DALLAS, Texas - Washington & Jefferson senior safety B.J. Monacelli (Cassadaga/Cassadaga Valley) was selected as one of the 170 best and brightest college football players Wednesday after being announced as a candidate for the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments.
The record-number 170 nominees also comprise the list of semifinalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best 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.
"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."
Monacelli is a three-year starter at safety for the Presidents and serves as one of the team's 2013 captains. He is one of the 39 semifinalists from NCAA Division III and the only player recognized from the Presidents' Athletic Conference.
In 25 career games, Monacelli has produced 117 tackles, including 73 solo stops. He has produced 4.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 24 pass breakups, including 17 a year ago. Monacelli's play on defense helped W&J claim the 2012 PAC Championship and earn him Second Team All-PAC laurels.
During the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Monacelli picked off three passes each year. His seventh career interception came last week versus Thiel, which ended a Tomcat drive at the goal line. After the 2012 season opener at Methodist, Monacelli was selected as the PAC Defensive Player of the Week.
A business administration major (Communication Arts minor), Monacelli owns a 3.49 grade-point average. He has twice been named to the Dean's List and plans on working towards a MBA degree after graduation from W&J.
This past summer, Monacelli worked as a marketing and sales intern at St. Bonaventure University. He also has served as a youth recreation coordinator/supervisor in the town of Stockton and helped develop a campus recycling tournament.
The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, Oct. 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.
In 2005, W&J quarterback Chris Edwards was a finalist and received the postgraduate scholarship. He joined Robert Dombrowski (1988) and Kenneth Jones (1989) as the only NFF scholarship winners in school history.