind of award. It places a special emphasis on it,” Whitworth said of his nomination.
Other notable past recipients of the Campbell Trophy include former NFL players Chad Pennington, Alex Mack, Tim Tebow and Justin Herbert.
Whitworth graduated in December 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
“I wanted to be able to have a degree, and also put in the time and effort to really earn it,” Whitworth said of his academic success.
Juggling the demands of practice and focusing on classes can be difficult for student athletes.
Whitworth said he’s been able to have success in both areas by just putting in the work and having the willpower to do it, also noting that being organized is maybe the most important part of his success academically.
After college, he wants to be a government teacher because of his experience in that class during his senior year of high school.
“I had a fabulous government teacher and, she’s the reason I wanted to be a teacher and teach anything political science related,” Whitworth said.
He is currently pursuing a Master of Education.
However, he’s not done with football yet. The Wildcat’s season, while postponed, is returning in the spring.
Whitworth’s been one of Weber State’s top players and a pillar on the offensive line for the past three seasons, helping the team reach new heights.
The Wildcat’s loss in the FCS Semifinals in December to James Madison is the closest the team’s ever been to reaching the National Championship game.
“Our goal is to win the Conference Championship again and keep that going, but I really do believe, and Coach Hill has expressed, we need to take that next step forward. I believe we have the team to do it, and the next step forward is winning the national title,” Whitworth said.
In order for the team to take the next step, they’ll have to continue to improve. The defense was the No.1 ranked scoring defense in the Big Sky last year, only giving up on average 20.8 points per game. The Wildcat defense also led the conference in sacks and interceptions, but the offense was the No. 8 scoring offense.
“A lot of last season you’ve got to give props to the defense, but I’m excited to see what the offense can do, and it’s on us to step it up, we had good instances as an offense here and there, but it’s got to be consistent to win a national title,” Whitworth said.
Despite the postponement, the Wildcats have been practicing since Sept. 22, and are working out for the upcoming season, continuing their “fall ball” practices.
“Whatever delays come our way we’ll work through it, and do it as a team,” Whitworth said.