By Garrett Aleckson —

University of Wisconsin–Stout defensive back Collin Laursen (Sr, Mondovi, Wis.) was nominated for the William V. Campbell Award. Laursen is one of three Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) student-athletes to be named as semifinalists for the award this season.

The National Football Foundation (NFF) awards the William V. Campbell Trophy to a college football player who excels in academics, community service and on-field performance. The award is considered to be one of the most prestigious academic awards in all of college football. Many also refer to the award as the academic equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, which is based solely on the on-field performance of college football athletes.

Laursen knows the importance of just being in the position of being nominated for the award. “It’s a national scholar athlete award for all divisions. One individual is nominated per institution. It’s a great recognition of hard work in school and the community. So, it’s a big honor to be nominated by UW–Stout. It feels great to be in this position,” said Laursen.

Laursen is no stranger to academic awards. He has been recognized for his academic achievements many times, saying “I have been on the Chancellor’s Award and Dean’s list for three years. I have also been recognized on the WIAC Honor Roll. So if you do well, you get recognized by them.” Laursen has also received some scholarships from chapters related to his engineering technology major.

Another aspect of the William V. Campbell Trophy is being active in the community. Laursen is has done many different activities with the community. “It’s pretty cool. We have a board by the football offices that show some things we can get involved with. I have been a part of going to elementary schools and hanging out with the kids during recess,” said Laursen.

He also gets involved with kids with special needs in the Menomonie area. “It’s called Thursday night thrill seekers. They have a Super Bowl party and we go there and hang out with them, play some games. So that’s pretty cool to be a part of,” he said.

On the field, Laursen has been a big leader for the team. He has been starting for three years, despite missing the 2013 season due to injury. In 2012, he was awarded All-WIAC defensive honorable mention.

A couple notable winners of the William V. Campbell Trophy are National Football League (NFL) Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow. Both are huge names in the NFL. Manning is a Super Bowl Champion and Most Valuable Player (MVP), as well as being named the Associated Press MVP five times. Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and two BCS National Championships in 2006 and 2008.

Being nominated for something that those players have won is really exciting for Laursen. “It’s awesome. You hear about those guys on a national level, in the news and on many of the major sports networks. To just be nominated for something that they have won is a really cool experience,” said Laursen.

Laursen is nothing short of appreciative of being nominated for the award. “I am very thankful to be nominated. It’s a great honor. I know other players from the past from UW–Stout that have been nominated are great guys on and off the field. So it’s a great honor,” said Laursen.

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