BYU tops NFF Hampshire Honor Society List

David Foote was one of seven BYU players honored by the National Football Foundation on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

DALLAS -- Seven players on the 2012 BYU football team were recognized Thursday by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) as members of the 2013 NFF Hampshire Honor Society. BYU's seven players represented the most selections among FBS Division I programs.

The Cougars topped Nebraska's six and Army's five honorees to take the top three spots. BYU has had 32 total selections in the seven years of the award and has had the most selections in three of the past four seasons.

In addition to this year, the Cougars also had the most selections in 2010 (8) and tied for the most in 2011 (6). BYU tied for the second-most selections on the 2012 list with five and were tied for fourth in 2009 with four honorees.

Representing BYU this year in the Society are offensive lineman Braden Brown, running back David Foote, fullback Zed Mendenhall, quarterbacks Riley Nelson and James Lark, linebacker Brandon Ogletree and defensive back Preston Hadley, all of whom finished their senior season with the Cougars in 2012. In addition, Brown and Ogletree recently signed free agent contracts while Hadley received a minicamp invite with NFL teams.

The 2012 NFF Hampshire Honor Society is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career. A total of 703 players from 259 schools qualified for membership in the society's seventh year, marking the highest school participation in the history of the program, which began in 2007.

Official 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
  • Meeting all NCAA-mandated progress towards degree requirements and graduation

"The growing number of schools involved in the Hampshire Honor Society each year shows that football student-athletes not only play at the highest level but that they are some of the best students on campus as well," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "Congratulations to each of these young men for their commitment to education and their leadership on and off the football field."

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. The program further strengthens 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. The initiative has honored 4,081 student-athletes since its inception.

Jon F. Hanson, the chairman and founder of The Hampshire Companies, provided the 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. He currently serves the organization as a chairman emeritus. Each player awarded with membership in this year's Honor Society will receive a certificate commemorating their achievement.

"We have honored more than 4,000 student-athletes in the last seven years thanks to Jon Hanson’s generosity," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, "We are humbled by his passionate belief in the scholar-athlete ideal, and the Hampshire Honor Society allows us to showcase the names of tomorrow's leaders while inspiring future generations to follow in their footsteps."

The Hampshire Honor Society represents a powerful component in the organization's rich history as an innovator in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal. Launched in 1959 with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik, the NFF's National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, became the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on a player's combined academic success, football performance and community leadership. And, since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $10.1 million to 771 top scholars and community leaders.

Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 16 individuals. Each winner of a National Scholar-Athlete Award receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. Additionally, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, is given to one member of each year's class as the absolute best. The winner of the Campbell Trophy, claimed by All-American center Barrett Jones (Alabama) in 2012, receives a total scholarship of $25,000 and a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy. Through, its chapter network, the NFF also awards an additional $1 million to local high school student-athletes, bringing the NFF's annual scholarship distribution total to more than $1.3 million.

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