Nix Awarded William V. Campbell Trophy

By Rob Moseley, Editor-in-Chief

LAS VEGAS — For the second time in five years, college football’s premier award for athletic and academic achievement was bestowed upon an Oregon quarterback.

Four years after Justin Herbert became the first UO winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy, senior quarterback Bo Nix was presented with the honor Tuesday at the 65th National Football Foundation Awards dinner. The Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual for combined success in athletics, academics and leadership.

Nix, who will be in New York City this weekend as a Heisman Trophy finalist, graduated magna cum laude from Auburn before joining the Ducks for the last two seasons as a graduate student in public relations. He was named Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete Of The Year last week, and earlier Tuesday was named the conference’s offensive player of the year as well.

“I have always loved football, and playing it has brought opportunities in the community and the classroom,” Nix said in an acceptance speech after being announced as the Campbell Trophy winner Tuesday evening at ARIA Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

“I appreciate that this honor recognizes the full range of work that we do outside of football, and this wouldn’t be possible without all of the support I’ve received.”

Nix was joined at Tuesday night’s ceremony by his wife, Izzy, and his mother; his father was home in Alabama preparing to coach in a high school state championship game Wednesday. UO director of athletics Rob Mullens and head coach Dan Lanning also were in attendance.

Tuesday’s awards dinner also saw former UO running back LaMichael James formally inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. This year’s hall of fame class was announced in January, and was officially recognized Tuesday.

“It’s actually becoming more real,” James said. “Being around the other guys — Eric Berry, Reggie Bush, Tim Tebow — just to be mentioned with a lot of those names is just remarkable. But also the support  from Oregon; coach Lanning’s here, coach (Gary) Campbell, who means everything to me. It’s just great for the whole Oregon community.”

Nix was one of 16 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, all of whom received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as members of the 2023 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. As the winner, Nix receives a $25,000 scholarship; he joined Herbert and fellow quarterbacks Bill Musgrave and Dennis Dixon as finalists for the award from Oregon, and became the Ducks’ second winner, joining Herbert.

Candidates had to be seniors or graduate students with a minimum grade-point average of 3.2, who have exhibited exemplary leadership on the field, in the classroom and within the community.

“The Lord has blessed me in many ways along my journey,” Nix said in his acceptance speech. “One of the most important is the opportunity to influence people, as we are called to be a light in this world and to utilize our platform to benefit others. …

“I love college football and everything that it represents. I have learned so many different lessons about life from the game, and hopefully I have been a positive example to others. Football has taught me the resiliency to get back up and keep taking the next step forward.”

A native of Alabama, Nix followed in his father’s footsteps and enrolled at Auburn. His first career start was against Herbert and the Ducks in 2019, and three years later he made the decision to transfer after the Tigers went 21-16 in that stretch.

At Oregon, Nix helped the Ducks win eight straight games last season before he was injured and the team suffered two late-season losses, then rebounded to win the Holiday Bowl. This season, the Ducks were again in the College Football Playoff race in November, and after playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game last week they’ll face Liberty in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Nix and his wife embraced being members of the Eugene-Springfield community, hosting football camps for kids, reading to school children and raising money for victims of ALS for every touchdown he scored.

“Any time you can have a league scholar-athlete of the year it’s an incredible accomplishment, and we’ve been fortunate to have those,” Mullens said. “But in the sport of football, the Campbell Trophy puts you in elite, elite company. At this level, it’s incredibly tough competition. To have somebody chosen as the winner, it’s a special, special fraternity. And Bo is very deserving.”

Along with Heisman Trophy events , Nix will attend a recognition ceremony as the Campbell Trophy winner in New York this weekend.

“Congratulations to the College Football Hall of Fame inductees and all of my fellow NFF Scholar-Athletes,” Nix said Tuesday night. “And to the previous winners, including Justin Herbert, I am proud to join you in the Campbell Trophy fraternity.”