Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish has been named a semifinalist for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy and is also a candidate for one of 15 NFF National Scholar-Athlete awards, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced Thursday.
Harnish, a senior from Bluffton, Ind., is one of only 47 Football Bowl Subdivision candidates for the awards, with seven nominated from Mid-American Conference schools.
Both the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, and the Campbell Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, honor college football student-athletes who excel both on the field and in the classroom.
Institutions can nominate one senior player for the award, and the candidate must have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.2, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
The Huskies’ starting quarterback for the last four seasons, Harnish exceeds every criteria.
He earned his undergraduate degree in business management from the NIU College of Business last spring with a 3.65 grade point average. A three-time Academic All-MAC selection, Harnish is currently pursuing his M.B.A. from NIU.
On the field, Harnish, who has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Manning Award, the Maxwell Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year, has continued a record-setting career in his senior season.
Through the first four games of the 2011 season, Harnish ranks 10th in the country in passing efficiency and also leads the MAC in total offense. He is completing a career best 73.2 percent of his passes (71-of-97) for 861 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception. Harnish has also scored five rushing touchdowns and totaled 285 rushing yards on 39 carries for a 7.3 yards per carry average.
He broke Northern Illinois’ 48-year-old record for career touchdowns responsible last week versus Cal Poly and already owns the NIU career and single season marks for total offense. The NIU career marks for pass completions and passing yards are also within reach. He has started 35 games at quarterback for Northern Illinois.
As a junior, Harnish became the first Huskie signal-caller to earn first team All Mid-American Conference honors after leading Northern Illinois to a record-setting season in 2010. He led the conference and ranked 11th in the nation in passing efficiency and his 3,366 yards of total offense (2,530 passing, 836 rushing) set a school record. He was named the MAC Player of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus after leading NIU to a school-record 11 wins in 2010.
Harnish follows 2010 Northern Illinois nominee Mike Krause and 2009 semifinalist Brandon Bice as the Huskies’ latest candidates for the National Football Foundation honor. Other Other recent Huskie semifinalists include offensive lineman Jon Brost (2008) and current Dallas Cowboys starting left tackle Doug Free (2006). Two Northern Illinois players have been honored with NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards and earned the scholarship – quarterback Josh Haldi (2004) and safety Patrick Stephen (1998).
Finalists for the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 26 and will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. All 16 finalists will travel to New York City December 6 to be honored during the 54th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. On that night, the Campbell Trophy winner, who will earn a $25,000 scholarship and a 25-pound bronze trophy, will be announced.
Harnish and his Northern Illinois Huskies open Mid-American Conference play at Central Michigan at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. The game will be carried online at ESPN3 and can be heard on the radio at WSCR-670 AM and WLBK-1360 AM.