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UNI's Karter Schult award finalist

UNI's Karter Schult prestigious award finalist

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The setting Thursday night was the iconic Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom in New York City.

The event was the 59th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner.

UNI football All-American, Karter Schult, honored as a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the 'Academic Heisman Trophy.'

Schult, a native of Tripoli, one of just 12 finalists for the prestigious award.

Zach Terrell of Western Michigan won the Trophy as the 27th William V. Campbell award, edging out Karter Schult for the national award.

The William V. Campbell Trophy is one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. 

“Zach and his fellow members of the 2016 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class represent more than just the standout athletic ability seen on the field,” NFF Chairman Archie Manning said, whose sons, Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli, were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. 

“Their academic achievements and their contributions as leaders in the community send a powerful message about the young men who play our sport. They have taken full advantage of the educational opportunities created by college football, and they have created a compelling legacy for others to follow.”

Schult is one of two student-athletes in UNI football history to be named a finalist for the prestigious award, joining Josh Mahoney who attended the awards dinner as a finalist in 2009. As part of the 2016 NFF National Scholar-Athlete class, presented by Fidelity Investments, Schult will claim an $18,000 scholarship for his postgraduate education. 

His statistics in 2016 have shown that he has been busy on the field, but Schult has shown his exemplary attitude in the classroom. He was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team, becoming the first UNI football player to earn back-to-back first-team selections. 

During the 2016 season, he also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District for the second time in his career and became a two-time MVFC Scholar-Athlete first-team honoree. He is a three-time MVFC President’s Academic Excellence Award winner and has also earned the Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award the past three seasons. 

“I pride myself not only being an athlete, but excelling in the classroom, which is really important to me,” Schult said earlier today at the NFF Awards press conference “Also making an impact in the community is something really special to my heart because growing up in a really small community, I know it takes that togetherness of a community to build something great.” 

Schult ended the season leading all of Division I football (FCS & FBS) in sacks with 17.0 and tied for second in the country in tackles for loss with 24.0. His 17.0 sacks in 2016 ranks second all-time in single-season quarterback sacks while his 24.0 tackles for loss beat the UNI record of 23.0 that he set in 2015.

He finished his career at UNI ranked first all-time in career tackles for loss (56.0), yards from tackles for loss (266), yards from sacks (215) and quarterback hurries (20). He also ranks second in career sacks with 35.5.

He finished third on the team in total tackles with 69 in 2016, leading all defensive linemen in the league in the category. Along with his towering sack and tackle for loss total, Schult also racked up four quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, a blocked kick, a safety and his first-career interception.

He started all 11 games at defensive end for the Panthers, recording at least one sack in 10 of the 11 games. Along with his single-season records in 2016, Schult tied the school record for tackles for loss in a game with 5.5 against #14 Montana. The senior was named MVFC Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2016. 

Off the field, Schult is an avid volunteer with the Cedar Valley Boys and Girls Club, working 30-plus hours with the organization and helping kids with reading comprehension and sports.

He has volunteered as a mentor at Bremwood Correctional Facility and helped with UNI Dance Marathon to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. He served as a volunteer coach for area football and baseball teams and assisted with Northeast Iowa Special Olympics.

Schult is also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the best defensive player in FCS football. The winner of the award will be announced on the evening of Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.

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