The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced its semifinalists  today for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments.

Ball State football offensive lineman Vinnie Palazeti was one of the 181 semifinalists chosen when recognizing one of the most impressive groups of scholar-athletes in college football throughout the nation. 

From Owosso, Michigan, Palazeti is a three-time selection to the Academic All-Mid-American Conference team (2014, 2015 and 2016). He holds a 3.63 GPA as he earns his degree in professional sales. Expected to graduate in December, the senior is ranked among the top five percent of students in his major in the Miller College of Business. 

Vinnie Palazeti 

Redshirt Senior

Offensive Lineman

6'4 295 lbs.

Professional Selling Major

Palazeti has earned his position as 2017 team captain this year, as he has made more than 20 starts on the offensive line including all 12 games in his 2016 season as a redshirt-junior. He was also awarded Ball State's Ray Louthen Award (most improved) for his efforts in the 2016 season. 

Palazeti was just one of eight MAC players to be honored as a 2017 semifinalist. 

Every school can nominate just one athlete that meets the award's requirements. Candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have an outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong skills of leadership and citizenship. 

The finalists are selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized media group, College Football Hall of Famers and athletic administrators. 

There will be 12-14 finalists of the Campbell Trophy who will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments when the NFF announces the finalists Nov. 1. 

Those finalists will then travel to New York City for the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5. The dinner will highlight all of the finalists' accomplishments, while also naming the official winner of the 28th William V. Campbell Trophy. The declared winner will also have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000. 

“These 181 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning in a press release. “It is important for us to showcase their success on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year’s semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders.”

Manning's sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli Manning were named NFF National Scholarship Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. 

Palazeti and the rest of the Ball State football (2-2) squad will open up MAC play on the road on Saturday Sept. 30 when they travel to Western Michigan to take on the defending league champions. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Waldo Stadium.