Heeman Named Semifinalist for Campbell Trophy
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Fifth-year senior Zack Heeman of the Rutgers football team has been named a semifinalist for the 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame announced Wednesday. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. From Budd Lake, New Jersey, Heeman earned his undergraduate degree as a psychology major with an education minor in May. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, he is now a graduate student in the counseling psychology program. Heeman merited Big Ten Distinguished Scholar status last year after posting a GPA of at least 3.7. Off the field, Heeman has dedicated time to numerous causes while a member of the RU football team and was a nominee for the AFCA Good Works Team, which is considered one of the most prestigious off-the-field accolades in college football. One initiative involved speaking to 20 different Monmouth county high schools as part of The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide on mental health and resiliency to honor his brother, Luke. Heeman also has taken part and raised money for the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk. Other causes Heeman has supported include Operation Shoe Box, which sends simple supplies to military troops, soup kitchens, community cleanups, football clinics and children's hospital visits. In addition, Heeman has joined his teammates at the Special Olympics New Jersey Opening Ceremony on multiple occasions. Heeman has been a versatile offensive lineman for the Scarlet Knights, appearing in 20 career games. "Zack is as good a leader that I probably have had in my 20 years of coaching," offensive line coach AJ Blazek said. "When you talk about our team, our offensive line, he is basically my right-hand man. He is the force on things and has the pulse of the group. If I got a guy up, I got a guy down, he is definitely confident enough to come in and go 'hey coach, keep an eye on this guy, push this guy, lay off this guy.' He is my pulse, as good as I have had in 20 years." "I cannot thank Rutgers and all the staff members enough for what they have done for me," Heeman said. "They prepared me as a man in order to handle adversity and continue to be levelheaded with the highs and lows. I think whatever comes my way they have prepared me enough on the field as a man and as a future father and just as a husband to be the best I can be." With 179 semifinalists from across all division nationally selected, the NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 31, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 60th NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. Live during the event, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 29th William V. Campbell Trophy® and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000. Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding football, follow the program on Twitter (@RFootball). For additional updates, please download the Gameday App.