National Football Foundation

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NFF Announces 2012 National High School Scholar-Athletes
Five exceptional student-athletes to be honored Dec. 4 at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.
Published: 10/11/2012 11:19:00 AM

DALLAS, Oct. 11, 2012 - The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the five winners of the 2012 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards with each recipient selected as the best of the best from their region of the country at the high school level. The five winners, who are now playing college football, are being recognized solely for their previous accomplishments in high school. 

"The NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards honor the absolute finest from the gridiron at the high school level," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "The accomplishments of this year's five honorees clearly place them among the most elite student-athletes in the country. Their contributions both on and off the field set the standard for their peers to follow, and we are extremely proud to highlight their accomplishments on our national stage." 

2012 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Honorees 
(Currently freshmen in college, the award is solely based on their high school accomplishments)


  • Jesse Hiss – from Basehor-Linwood High School in Basehor, Kan., and the Sunflower (Kan.) Chapter in the Midwest Region. (Currently attending the University of Colorado.)
  • Ryan James – from Piscataway High School in Piscataway, N.J. and the Bill Denny/Central Jersey Chapter in the East Region. (Currently attending Lehigh University.)
  • Alex Lyons – from DeSoto High School in DeSoto, Texas, and the Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter in the South Region. (Currently attending Rice University.)
  • Joshua Weeks – from Show Low High School in Show Low, Ariz., and the Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) Chapter in the West Region. (Currently attending Brigham Young University.)
  • Sam Yules – from Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I., and the Emo DiNitto/Rhode Island Chapter in the Northeast Region. (Currently attending Stanford University.)
  • Selected from the 450,000 high school football players covered by the NFF Chapter Network, the five scholar-athletes will be honored for their high school accomplishments during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon presented by Under Armour Tuesday, December 4, 2012, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. First bestowed in 1991, the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards have become one of the most prestigious high school honors in the country. Criteria for the award include but are not limited to academic achievement, athletic accomplishments and leadership in the community. 

    With 121 outposts and more than 12,000 members, the NFF Chapter Network covers more than 4,800 high schools and 450,000 student-athletes in 47 states, annually analyzing the credentials of the top student-athletes from each of their regions. The chapters subsequently recognize approximately 3,300 of the best scholar-athletes at their local awards banquets, distributing more than $1 million in scholarships. From this pool of 3,300 scholar-athletes, the chapters nominate a group of finalists, and a national committee makes the final selections of the five winners, one from each region of the country, as the recipients of the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards. 

    During the past 21 years, 91 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes, and this year’s class creates a new total of 96 all-time honorees. Recent notable recipients include Andrew Luck (2008, starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts), Andrew Rodriguez (2008, winner of the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy and the 2012 AAU Sullivan Award), Jamal-Rashad Patterson (2009, a wide receiver at Stanford), Chris Prosinski (a former defensive back at Wyoming and now playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Bryant Browning (2006, a former offensive tackle at Ohio State and now on the developmental squad with the Carolina Panthers). 

    Five NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes have gone on to win NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards for their accomplishments in college. They are Bobby Hoying (1991, Ohio State and the 1995 William V. Campbell Trophy winner), Eion Hu (1993, Harvard), Giovanni Carmazzi (1995, Hofstra), Jon Stinchcomb (1998, Georgia) and Rodriguez. Other notable past recipients include Todd Helton and Drew Henson. Helton was honored in 1992 before playing quarterback at Tennessee, and he currently plays first base for the Colorado Rockies. Henson was honored in 1998 before playing quarterback at Michigan and his subsequent professional football and baseball careers. 

    For tickets to the NFF Annual Chapter Luncheon presented by Under Armour in New York on December 4, please contact Ron Dilatush at or by calling 972-556-1000. The five recipients of the 2012 NFF Chapter Leadership Awards will also be honored at the event for their extraordinary dedication and efforts in fulfilling the NFF's mission. They are Steve Bailey (Midwest Region from the Greater Cincinnati Chapter); Scott Brunette (South Region from the Middle Tennessee Chapter); Jack Girardi (West Region from Los Angeles Chapter); Dave Nixon (Northeast Region from the Joe Yukica/New Hampshire Chapter); and Greg Oliver (East Region from the National Capital (Va.) Chapter). 


Midwest Region
Sunflower (Kan.) Chapter

 A four-year starter at linebacker, Hiss graduated as the all-time leading tackler in Basehor-Linwood High School history. Picked as a preseason All-State linebacker by in 2011, he earned postseason All-State honors from the Topeka Capital Journal and the Wichita Eagle. Named the 2011 Mr. Bobcat Award winner as the team’s best all-around player, teammate, scholar, motivator and mentor, Hiss was also a three-year starter at running back. Hiss posted 115 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, six sacks, four fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, three pass breakups and an interception on defense and also rushed for 712 yards and 12 touchdowns on 63 carries as a senior. He helped the club win three consecutive district and league championships. For his career, Hiss posted 428 tackles, five sacks, 25 TFL, 12 fumble recoveries, eight forced fumbles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions as a linebacker. At running back, he totaled 207 carries for 1,621 yards and 26 touchdowns.

With a 4.0 GPA, Hiss was valedictorian of his 166-member graduating class while taking numerous AP and honors courses. He earned the highest honor roll all eight semesters of high school and won a Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete Award. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and a senior class officer. Hiss spent his Monday nights throughout the school year as a study hall tutor.

An active member of the Kaw Valley Chapter of Young Life, Hiss was involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Westside Family Church. He also contributed urban outreach for at-risk kids, installing playgrounds and distributing backpacks to underprivileged children. Hiss traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to work at several orphanages throughout the city. Hiss currently attends the University of Colorado and plans to major in business management while playing fullback for the Buffaloes.


East Region
Bill Denny/Central Jersey Chapter

James earned three letters as an offensive lineman and defensive lineman at Piscataway High School while becoming one of the most decorated players in New Jersey. He earned First Team All-County, All-Area and All-State honors as a left tackle. James, the team captain his senior year, was also named a Second Team All-State performer among all divisions. Additionally, James earned three letters as a track athlete.

A National Honor Society member with a 3.98 GPA on a 4.0 scale, James was a member of the Piscataway Exceptional Gathering of Students organization and the School Exchange Program. He made the Piscataway High School Honor Roll all four years of high school, and he was also was a member of the New Jersey Science League Physics II team. James was a two-year member of the Piscataway High School marching band and concert band.

James spent a significant amount of his free time as an assistant coach for the Watchung Hills Junior Warriors football squad and the Long Hill Lacrosse program. He attended the National Youth Leadership State Conference and worked as a counselor at Camp Ricochet. James currently attends Lehigh University while majoring in engineering and plays on the offensive line for the Mountain Hawks.


South Region
Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter

Lyons began his varsity career at DeSoto High School by earning District Newcomer of the Year honors as a junior. While helping the Eagles to a 21-5 record in his two years on varsity, Lyons garnered First Team All-District and First Team Academic All-State accolades. The two-time captain was named DeSoto’s Linebacker of the Year and was placed on Tom Lemming’s Linebacker List as a senior. Lyons completed his high school career with 430 tackles, 35 TFL and five sacks.

Lyons graduate Summa Cum Laude with a 4.91 GPA on a 5.0 scale while assuming a course load filled with multiple AP and honors courses. He won a UIL Scholar Award and was named the DeSoto High School Distinguished Scholar. Lyons received Student Outstanding Academic Recognition four times in high school while winning the President’s Education Award and the Principal’s Award in 2009. Lyons was a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society.

A letter winner in basketball and track and field as well, Lyons donated his free time as a tutor and with a summer food program. He also volunteered with the Dallas Housing Authority and the Peer Assistance and Leadership Program. Lyons served on DeSoto’s student council and was named a class officer. Lyons presently attends Rice University and plays linebacker for the Owls.


West Region
Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) Chapter

An extremely productive performer in high school, Weeks earned four letters at Show Low High School while seeing playing time as a quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. He was three times named an All-State and Max Preps All-American honoree. Weeks participated in the inaugural Semper Fi All-American Bowl in 2011. With career marks of 187 receptions for 3,851 yards and 46 touchdowns, Weeks set multiple state records. He also set Arizona Class AAA single-season records in 2010 by posting 1,561 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns.

Weeks recorded a 4.0 GPA with numerous AP and honors courses, which placed him in the top 10 percent of his graduating class. He was a member of Show Low’s Principal 4.0 Honor Roll every semester of his high school career. A National Honor Society member, Weeks was named an All-American in football by the Arizona Coaches Association and the United Dairy Council of Arizona for his academic, personal and athletic excellence.

A Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout, Weeks was a member of Student Council and a Pride Leader. He was a four-year letterman in basketball, where he earned Class AAA All-State Honorable Mention accolades. As a member of the track and field team he set school records in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes. He served as a three-year mentor at a camp for developmentally disabled adults and served as a scholastic mentor for fellow students. Weeks presently attends Brigham Young University.


Northeast Region
Emo DiNitto/Rhode Island Chapter

A three-year starter at fullback/tight end and linebacker for Moses Brown School, Yules earned First Team All-State honors as a senior and was named an All-District performer following his senior and junior seasons. Yules collected 121 tackles and forced four fumbles in 2011. On offense, he posted 11 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Named his team’s MVP in 2011, Yules was chosen to play in the Governor’s Cup all-star game versus Connecticut.

A recipient of an AP Scholar Award, Yules graduated among the top students in his class at the highly-competitive Moses Brown School. He was nominated for the Morehead-Cain Scholarship from the University of North Carolina, and he was one of three members of his junior class to be named to the Cum Laude Society for academic excellence. Yules also participated in in honor societies for environmental science and Latin and took many AP and honors courses.

Yules graciously utilized his academic acumen to help the next generation, serving as a tutor to middle school students. He also worked as key ambassador in giving school tours to visiting students and families. Additionally, Yules played upright bass in the school’s grand string orchestra and also played in the jazz band. Yules currently attends Stanford University and plays linebacker for the Cardinal.

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