(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Eight players on the 2009 BYU football team were recognized Tuesday by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) as members of the 2010 NFF Hampshire Honor Society.
BYU’s eight honorees are the most among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Texas followed with seven while Northwestern, Ohio State and Minnesota each had six players honored.
Comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a 3.2 GPA or better, the 2010 NFF Hampshire Honor Society included a total of 620 players from 246 schools who qualified for membership in the society's fourth year, an 80 percent increase from the inaugural class in 2007.
Representing BYU are linebackers Matt Bauman and Coleby Clawson, defensive ends Jan Jorgensen and Brett Denney, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Andrew George, defensive back Scott Johnson and center RJ Willing. Bauman was one of 16 members who previously earned the high honor as a 2009 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
In all, 19 players representing Mountain West Conference institutions made the list. After BYU’s eight members, Utah had four, Wyoming three and Colorado State two with San Diego State and UNLV each having one player honored.
"The NFF's mission is to build leaders through football, and this year's Hampshire Honor Society members are living proof of that charge," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "Each of these young men has showcased a strong desire to succeed on and off the football field, and we are certainly proud to honor them for their accomplishments as the next generation of our nation's leaders." â€¨â€¨
Qualifications for membership in the NFF Hampshire Honor Society include being a starter or a significant substitute in one's last year of eligibility at an accredited NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, or an NAIA college or university; achieving a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout entire course of undergraduate study; and meeting all NCAA-mandated progress towards degree requirements.
The NFF Hampshire Honor Society capitalizes on the NFF's current National Scholar-Athlete program, greatly expanding the number of scholar-athletes the NFF can recognize each year and further strengthening the organization's leadership role in encouraging academic performance by the student- athletes who play football at the more than 700 college and universities with football programs nationwide. Jon F. Hanson, the chairman and founder of The Hampshire Companies, provided an endowment to launch the NFF Hampshire Honor Society in 2007. He made the contribution as part of his legacy to the organization after serving as NFF chairman from 1994-2006. â€¨â€¨
"The Hampshire Honor Society's success is a direct reflection of Jon Hanson's generosity and continued belief in the scholar-athlete ideal," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell, "We thank him and those who serve on the society's advisory committee for helping us empower this most important initiative, and we encourage every football-playing school in the country to get involved in the future."â€¨
The Hampshire Honor Society becomes the latest component of the organization's efforts to promote combined athletic and academic success. Launched in 1959 with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik, the NFF's National Scholar-Athlete Awards program became the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on a player's combined academic success, football performance and community leadership.
Since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $9.2 million to 724 top scholars and community leaders. Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 15 individuals. Each winner of a National Scholar-Athlete Award receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. Additionally, the Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, is given to one member of each year's class as the absolute best. The winner of the Campbell, claimed by Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in 2009, receives a total scholarship of $25,000 and a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy. Through, its chapter network, the NFF awards an additional $800,000 to local high school student-athletes, bringing the NFF's annual scholarship total to more than $1.1 million.