In high school, Tommy Mellott was already a standout football player and student when he began to feel a need for service in his community.

At Montana State University, the junior quarterback has been bringing all of those qualities together.

Tuesday evening, Mellott was named the 2023 recipient of the FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award. The ninth annual award, named after the late school teacher and wife of legendary coach Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson, is presented to a student-athlete in FCS college football who excels on the playing field, in the classroom and across the community.

Mellott will be honored at the Stats Perform FCS National Awards banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas. He was one of 15 finalists – one from each conference involved in the Division I subdivision.


Mellott considers being a student-athlete a responsibility. As early as elementary school, he was a recipient from the service of high school athletes in his hometown of Butte, Montana, and by the time he was their age, he says he found himself asking, “What can I do to be different?”

His answer took off in 2020 during the pandemic when he helped to organize a group of teammates to raise about $60,000 for the Shriners Children’s Hospital to replace revenue lost from the cancellation of Montana’s East-West Shrine Game, which Mellott was supposed to play in after his senior year.

“Obviously, what the Shriners do is pretty special,” Mellott said. “I’m sure that the needs were even higher during Covid and during that issue – (lost) jobs and everything like this. I couldn’t imagine if that was me or if that was my sister or if that was a friend, turned away because they didn’t get the funding from a football game.”

Since arriving at Montana State for the fall 2020 semester, Mellott has volunteered over 200 hours of community service, with emphasis on teen mental health.

He’s partnered with the foundation I Love This Life, a suicide awareness and prevention non-profit, and used his NIL – name, image and likeness deals on commercial and sports apparel – to put his face toward causes. He’s part of a Hope and Love (HOLO) brand awareness campaign for a crisis hotline that encourages others to seek support. Additionally, he has volunteered for over two years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, participating with youth camps and speaking engagements in Butte and Montana State’s Bozeman community. 

Mellott carries a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in financial engineering and is on pace to graduate next December. On the field, the 6-foot, 192-pound quarterback became MSU’s starter at, of all times, the start of the 2021 FCS playoffs, but he accounted for 11 touchdowns via pass, run and reception in three wins and helped the Bobcats advance to the national championship game and a runner-up finish.

The two-time team captain was a Stats Perform All-American and a Walter Payton Award finalist during MSU’s 2022 Big Sky Conference championship season, and he’s totaled over 5,700 yards of total offense with 53 total touchdowns in 33 career games. The Bobcats are 32-9 over his three seasons.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Mellott says he wants to influence younger people to aspire to be greater than they’ve even imagined for themselves.

2023 FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award Finalists

Kwaku Adubofour, Harvard, DL, Sr., 6-2, 283, Norristown, Pa. (Ivy League)

Majoring in neuroscience, 3.76 GPA

Julian Ashby, Furman, LS, Sr., 6-2, 214, Lilburn, Ga. (Southern Conference)

Majoring in physics, 3.97

Max Brosmer, New Hampshire, QB, Gr., 6-2, 221 Roswell, Ga. (CAA Football)

Undergraduate degree in medical and veterinary science, 3.88; pursuing masters in kinesiology/exercise science

Jason Brown, Jackson State, QB, Sr., 6-2, 230, Fredericksburg, Va. (Southwestern Athletic Conference)

Majoring in sports science, 3.667 GPA

Will Burke, St. Thomas, TE, R-So., 6-3, 235, St. Paul, Minn.  (Pioneer Football League)

Majoring in biology, 3.76 GPA

Jacob Dicharry, Lamar, OL, Jr., 6-5, 285, Dallas (Southland Conference)

Majoring in mechanical engineering, 3.47 GPA

Jacob Dobbs, Holy Cross, LB, 5th Year, 6-0, 237, Macomb, Mich. (Patriot League)

Double major in economics and religious studies, 3.76 GPA

Anthony Egbo Jr., Abilene Christian, CB, Sr., 5-8, 190, Richmond, Texas (Western Athletic Conference)

Undergraduate degree in psychology, 3.9 GPA; pursuing MBA

William McRainey, Gardner-Webb, LB, Sr., 6-0, 228, Shallotte, N.C. (Big South Conference)

Undergraduate degree in economics and finance, 3.55 GPA; finishing up MBA, 4.0 GPA

Tommy Mellott, Montana State, QB, Jr., 6-0, 192, Butte, Mont. (Big Sky Conference)

Majoring in financial engineering, 4.0 GPA

David Satkowski, Stonehill, OL, 5th Year, 6-4, 290, Southbury, Conn. (Northeast Conference)

Undergraduate degree in secondary education and history with diversity, equity & inclusion education graduate certification, 3.82 GPA

Chad Strickland, Eastern Illinois, OL, Sr., 6-5, 315, Salem, Ala. (Ohio Valley Conference)

Majoring in exercise science, 3.82 GPA

Juan Velarde, North Carolina Central, P, Sr., 5-10, 200, Anderson, S.C. (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

Majoring in business administration with concentration in entrepreneurship, 3.97 GPA

Cole Wisniewski, North Dakota State, S, Sr., 6-4, 217, Sparta, Wisc., (Missouri Valley Football Conference)

Double major in business administration and marketing with minor in professional selling, 4.0 GPA

Jau’Von Young, Austin Peay, DL, Grad., 6-2, 281, Nashville (United Athletic Conference)

Undergraduate degree in health and human performance; pursuing masters in management, 3.71 GPA

(Here are the All-Time Recipients of the FCS National Awards)