Columbia's Alex Gross Named One of Sixteen National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athletes
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

DALLAS – Alongside some of the top student-athletes in college football today, Columbia senior linebacker Alex Gross is one of 16 members of the 2010 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete class, it was announced Thursday morning by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Gross holds a 3.58 cumulative grade point average and is on track to graduate from Columbia College in May 2011 with a degree in sociology.  A first team All-Ivy League honoree in 2008, Gross is having another first team All-Ivy League season this year.  He currently leads the Ivy Leauge in tackles and was named the league's defensive player of the week earlier this month.  In 2007, Gross was the Ivy League's Rookie of the Year.

“We are ecstatic about the quality of this year’s remarkable National Scholar-Athlete Class. They stand as a testament to our mission of building leaders through football,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “From top to bottom, this group has established itself as one of the greatest in the 50-plus years of this program, boasting an impressive array of academic and athletic achievements. We look forward to presenting each of them an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship to further their education, as there are no limits to what these young men will accomplish following their football careers.”

The NFF’s National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in the history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. This year’s class members finds themselves in good company, as past National Scholar-Athletes include former NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker (Oregon State), Gary Beban (UCLA), Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Danny Wuerffel (Florida).

“The 2010 National Scholar-Athlete Class represents all that is right about college football,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “They have balanced practice with difficult majors like mechanical engineering and biology. They’ve also taken their passion for helping others beyond their local communities, taking medical and mission trips overseas to help those less fortunate than themselves. They are prime role models for future generations of young men in this country.”

Each finalist will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one of the 16 will be announced as the recipient of the 21st William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. Renamed last fall in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal, the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.