Story by Jordan Spurgeon
The “Heisman award” for academics is now in the hands of a former Sun Devil quarterback, Brady White. The William Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame, is awarded for a combination of academic success, game performance, and leadership ability.
Doctoral student claims college football's premier scholar-athlete award, receiving $25,000 postgraduate scholarship
— Football Foundation (@NFFNetwork) January 6, 2021
“It carries so much weight,” White said. “It means more to me than any football award just because it represents so much more. It represents athletics, academics, and what you do off the field within your community, so I’m very proud and very grateful.”
White played football at ASU from 2015-17, graduating cum laude with a business degree in three and a half years. Due to injury, he didn’t see much playing time for the Sun Devils. He then went to play football at Memphis as a grad transfer from 2018-20, becoming one of the top quarterbacks in their program’s history, while in the process of earning his master’s degree. He is the Tigers’ career passing leader with 10,690 yards and ranks second all-time in the American Athletic Conference. Now he’s in the midst of obtaining his doctoracte in liberal studies. His time at ASU expanded upon the academic and football foundation that he set for himself growing up.
“My time there [at ASU] was a phenomenal learning experience with slim playing experience before an unfortunate injury,” White said. “The people and relationships with Jean Boyd and Scottie Graham played a huge role in who I am today and my academic achievement and success. I was able to graduate at a rapid rate and grad transfer with plenty of years left to play. Without it, I wouldn’t be here today.”
The Santa Clarita, California native always dreamed of playing in the NFL, but he quickly realized in high school that there would be opportunites in college to set himself up for life after football if he took adavantage of the classes and degrees offered while on an athletic scholarship. Working towards a PH.D didn’t happen by accident, despite all the challenges of being a student-athlete.
At ASU, White started only one game in 2016, after redshirting in 2015 before getting injured for the remainder of 2016 and 2017. He noted that despite the injuries, he became a much smarter quarterback on the field while playing for the Sun Devils because of all the preparation he did in the film room and the work he was able to do on the practice field.
The dream of playing professional football is still alive for White and he plans to continue chasing that dream until it becomes apparent that it’s time to hang up the cleats. After that, he wants to use his doctorate to work somewhere within the sports industry.
“I’m intrigued what doors will open and where I can utilize my education,” he said. “That’s still up for discussion, and I’ll figure that out as I move forward.”