Vols offensive lineman nominated for “academic Heisman”

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    Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

    Tennessee sixth-year senior Brandon Kennedy has been named the Tennessee nominee for the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation recently announced.

    Requirements for nomination include being a senior or graduate student, having a GPA of at least 3.2, displaying “outstanding football ability as a first team player” and demonstrating leadership and citizenship.

    According to FootballFoundation.org, the trophy “has become the most prestigious and desirable ‘academic’ award in college football. The trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.”

    The trophy is named after William V. Campbell, who is “the former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal,” FootballFoundation.org wrote.

    Kennedy is currently working on his third degree, and second at Tennessee. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Alabama in recreation and sport management in just three years before transferring to Tennessee and earned his master’s degree in sports psychology and motor behavior in December of 2019. Kennedy is now working towards a degree in ag leadership. When his football career comes to an end, he wants to become a licensed sports psychologist, working with an NFL or college team. Just to give back and help athletes.

    The Vols’ center started all 13 games for the Vols last season, though his status was in doubt for UT’s bowl game due to injury. But Kennedy ended up getting the green light, and he became the only Vol offensive lineman this season to start all 13 games at the same position.

    Kennedy was able to get a sixth year of eligibility because he missed essentially the entire 2018 season, his first as a Vol. Kennedy transferred to Tennessee after spending three seasons at Alabama and graduating early. He started the Vols’ season opener against West Virginia but suffered a season-ending injury in practice the following week.

    Because of that, the NCAA granted him a medical hardship, giving him another year of eligibility.

    Before coming to Tennessee, Kennedy had already used his regular redshirt, sitting out his freshman season in 2015 at Alabama. Kennedy appeared in a total of 10 games for the Tide as a reserve lineman before transferring to Tennessee.

    The 6-foot-3, 301-pound center was one of the Vols’ strongest offensive linemen last year. He was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after Tennessee’s victory over South Carolina.

    Ben McKee
    Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He grew up an Army brat and lived in Alabama for a bit, but he bleeds orange. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also a co-host on the RTI Live Show and RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.