Vols OL Brandon Kennedy Named Semi-Finalist for "Academic Heisman"

By Matthew Ray ,

Brandon Kennedy is in his sixth-year of college eligibility, and he has not ruled out the possibility of a seventh-year. Last month, Kennedy said, "You know, right now I'm kind of focusing on this season. It really wasn't in the plan, but whatever happens, after this season is up to chance. I'm just kind of taking it day by day as far as this sixth year that I have, and if it may happen in the future, it may, but as of right now I'm not really sure."

Kennedy's academic prowess has been highly regarded, and today, he was named a semi-finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

Over the years, the award has been dubbed as the "academic Heisman." Two former Tennessee Volunteers have won the award in Peyton Manning (1997) and Chris Munoz (2004).

The University released an official press release on Kennedy's honor:

Tennessee redshirt senior center Brandon Kennedy was named as a semifinalist for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy, announced the National Football Foundation on Thursday.

The Campbell Trophy, presented by Mazda, recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.

Each nominee must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

Kennedy, a veteran up front, was the Volunteers lone offensive lineman to start all 13 games in 2019 and started his 14th consecutive game at center in UT's 2020 season-opening win at South Carolina on Sept. 26. In total, he has made 15 starts in his two seasons at UT.

A Wetumpka, Ala., native, Kennedy is on track to earn a master's degree in agricultural leadership education and communications in December 2020, which will mark his third degree. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Alabama in recreation and sport management in just three years, the 2020 Preseason All-SEC member, transferred to Tennessee and obtained his master's degree in sports psychology and motor behavior in December of 2019.

Kennedy was named to CoSIDA's 2019 All-District 3 First Team after recording a 3.84 GPA in his graduate studies and was also named to the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2018 and 2019.

After being sidelined due to a season-ending injury in 2018, Kennedy was granted an additional year of eligibility and maximized his time in the classroom, on the field and in the community. While consistently being one of the Vol's highest-graded offensive linemen, he also volunteered at the Humane Society and the East Tennessee Children's Hospital. He also participated in the Read Across America campaign and with Tennessee's Special Olympics 2020 Winter Games.

The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists in November, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. One of the finalists will be named the winner of the 31st Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, and his postgraduate scholarship will be increased to $25,000.

Kennedy will take the field on Saturday for Tennessee at Noon ET against Missouri on the SEC Network.