Tatford, a senior from Lafayette, has played in 15 career games for the Ragin' Cajuns since transferring from Tulane after the 2012 season. In his first season at Louisiana, Tatford saw action in all 13 games as a reserve tight end and special teams member. He caught three passes as a junior, averaging 11.0 yards per reception.
A 3.76 student in Biology, Tatford was named to the Sun Belt Conference Leadership Team 2015, recognizing outstanding work off the field. The former St. Thomas More product was selected as the 2014-15 UL Male Student-Athlete of the Year, and has been a member of the UL Dean's List, the UL President's List and the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List.
In the community, Tatford is currently serving a two-year term as the Sun Belt Conference Representative on the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He assists in the community as a L.I.F.E (Learning is for Everyone) mentor, is a Special Olympics volunteer and has participated in the Ragin' Cajuns Reading In Red campaign and Adopt-A-Family.
"It is not surprising to me that Evan aspires to spend his professional life helping others as he never misses a chance to give back to his community," Louisiana Director of Athletic Director Scott Farmer said. "Whether it is reading to elementary school children, mentoring youth or visiting local hospital patients, Evan has a passion to serve others."
The NFF will announce 15 finalists on Oct. 29, 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. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. At the event, one member of the class will be declared in dramatic fashion the winner of the 26th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
"These 135 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "It is important for us to showcase their success on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year's semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders."
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 Campbell Trophy is a 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the amount of the recipient's grant by $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, pushing the program's all-time distribution to more than $11 million.
"The NFF would like to personally congratulate each of the nominees as well as their schools and coaches on their tremendous accomplishments," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are extremely proud to highlight each semifinalist's achievements, showcasing their ability to balance academics and athletics at the highest level. The NFF Awards Committee will have an incredibly difficult task in selecting the finalists from this outstanding group of candidates."
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards 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. 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.