Morristown, New Jersey - October 31, 2000 - The National Football Foundation and College Hall of
Morristown, New Jersey - October 31, 2000 - The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame has announced its 2000 class of National College Scholar-Athletes, which represents sixteen of the nation's finest college football student-athletes from all divisions of college football.
Since 1959, when the first class was selected, 586 scholar-athletes have been awarded this high honor based on superior academic performance, outstanding football ability, strong leadership, and citizenship. Each scholar-athlete will be awarded an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and will be honored at the Foundation's 43rd Annual Awards Dinner held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, December 12, 2000.
This year's class has an average grade point average of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale. They are:
Name, School, Position, Major, Hometown
Scott Becker, U.S. Air Force Academy, Fullback, Civil Engineering, Granger, IN
Drew Brees, Purdue University, Quarterback, Industrial Management, Austin, TX
Jared Lee, Brigham Young University, Safety, Pre-Med, Rexburg, ID
Kyle Vanden Bosch, University of Nebraska, Defensive End, Finance, Larchwood, IA
Chris Weinke, Florida State University, Quarterback, Sports Management, St. Paul, MN
Josh Whitman, University of Illinois, Tight End, Finance, West Lafayette, IN
Name, School, Position, Major, Hometown
Michael Bland, Hampton University, Defensive Line, English Arts, Jackson, MS
Matt Cannon, Southern Utah University, Quarterback, Eng./Political Science, Salt Lake City, UT
Nick Colbert, Troy State University, Linebacker, Biology, Enterprise, AL
Wes Hines, McNeese State University, Offensive Tackle, Finance, Baytown, TX
Marion Martin, Furman University, Linebacker, Chemistry Columbia, SC
Name, School, Position, Major, Hometown
Varon Cantrell, Saint Joseph's College, Wide Receiver, Biology/Chemistry, Indianapolis, IN
Name, School, Position, Major, Hometown
Mackenzie Hay, Augustana College, Offensive Line, Biology/Pre-Med, Polo, IL
Chris Witt, Colorado College, Quarterback, American Political Economy, Flagler, CO
David Wonderlick, Susquehanna University, Center, Public Relations, Shenandoah, PA
Name, School, Position, Major, Hometown
Jeremiah Beery, Azusa Pacific University, Linebacker, Applied Health, Mariposa, CA
To be eligible for a National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame postgraduate fellowship, the nominee must be a senior or graduate student in his final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, have shown superior academic application and performance, have outstanding football ability as a first team player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
"With 182 outstanding candidates competing for this year's awards, the selection of only sixteen scholar-athletes was a difficult challenge for the Awards Committee. After thorough review and discussion, the committee chose what it feels is a sensational group that represents the ideals of the Foundation with great distinction," stated Robert E. Mulcahy III, chairman of the Awards Committee and director of athletics at Rutgers University.
According to National Football Foundation Chairman Jon F. Hanson, "For 42 years, these prestigious awards have placed the spotlight on only a chosen few who have excelled above all in the area of scholarship, citizenship and athletic performance. We are delighted to have this opportunity to honor these sixteen outstanding young men for all of their achievements."
At the Awards Dinner on December 12, one scholar-athlete will receive the Vincent dePaul Draddy Trophy. Often termed the "Academic Heisman", this award provides the winner with a $25,000 scholarship towards their postgraduate studies. Since 1990, ten scholar-athletes have been fortunate to walk away from the Awards Dinner with this much-acclaimed trophy. Past winners of this award include Peyton Manning from the University of Tennessee and Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida.
Azusa Pacific University
As a student-athlete and a member of the 1998 NAIA National Championship team, Jeremiah Beery has excelled in the classroom and on the football field during his collegiate career.
Beery was named to the NAIA Academic All-America team and has been selected to the Dean's List every year at Azusa Pacific University. While majoring in applied health (pre-physical therapy), Beery has maintained an excellent grade point average and remained near the top of his class. He is a life member of the California Scholarship Federation.
In 1999, Beery had an outstanding season on the football field. As a result he was named an honorable mention NAIA All-America selection. He recorded 134 tackles last season falling only two shy of the school record. He broke a school record when he recorded an impressive 22 tackles in a single game last season.
In addition to his athletic and academic achievements, Beery works 10-20 hours on campus and is the co-owner of a computer business that sells computers to on-campus students. Besides coaching youth baseball and football, Jeremiah also dedicates time every week to perform physical therapy on a stroke patient that cannot speak or walk.
United States Air Force Academy
To find the true meaning of scholar-athlete, look no further than Scott Becker, a fullback from the United States Air Force Academy. The best of both academics and athletics, Becker has earned a 3.89 grade point average during his college career.
A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, Becker has been named to the Dean's List every semester while at the Academy. A civil engineering major, Becker is a member of the Superintendent's List. He was a two-time academic all-conference selection and currently ranks second in his major at the Academy.
His leadership abilities on the football field were reflected in being named team captain for the 2000 season. Currently in his second season as the starting fullback, Becker finished third on the team in rushing with 345 yards and three touchdowns in 1999. In a win over Villanova last season, he rushed for a season high 63 yards and two touchdowns. He recorded his career long run of 26 yards against New Mexico in 1999 and also compiled 144 yards rushing in 1998.
A volunteer youth soccer coach with the Colorado Springs Parks Association, Becker also helped run a clothes drive for needy families. He served as second group commander during the spring semester last year and completed Operations Air Force.
A hard-nosed defensive lineman from Hampton University, Michael Bland combines athletics and academics to be an ideal scholar-athlete.
Bland, who graduated with honors this past May, was awarded with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Award in 1999. A member of the Dean's List, Michael earned a degree in English Arts. He assists in the Hampton University Writing Lab, where he tutors other students with their English assignments.
At 6-5, 300 pounds, Bland, a team captain, has earned several impressive honors during his collegiate football career. He was named both a 2000 preseason All-America selection by Sports Network and the 2000 preseason MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. In 1999 he was named third team I-AA All-America, first team All-MEAC and the Hampton University Defensive Lineman of the Year. After being named the Most Improved Hampton Football Player in 1997, Bland went on to earn All-MEAC second team honors in 1998.
In addition, Bland has visited numerous elementary schools where he speaks to children about the importance of education and the benefits of going to college. He also served on the Usher Board of his church, along with being an officer in the Hampton University Fellowship of Christian Athletes Program.
Considered to be one of the top quarterbacks in college football this season, Drew Brees is a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Brees' exploits, however, carry well beyond the playing field and into the classroom.
Although his football career has kept him in the limelight Brees has managed to excel in the classroom. A Dean's List member, Brees earned second team Academic All-America and Academic All-Big Ten honors. He was chosen for the Purdue Mortar Board last spring, while majoring in industrial management and minoring in manufacturing. He was selected as Purdue's Male Athlete of the Year for 1999-2000.
A second team All-America selection in 1999, Brees has broken most Purdue and Big Ten passing records in his career. The runner-up in 1999 for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award and Maxwell Award as the nation's top player, Brees finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Last year he led the Big Ten in attempts with 554, completions with 337 and passing yards with 3,909 to go along with his 25 touchdown passes. A first team All-Big Ten selection in 1999, he was also selected as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 1998.
Brees serves as the team coordinator of Purdue's Gentle Giants Program, assisting elementary school children weekly. As well as being a Sigma Chi fraternity member, he served as a spokesperson for the March of Dimes, Census 2000, and the United Way.
Southern Utah University
Over the past two seasons Matt Cannon has established himself as one of the elite quarterbacks in the nation. His success does not stop on the football field as his 3.95 grade point average in the classroom attests.
A GTE Academic All-District selection, Cannon was named the Southern Utah University football team's Academic Athlete of the Year following his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Majoring in both English and political science, Cannon was named Southern Utah's Outstanding Language and Literature student for the 1999-2000 school year.
As both a running and passing threat, Cannon is one of only a handful of players to rush and pass for over 1,300 yards in the same season. He racked up 1,310 yards and 23 touchdowns rushing and 1,383 yards and six touchdowns passing and last was year named the I-AA Independent Player of the Week three times and I-AA National Player of the Week (SportsNetwork). In 1998 he broke the NCAA record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback with 1,553 and holds school records for career rushing yards, touchdowns and points scored.
A member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Cannon serves as Chief Justice of the SUU Student Association Judicial Council. He participated in a church mission to Frankfurt, Germany and also participates in the SUU speaker's bureau.
Saint Joseph's College (IN)
A campus leader in athletics, academics and student life, Varon Cantrell epitomizes the term scholar-athlete for Saint Joseph's College in Indiana. While majoring in biology and chemistry, he has maintained a 3.8 grade point.
A member of the Dean's List, Cantrell was named the Saint Joseph's College Senior of the Year in 2000. He has earned several scholarships including the Honor's Scholarship and the David Roger's Memorial Scholarship. A true leader, he was chosen as Saint Joseph's representative for NCAA Champs Life Skills and was awarded with the Trustee's Natural Science Award.
Going into the 2000 season, Cantrell has started 22 games. A 6-0, 190 pound wide receiver, Cantrell has earned three letters and last season recorded five catches for 60 yards and 35 carries for 88 yards. A team captain, Varon currently ranks 10th in the nation for Division II football in punt returns with a 17.2-yard average.
On campus, Cantrell serves as Minority Student Union president, a student representative on the Academic Cabinet and is a member of the gospel choir. For three years Varon has served as a resident assistant and a bible study leader. He is also a standout performer on the track team.
Troy State University
Throughout his career, Nick Colbert has split his time between academics, athletics and campus activities. In doing this he has become both a success on the gridiron and in the classroom. Thus truly defining a scholar-athlete!
While majoring in biology, Colbert earned a 3.76 grade point average and a spot on the GTE Academic All-District team. He was a recipient of both the Clements Award, given to a graduating scholar-athlete with the highest grade point average and the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Award (black issues in higher education). He is in several honor societies and is a member of the Chancellor's Honor List and the Provost's Honor List.
The spiritual leader of the football team, Colbert was elected team captain for the 2000 season. He has lettered three-years, started in 23 games going into the 2000 season and was selected to the 2000 preseason All-Southland Football League team. As a linebacker, Colbert is a leader on defense for Troy State making many on-field contributions.
A regular speaker at high schools, Colbert speaks out about morality, civic responsibility and leadership. He serves as the team chaplain and is a member of Campus Outreach and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
A 6-3, 260 pound offensive lineman, Mackenzie Hay has had great success both in the classroom and on the football field while at Augustana College. He was the leading blocker for the Vikings run dominated juggernaut that finished the 1999 season ranked second in NCAA Division III in rushing with an average of 337.8 yards per game.
A 1999 GTE Academic All-District selection, Hay has consistently been on the Dean's List. While majoring in biology and pre-med and minoring in biochemistry, he was the recipient of a Presidential Scholarship and was an Omicron Delta Kappa Honoree.
Hay was named to several 2000 preseason All-America teams including, Lindy's USA Football, Street and Smith's and Preview Sports. After a terrific 1999 campaign, he earned all-conference honors and recognition to four different NCAA Division III All-America teams, including two as a first team selection. Hay, a team captain, started 23 games going into his senior season, winning three varsity letters.
Hay also gives much time to his community. He volunteers for the Special Olympics and participates in the Shadow/Mentoring program and the Emerge Leadership Program. The historian and rush chair of Phi Omega Phi Fraternity, he is also a member of the Ski Club.
McNeese State University
A key component of McNeese State's offensive line, Wes Hines is a force to be reckoned with both on the field and in the classroom.
While majoring in finance and minoring in management, Hines earned a 3.94 undergraduate grade point average and graduated summa cum laude in May of 2000. He was named to the GTE Academic All-America team and the I-AA Athletic Director's Academic All-Star team. A US Achievement Academy All-America Scholar, Hines was named the McNeese Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year three times!
A 6-3, 302 pound offensive tackle, Hines has started 38 career games. His football honors have piled up during his successful career. He was named to the I-AA All-America team and more impressively was recognized as the nation's top I-AA offensive tackle. He earned All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana recognition for his superior play.
While developing himself into McNeese State's top offensive lineman in school history, Hines has also found time to become an active member of the McNeese State and Southland Conference Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Brigham Young University
A tenacious football player, Jared Lee throughout his career has had a knack for finding the football and making the play. He also excelled in the classroom attaining a 3.96 grade point average.
After transferring from Ricks College, Lee earned Academic All-Mountain West honors as a junior in 1999. At the start of the 2000 season he was named National Scholar-Athlete of the Week by Circuit City and was awarded with Brigham Young's Cougar Club Memorial Award for outstanding scholarly achievement.
A 2000 preseason All-Mountain West selection, Lee is a legitimate candidate for the Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagusrski Awards this season. In 1999 Lee led the BYU roster with 96 tackles, including a team-leading 67 unassisted tackles, which ranked fourth in the Mountain West Conference. His season total of 96 tackles ranked ninth in the conference. He also led the team with four interceptions.
After successfully serving a two-year church mission in Italy, Lee returned and is actively involved with a Brigham Young youth mentoring program called "Invest in the Future." A true fighter, Lee overcame paralysis as a teenager, as well as a severe leg injury to excel on the football field and in the classroom.
A well-rounded scholar-athlete, Marion Martin has excelled in all aspects of college life, including on the field and in the classroom.
Named to the 1999 GTE Academic All-America team, Martin graduated summa cum laude in May 2000, with a major in chemistry. He attended Furman as an undergraduate on a four-year academic scholarship and was the recipient of a Beckman Scholars Research Grant Award in 1999, for which he conducted pioneer research in "Mass Selected Matrix Isolation." An Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar, Martin was a four-time selection to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll.
A four-year letterman and two-year starter at linebacker, Martin helped Furman post a 9-3 record, claim a Southern Conference championship and earn a bid to the NCAA I-AA playoffs in 1999. That same year, in 777 defensive plays, he recorded 66 tackles, six tackles for loss, an interception and five pass deflections. Martin currently serves as team captain of the 2000 squad.
A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as well as being a Special Olympics volunteer. Martin has served as a motivational speaker at local elementary schools and is a recognized role model in the community.
Kyle Vanden Bosch
University of Nebraska
Kyle Vanden Bosch, a 6-4, 270 pound defensive end for the University of Nebraska, represents the best of both the academic and athletic worlds.
Vanden Bosch was named a first team Academic All-America selection and an Academic All-District selection in 1999. He was named a 2001 finalist for the Nebraska Male Student-Athlete of the Year Award and earned first team Academic All-Big 12 honors two-times. He was a three-time recipient of the Highest Honors Academic Medallion, awarded annually to Nebraska student-athletes with a 3.75 grade point average or higher.
A team captain, Vanden Bosch was a 2000 preseason honorable mention All-America selection and first team All-Big 12 selection. In 1999 he earned honorable mention All-Big 12 as voted on by the coaches. He currently holds the school record for most blocked field goals in a game with two against Texas A&M and in a season with three in 1999. In 1999 he totaled 4.5 sacks and 37 tackles, while starting 11 of 11 games.
Away from the playing field, Vanden Bosch speaks to middle school students in Lincoln about overcoming adversity and being determined. He participates in many leadership programs, as well as taking time out to visit St. Elizabeth's Hospital Burn Unit to provide cheer and encouragement to patients and families.
Florida State University
Chris Weinke represents the best of both worlds on the college scene. Not only is he a championship athlete and one of the finest quarterbacks in Florida State history, but he also is one of the top scholar-athletes in the nation.
Weinke earned a selection onto the Academic All-ACC football team in 1998 and 1999. He has consistently been on the Dean's List and the ACC Honor Roll. In the spring of 1999 he was named the GTE Scholar-Athlete of the Week.
He has certainly earned his share of accolades, while leading Florida State to an undefeated season and the National Championship in 1999. He led the ACC in passing yards per game in 1999 and ranked 7th in the nation in passing efficiency. He was a 1999 Davey O'Brien Award finalist and is currently Florida State's all-time leading passer. He holds an ACC record with 237 consecutive passes without an interception. In 1999 he was awarded the ACC Brian Piccolo Award after his comeback from neck surgery in 1998.
For the past few years, Chris has been active in community service activities. Chris has unselfishly given his time and compassion to help those less fortunate. Last spring, Chris teamed with the American Cancer Society and waited tables once again to help raise money to send local children with cancer to summer camps.
University of Illinois
Josh Whitman possesses a special blend of football playing ability and academic aptitude. During his collegiate career he has maintained an impressive 3.97 grade point average, while majoring in finance.
A first team Academic All-America selection, Whitman was named the football team's Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 1999. He was an Academic All-Big Ten selection and was featured by the university as one of Illinois' "Elite Eight." He received the Micronpc.com Bowl Academic Award and was chosen to represent his team as a speaker at the bowl corporate sponsorship banquet.
A 6-4, 240 pound tight end, Whitman played in all 34 games of his college career going into the 2000 season. He ranked 16th in the nation in tight end receptions and averaged 9.4 yards per catch in 1999. A team captain, Whitman set a career mark when he had four receptions and two touchdowns in Illinois' victory at Ohio State in 1999. In 1998 he earned his second varsity letter in two years, playing in all eleven games and making two starts at tight end with ten catches for 121 yards.
A member of the Director's Athletic Board and the Student Athlete Advisory Board, Whitman volunteers time to the Hometown Heroes program, the Illinois Freshman Orientation program and to local hospitals.
Chris Witt is an example of the ideals of college football as a great player, a scholar in the classroom and a contributor in the community.
Witt, who majors in American Political Economy and minors in the liberal arts, has a 4.0 grade point average in his major and a 3.93 overall grade point average. He was named to the Delta Mu Honor Society for freshmen and received Colorado College Football "Gold" Achievement Honors Award.
Currently a quarterback, Witt has excelled at many positions while at Colorado College, including punter and wide receiver. As team captain, he won the Bruce Carson Award for leadership, performance and perseverance in 1999 and the Most Improved Offensive Player Award in 1998. In seven games at quarterback, he passed for 1,039 yards with ten touchdowns including 177 yards passing and three touchdowns to open the year against Tabor College. He also holds three all-time Tiger Champion team records in the weight room.
In addition, Witt serves on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and is a summer mentor for a rural youth program. He participates in the Adams Elementary after school program for disadvantaged children and the Walk for Diabetes.
A true scholar-athlete, David Wonderlick has managed to maintain a perfect 4.0 grade point average while majoring in public relations and minoring in legal studies at Susquehanna University.
He is ranked first in Susquehanna's class of 2001 and was named a 1999 College Division Football Academic All-American. He received several scholarships, including the Gene Urey Memorial Scholarship for legal studies and the Fredrickson Foundation Scholarship. A member of the Pi Gamma Mu Social Sciences Honor Society and the Alpha Gamma Delta Freshman Honor Society, David is on track to graduate in May of 2001 with high honors.
At 5-10, 240 pounds, Wonderlick serves as an anchor to the offensive line of Susquehanna. A three-year letterman, two-year starter and team captain, David has started 12 games heading into this season. In 1999 he did not allow a sack in 289 pass plays and helped Susquehanna rank second in the Middle Atlantic Conference in rushing offense.
When not playing football or studying, David serves as president of Sterling Communications, a student run public relations firm on campus. He worked as a sports stringer for the Pottsville Republican and served as captain of the College Bowl regional All-Star team. He was a National Football Foundation Chapter High School Scholar-Athlete in 1997 from the Schuylkill/Pottsville (PA) Chapter.