Montana v UNC027.JPG (copy)

Montana's Reggie Tilleman leaps alongside Evan Epperly to tackle UNC Quarterback Eaton Mott last season.

MISSOULA — Montana senior defensive lineman Reggie Tilleman was one of 40 FCS semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation announced Wednesday. 

The William V. Campbell Trophy is presented annually to senior or graduate level football student-athletes who are in their final year of eligibility, have at least a 3.2 GPA, are a first-team player/major contributor and have demonstrated leadership and citizenship characteristics. Each school can nominate one person for the award.

There were 179 semifinalist candidates between all five levels (FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA) of football. 

Tilleman graduated magna cum laude (GPA of 3.70 to 3.89) with a bachelor of science in business administration on the finance track in May. He's currently working on his MBA. 

Tilleman is one of three semifinalists from the Big Sky Conference. The other two are Idaho's Ed Hall and Northern Arizona's Jake Casteel. 

The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 31, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4. One member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 29th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.

Montana has had four NFF National Scholar-Athletes since 1988: Dave Dickenson in 1995, Joshua Branen in 1997, Vince Huntsberger in 2001 and Derek Crittenden in 2015.

"These 179 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "For 60 years, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program has showcased more than 800 college football players who have been successful 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."

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Amie Just covers Griz football and Missoula-area preps. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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