Matt Smith a semifinalist for national award

Kentucky senior center Matt Smith has been nominated as a semifinalist for a national scholar-athlete award.

Kentucky senior center Matt Smith has been nominated as a semifinalist for the 2012 National Football Foundation's National Scholarship Athlete Awards and the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the nation's top scholar-athlete.

Nominated by their respective schools, which are limited to one nominee, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility. They must also have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, demonstrate outstanding ability on the field as well as strong leadership and citizenship off it.

The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.

Smith, a native of Louisville, is a three-year starter at center for the Wildcats and a season team captain in 2012. He has been on the Rimington Trophy watch list for the nation's top center each of the last two years.

Off the field, Smith carries a 3.29 career grade point average with a major in middle school education. He has also been extremely active in community service In May, he journeyed to Ethiopia with two teammates and UK coach Joker Phillips for a service/educational trip. He put in more than 100 hours in service with the Salvation Army and he has worked events with the Veterans Hospital, Camp Cedarmore, Read Across America and the Big Blue Move-In.

The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, Oct. 25. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy.

Named 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 increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total post-graduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program's all-time distributions to more than $10.1 million.

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