Oct. 24, 2012
CONTACT: Kit Strief, assistant athletic director for athletic media relations, 806-651-4430, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mullane Named NFF National Scholar-Athlete and Finalist for William V. Campbell Trophy
CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M senior offensive lineman Aaron Mullane was announced as one of 15 college football players named as a recipient of the prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete and finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, announced Wednesday by the National Football Foundation.
"This year’s class contains some of the finest student-athletes to ever compete in college athletics in any sport,” said NFF President and CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “They have an average GPA of 3.67, which showcases their commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. Without exception, they embody what it takes to be great leaders. We are proud to hold them out as examples for future generations to emulate."
Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 4 during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. They each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the 23rd recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.
“The 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class represents all that is right about college football,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “They have displayed the same competitive fire to win in the classroom that has distinguished them as some of the best football players in the country. In addition, each has found time to give back with an impressive list of leadership roles in their respective communities. Ensuring that they continue their education with an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship is a privilege, and we know they have only begun to reach their potential.”
Mullane, a native of Amarillo and a Tascosa High School graduate, is one of five non-Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) student-athletes to win the prestigious honor. He was the only selection from Division II as the other four non-FBS honorees include one Football Championship Subdivision representative in defensive end Nolan Nearhoof of Robert Morris, along with Division III honorees safety Nick Driskill of Mount Union (Ohio) and offensive lineman Ethan Peterson of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and wide receiver Shane Zachery of Saint Xavier (Ill.) of NAIA.
The FBS honorees include; quarterback Matt Barkley of USC, running back Rex Burkhead of Nebraska, safety Cody Davis of Texas Tech, quarterback Nick Florence of Baylor, defensive tackle Nabal Jefferson of Northern Illinois, center Barrett Jones of Alabama, quarterback Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, quarterback Sean Renfree of Duke, linebacker Manti Te’o of Notre Dame and offensive tackle Patrick Ward of Northwestern.
“It is difficult to put into words what this accomplishment means to me,” Mullane said. “This past year has been such an exciting time in my life with applying to medical school and being elected as a captain of the football team which I have followed for years before the first time I ever put on a maroon helmet. I believe just being nominated for this honor was very special, but to be selected as a finalist and as a recipient of this incredible postgraduate honor is a blessing and an honor I will remember for the rest of my life. This scholarship will go toward paying for my medical education so that I can fulfill my dream of becoming a physician and improving the quality of life for others.”
In all, 147 student-athletes were nominated by their school’s sports information director for the award as 50 came from FBS schools, 35 from FCS institutions, 12 from Division II, 41 from Division III and nine from NAIA. Mullane was one of two student-athletes nominated from the Lone Star Conference. Senior quarterback Wesley Wood of Eastern New Mexico also was nominated.
Mullane has had a stellar career on and off the field. He has a 3.84 overall grade-point average and a 3.95 overall in the science discipline as a biology and chemistry double major. Mullane, who will graduate in December, has applied to medical school at six schools already. He has earned numerous academic scholarships and been a member of the Dean’s List and President’s List having semester GPA average of 4.0 in the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010, spring of 2011 and fall and spring of 2011-2012. He won West Texas A&M Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2009-2010 and 2011-2012.
On the field, he has lettered for three years on the offensive line. He is a team captain this season and has helped lead the Buffaloes to a 7-1 record and a league-best 6-0 mark in the Lone Star Conference. WT enters the week ranked 14th nationally.
In addition, Mullane earned Capital One/CoSIDA first team academic all-district honors in 2011, is a two-time academic all-conference selection and earned second team all-conference honors in 2011. He helped lead an offensive line that ranked second nationally in pass offense in 2011 (358.27), 14th in total offense (462.00) and ranked 18th in scoring offense at 36 points per game. In 2010, Mullane helped lead the team to second nationally in pass offense (422.92) and total offense (529.00) and third in scoring offense (42.00). In 2009, the team ranked sixth in passing offense (354.25) and 14th in total offense at 434.83 yards per game.
This season, Mullane and the Buffalo offense have been just as impressive as they are eighth nationally in passing offense at 346.75 yards per game, 16th in total offense (472.00) and 20th in scoring (38.88). Mullane and the offensive line have blocked for the nation’s 25th-leading rusher in senior Khiry Robinson (111.50) and for the eighth-leading passer in junior Dustin Vaughan as he has 25 touchdowns on the season to just five interceptions, while throwing for over 2,552 yards through eight games.
“Aaron has been a tremendous leader and the ultimate example of what a student athlete is,” said West Texas A&M head coach Don Carthel. “His ability to balance his workouts and class schedule, while still performing numerous duties with the medical field and community service projects, speaks volumes as to what kind of young man we have been working with. He was elected as one of our team captains, and his leadership has been crucial to our success as one of the top Division II programs in the country.”
The Buffaloes dip out of conference play this week as they travel to the University of West Georgia for a 7 p.m. CT kick Saturday night in the Gulf South Conference-Lone Star Conference First and Ten Challenge.