By Eden Schultz, Staff Writer
The Wheaton Football team ended their season with an 8-3 record. This achievement was accomplished in part by the leadership of senior captain and linebacker Eric Stevenson who has been chosen as an honoree and finalist for two nationally renowned awards.
Since 1959, the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame have been recognizing 12-15 college football players with the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award and Stevenson is the first Wheaton player to receive the award.
Athletes from all levels of college football are considered for the NFF
The Campbell Trophy is awarded to one of the finalists, honoring the best scholar-athlete in the nation.“It’s an incredible honor that I don’t think people realize,” Head Coach Mike Swider said. “This is for all levels of football— you have to be an outstanding player, student, and involved in the community. You can’t just be one or the other. When you look at how many teams are out there, and each team is 120 players, that’s a pretty incredible award.”
Each elected Scholar-Athlete will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The winner of the Campbell Trophy will get a $25,000 scholarship. The finalists will attend the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City, where their achievements will be highlighted and the winner of the Campbell Trophy will be announced.
Stevenson’s recognition as an NFF Scholar-Athlete reflects his disposition both on and off the field. “Eric has constant energy, and he’s always got this goofy smile on his face. He sets the tone every day at practice.”
Defensive Coordinator JJ Clark said. “He brings a contagious energy and just a joy to …playing football.” Stevenson has been a starter on the field for three years, leading the team in
Stevenson recorded 100 tackles in 2016, 85 in 2017, and 64 this 2018 season. He’s been selected for the All-CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) First Team, recognized as a CoSIDA Academic All-American and All-North Region Third Team selection.
“I am thankful and humbled at the fact that I have the honor to represent Wheaton College and DivisionIII football,” said Stevenson. “For me to be considered is a testimony of the Wheaton Football program, Coach Swider and how he works in the lives of young men. I ultimately hope it brings glory and honor to the Lord, the one from whom all good things come from.”