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Yale's Oso Ifesinachukwu and Holy Cross' Peter Oliver named finalists for 'academic' Heisman

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Provided Photograph / Matt Dewkett
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Yale
Yale's Oso Ifesinachukwu (9), who has a 3.67 GPA and is studying biomedical engineering, was among 15 players named finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, an award given to college football’s top scholar-athlete.

Yale defensive lineman Oso Ifesinachukwu and Holy Cross running back Peter Oliver were named finalists Wednesday for the William V. Campbell Trophy, given to college football's top scholar-athlete.

Ifesinachukwu has a 3.67 GPA and is studying biomedical engineering. Oliver, who attends Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., has a 3.95 GPA and is studying chemistry and Spanish.

Finalists are chosen from all levels of college football by the National Football Foundation and earn an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.

The winner will be announced Dec. 6 at the NFF's College Football Hall of Fame banquet in Las Vegas and will receive an additional $7,000 scholarship and the Campbell trophy. Candidates are judged on accomplishments and leadership qualities shown on the field and in the classroom and community.

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Mark Seliger
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Provided Photograph / Holy Cross
Holy Cross' Peter Oliver, who has a 3.95 GPA and is studying chemistry and Spanish, was among 15 players named finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

Ifesinachukwu is slated to graduate in the spring and is interested in pursuing a medical degree with a focus on oncology. This season, he leads Yale with four sacks and five tackles for loss, and his four sacks are tied for fifth in the Ivy League.

Oliver is on pace to graduate in December and ranks second on the team behind quarterback Matthew Sluka and fifth in the Patriot League with 59.1 rushing yards per game. He's the school's sixth NFF National Scholar-Athlete, and its first since 1990.

Joining Ifesinachukwu and Oliver as finalists are Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez; Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell; Auburn kicker Anders Carlson; Dayton running back Jake Chisholm; Chicago running back Nicholas D'Ambrose; Fordham linebacker Ryan Greenhagen; UTSA offensive lineman Ahofitu Maka; Stanford offensive lineman Walter Rouse; Troy offensive lineman Austin Stidham; Wayne State linebacker Julius Wilkerson; Mississippi State receiver Austin Williams; Johns Hopkins offensive lineman JR Woods; and Saint John's (Minnesota) defensive lineman Michael Wozniak.

Previous winners of the Campbell Trophy include Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar last year, Justin Herbert of Oregon and Christian Wilkins of Clemson. Other former winners have gone on to become NASA astronauts, actors and professional sports coaches.

The 15 finalists were selected from a list of 156 semifinalists nationwide from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA.

This story contains information from The Associated Press.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.