National Football Foundation

News Detail

NFF Proudly Announces the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class
16 of the nation’s best and brightest collegiate football players each win $18,000 postgraduate scholarships as part of the 56th NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class.
Published: 10/31/2013 11:00:00 AM

Pictured, L-R: Derek Carr (Fresno State), Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma), Aaron Murray (Georgia) and John Urshel (Penn State) are among the 16 recipients of 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.

IRVING, Texas (October 31, 2013) – Recognizing one of the most impressive classes in the storied history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Program, The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the 2013 recipients of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments®, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education. The honorees also comprise the list of finalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Selected from a nationwide pool of 171 exceptional semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA, the 16 class members are:

SCHOLAR-ATHLETE

POSITION

SCHOOL

GPA

MAJOR

Trevor Adams

QB

Northwest Missouri State

3.94

Biology & Psychology

John Arena

LB

Johns Hopkins (Md.)

4.00

Neuroscience

Max Bullough

LB

Michigan State

3.56

Finance

Derek Carr

QB

Fresno State

3.47

Recreation Admin. & Leisure Services

Gabe Ikard

OL

Oklahoma

4.00

Multidisciplinary Studies

Spencer Long

OL

Nebraska

3.79

Biological Sciences

Niccolo Mastromatteo

WR

Coastal Carolina

3.94

Philosophy

Jeff Mathews

QB

Cornell

3.45

Applied Economics & Mgmt.

James Morris

LB

Iowa

3.84

Political Science

Aaron Murray

QB

Georgia

3.30

Psychology

Perry Simmons

OT

Duke

3.83

Civil Engineering

Eric Soza

QB

Texas at San Antonio

3.96

Physical Education

John Urschel

OG

Penn State

4.00

Mathematics

Dustin Vaughan

QB

West Texas A&M

3.86

Biology

Tony Washington

WR

Appalachian State

3.79

Architectural Design

Erik Westerberg

LB

Augustana (Ill.)

3.86

Math & Secondary Education

 

“We are extremely proud to present the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “With an average GPA of 3.79, these young men have a discernible and unrelenting commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. This class represents all that is right about college football, and the members serve as living examples of our mission to build leaders through football.”


The NFF’s National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. This year’s class members finds themselves in good company, as past National Scholar-Athletes include former NFL standout
Derrick Brooks (Florida State); Southern California Athletics Director Pat Haden (USC); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); Hampden-Sydney College (Va.) President Chris Howard (Air Force);
West Virginia Athletics Director
Oliver Luck (West Virginia); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners, Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Tim Tebow (Florida).

“Jack Ford and the NFF Awards Committee did an excellent job in selecting this year’s National Scholar-Athletes,” said NFF Chairman
Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “Selected from a record number of semifinalists, this group should be extremely proud of their accomplishments, as they have undoubtedly distinguished themselves as some of the best football players and students in the country. Each of these men is also a leader in his respective community, and we know that they have only begun to reach their potential.”

Each member of the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class will travel to New York City to be honored December 10 during the 56
th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. They each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and one member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the 24th recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. The recipient of the Campbell Trophy will also be honored the NFF Board of Directors meeting and at a reception hosted by the New York Athletic Club on Wednesday, December 11.

Named in honor of
Bill Campbell (the chairman of Intuit, a former player and head coach at Columbia University, and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal), the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $7,000 increase in postgraduate funds for a total scholarship of $25,000. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening, pushing the program’s all-time distributions to more than $10.4 million.

In 2011, the NFF and
Fidelity Investments launched a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. As part of the initiative, Fidelity became the first presenting sponsor ever in the history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program. Fidelity also helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes Initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the institutions with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. As part of the initiative, the NFF will present each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.

2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Highlights

·      3.79 Average GPA

·      15-of-16 Team Captains

·      16-of-16 Academic All-Conference Athletes

·      15-of-16 All-Conference Athletes

·      11 Academic All-America Selections (Adams, Arena, Bullough, Ikard, Mastromatteo, Murray, Simmons,

Urschel, Vaughan, Washington, Westerberg)

·      10 All-America Picks (Bullough, Carr, Ikard, Long, Mathews, Morris, Murray, Simmons, Vaughan,

Westerberg)

·      4 Conference Players of the Year (Carr, Mathews, Vaughan, Westerberg)

·      7 School Record Holders (Carr, Mastromatteo, Mathews, Murray, Soza, Vaughan, Washington)

·      6 Members of Nationally Ranked Teams (as of 10/31) (Adams, Arena, Bullough, Carr, Ikard, Vaughan)

·      12 Offensive Players

(Adams, Carr, Ikard, Long, Mastromatteo, Mathews, Murray, Simmons, Soza, Urschel, Vaughan, Washington)

·      4 Defensive Players (Arena, Bullough, Morris, Westerberg)

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The 171 semifinalists for the award were announced on October 2 (click here for the names of the 171 semifinalists), and the class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.

In addition to the presentation of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and the William V. Campbell Trophy, the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner will include the induction of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class and the presentation of several major awards, including the organization’s highest honor, the NFF Gold Medal, and the NFF Distinguished American Award.


Bios for the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class,
presented by Fidelity Investments

(In alphabetical order)


TREVOR ADAMS
Northwest Missouri State University
Quarterback
Biology & Psychology – 3.94 GPA
Athletics Director: Mel Tjeerdsma
Head Coach: Adam Dorrel

 

A two-year captain with a 3.94 GPA, Trevor Adams is a leader on the field and in the classroom. He becomes the second NFF National Scholar-Athlete from Northwest Missouri State.

A double major in biology and psychology, Adams has twice earned Academic All-American and All-District honors. He has appeared on both the NMSU President’s and Dean’s lists. The Odessa, Texas, native hopes to attend chiropractic school after graduation.

Having thrown for 4,726 yards and 44 touchdowns entering his senior season, Adams is nearing the top five in both categories in the NMSU record books. A member of the Bearcats’ 2010 MIAA championship team, he earned Honorable Mention All-MIAA honors in 2012, and he led NMSU to the 2011 Division II playoffs. Adams has NMSU off to a strong 8-0 start this season, throwing for 1,181 yards and 11 touchdowns.

One of NMSU’s greatest ambassadors in the community, Adams participated as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership Team for four years, serving the last two summers in their internship program as an impact program director. He took a mission trip to Haiti last summer with the Christian Campus House, helping with projects at an orphanage. He also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and events at the Maryville Ministry Center.

 

JOHN ARENA
Johns Hopkins University (Md.)
Linebacker
Neuroscience – 4.00 GPA
Athletics Director: Tom Calder
Head Coach: Jim Margraff

 

With a 4.00 GPA in neuroscience, John Arena still made time for an all-conference career with the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays. With his impressive résumé on and off the field, Arena becomes the school’s first-ever NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

A 2012 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American and First Team All-District selection, Arena earned induction into Phi Beta Kappa honor society. The Bryn Mawr, Pa., native appeared twice on the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll, and he has received Dean’s List honors every semester of college. Arena plans to attend medical school, recently scoring in the 99.6-99.8 percentile among all test takers on the Medical College Admission Test.

Second Team All-Centennial Conference at linebacker in 2012, Arena has led Johns Hopkins to three Centennial Conference titles and two appearances in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. He entered his senior season with 115 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and four interceptions while helping the Blue Jays to a 28-6 record during his career. 
Arena has played in every game of his college career and has helped Johns Hopkins to a 7-0 start this season, recording 28 tackles. He currently ranks ninth in the conference with four sacks.

Despite his busy schedule, Arena still makes time to help on campus and in the community. A research assistant in the Johns Hopkins Division of Neuropathology, he helps study traumatic brain injuries, and he has participated in a practicum in the school’s Movement Disorder Clinic. A community outreach intern for the People’s Community Health Center, he serves as president of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. He is a member of Nu Rho Psi neuroscience society. He tutors his fellow student-athletes, and he volunteers with the Kids Enjoying Exercise Now initiative.

 

 

MAX BULLOUGH
Michigan State University
Linebacker
Finance – 3.56 GPA
Athletics Director: Mark Hollis
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio

 

A third-generation Spartan, Max Bullough represents the heart and soul of Michigan State’s defense, which currently ranks No. 1 in the nation. The two-year team captain becomes the school’s sixth NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

A 2012 Second Team Academic All-American, Bullough has twice earned Academic All-District 5 and Academic All-Big Ten honors. The Traverse City, Mich., native was presented with the scholar-athlete award at the 2012 Spartan Academic Excellence Gala for having the highest GPA on the team for players who have attained at least junior academic status.

A semifinalist for the Butkus Award in 2012, Bullough has twice been named an All-Big Ten performer, earning first team honors as a junior and second team laurels as a sophomore. The Spartans’ leading tackler the last two seasons, he ranked eighth in the Big Ten in tackles per game (8.5) and ninth in tackles for loss (12.5) in 2012. After being named an Honorable Mention All-American by
Pro Football Weekly in 2012, Bullough entered his senior season with 223 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in his career. This season he has 47 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss for the top defense in the nation, and he earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors after his strong performance against Purdue.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather Hank, a guard from 1952-54, and his father Shane, a linebacker from 1983-86, Bullough appeared destined to play football at Michigan State. He also has two uncles who played for the Spartans, and his younger brother Riley is currently a red-shirt freshman on the team. He won the 2012
Biggie Munn Award as the team’s most inspirational player, and he volunteers for the Varsity S Club golf outing.

 

 

DEREK CARR
Fresno State
Quarterback
Recreation Administration and Leisure Services Management – 3.47 GPA
Athletics Director: Thomas Boeh
Head Coach: Tim DeRuyter

 

The reigning Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year, Derek Carr is on track to own every passing record at Fresno State. With 20 school records and 13 Mountain West Conference records already under his belt, he becomes the Bulldogs’ third NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

With a 3.47 GPA, Carr earned CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District 8 honors in 2012. The Bakersfield, Calif., native has also received 2012 Academic All-Mountain West Conference and 2011 Academic All-WAC honors.

A two-year team captain, Carr was a unanimous First Team All-MWC selection in 2012, and he was Second Team All-WAC in 2011. Named an Honorable Mention All-American by
Sports Illustrated, he has earned MWC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times and Manning Award Player of the Week honors five times during his junior and senior years. Already the owner of Fresno State records for career completions (884), career completion percentage (.652 through 2012) and career touchdown passes (88), Carr stands 474 yards away from the Bulldogs career record for passing yards. Having set a MWC record with 4,104 passing yards last season, he remains on pace to become Fresno State’s first quarterback with three consecutive 3,000-yard passing seasons. He has the Bulldogs off to a 7-0 start this season, and he leads the MWC with 251 completions for 2,574 yards and 25 touchdowns. His 25 touchdowns represent the second best mark in the NCAA.

An active member of the community, Carr frequently speaks on behalf of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to local high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. He visits the Children’s Hospital of Central California; reads to preschool children; and delivers food to families in need during the Feeding the Hungry food drive. He has volunteered as a football camp instructor, and he helped lift the spirits of a Fresno-area youth football team after one of their teammates was killed by a drunk driver.



GABE IKARD
University of Oklahoma
Offensive Lineman
Multidisciplinary Studies (Biological Sciences) – 4.00 GPA
Athletics Director: Joe Castiglione
Head Coach: Bob Stoops

 

An All-Big 12 performer with a 4.00 GPA, Gabe Ikard epitomizes what it takes to become a scholar-athlete. The two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American from The Village, Okla., becomes the Sooners’ ninth NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

On pace to be Oklahoma’s first-ever three-time Academic All-American, Ikard earned First Team honors in 2012 and Second Team laurels in 2011. A three-time selection of the Big 12 All-Academic First Team, he has twice earned CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District honors, and he was the recipient of the 2013 Division IA FAR Academic Excellence Award. Named one of the NFF Oklahoma Chapter’s College Players of the Year, he claimed the Cotton Bowl Association’s Dan S. Petty Scholar-Athlete Award, and he is a three-time recipient of the Dan Gibbens Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award. An eight-time Sooner Scholar, President’s Honor Roll member and Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection, Ikard received the 2013 Gerald Lage Award, the Big 12’s highest academic honor.

A two-year team captain and anchor of Oklahoma’s offensive line, Ikard has twice earned First Team All-Big 12 honors, and he was named a Third Team All-American in 2011. Named a 2010 First Team Freshman All-American by Rivals, he plays an integral role in an offensive unit that has ranked in the top five in passing during each of his first three seasons. Helping the Sooners to a strong 7-1 start, he has blocked for an offense ranked second in the Big 12 in rushing offense (1,872 yards) and has outgained opponents in total offense 3,480 yards to 2,514.

Named to Oklahoma’s prestigious “Big Man on Campus” list, which honors academics, campus participation, leadership and community service, Ikard went on a mission trip to Haiti in 2010 to help rebuild and repair damage caused by earthquakes. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Oklahoma Leadership Team, he still makes time for activities with the 14 Foundation and the Special Spectators program.

 

 

SPENCER LONG
University of Nebraska
Offensive Lineman
Biological Sciences – 3.79 GPA
Athletics Director: Shawn Eichorst
Head Coach: Bo Pelini

 

A former walk-on who turned into a three-year letterman, Spencer Long has become a model student-athlete, earning All-Big Ten honors on the field and in the classroom. The Elkhorn, Neb., native helps Nebraska achieve a record number of NFF National Scholar Athletes with 22 all-time Huskers recognized.

A medical school hopeful, Long has twice earned CoSIDA Academic All-District and Academic All-Big Ten honors. A finalist for the 2013-14 Nebraska Male Student-Athlete of the Year, he has appeared four times on both the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll and the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

The 2011 Nebraska Walk-On of the Year, Long’s contributions earned him senior team captain honors. A Second Team All-American as a junior, he has twice earned All-Big Ten honors, garnering first team honors in 2012 and second team accolades in 2011. A key member of the Cornhuskers offense that led the Big Ten in rushing offense (253.4 ypg) and total offense (460.8 ypg) in 2012, Long helped Nebraska gain an average of 467 yards per game this season before suffering a knee injury in a game against Purdue that will sideline him for the remainder of the year.

An outstanding ambassador in the community, Long has been recognized for his community outreach work, earning a spot on the 2013 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team. A two-year member of the Nebraska chapter of Uplifting Athletes, he volunteers for their road race to raise awareness and funds for pediatric brain cancer. A participant in the Husker Connect Mentoring Program, he also makes time to visit local hospitals while volunteering in Freedom High School’s Buddy for a Day program.
 


 

NICCOLO MASTROMATTEO
Coastal Carolina University
Wide Receiver/Punt Returner
Philosophy – 3.94 GPA
Athletics Director: Hunter Yurachek
Head Coach: Joe Moglia

 

Head coach Joe Moglia says no one works harder or cares more about his teammates than Niccolo Mastromatteo. A dual threat at wide receiver and punter, the Ortonville, Mich., native becomes Coastal Carolina’s first-ever NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

An Academic All-Big South selection in 2012, Mastromatteo was recognized as an FCS Academic All-Star, and he made the
College Sports Journal’s FCS All-Academic Team. With his sights set on medical school, he is a four-time member of the President’s list, three-time member of the Big South Presidential Honor Roll and two-time member of the Dean’s List.

An All-Big South performer at two positions for the
Chanticleers, Mastromatteo earned first team honors as a punt returner and second team laurels as a wide receiver in 2012 while also garnering second team honors as a punt returner in both 2010 and 2011. Boasting both the longest (91 yards) and third longest (87 yards) punt returns in Big South history, he also recorded the longest reception in CCU history with his 81 yard grab against Gardner-Webb in 2012. The conference and school record-holder for career punt returns (61) and career punt return yards (538), Mastromatteo set the single-season record for punt returns with 32 in 2012, and he tied a Chanticleer single-game record with 10 receptions against Eastern Kentucky. Ranking in the top 10 in almost every career punt/kick return category at CCU, he entered 2013 with 48 receptions for 578 yards and three touchdowns. He has returned 61 punts for 538 yards and two touchdowns and 47 kicks for 995 yards during his career. He has helped CCU to an 8-0 start this season, recording 23 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns while returning 12 punts for 68 yards.

A three-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Mastromatteo has sat on the CCU football team’s Leadership Council for two years. An assistant Little League baseball coach, he also makes time to read to elementary school students on National Literacy Day.

 

 

JEFF MATHEWS
Cornell University
Quarterback
Applied Economics & Management – 3.45 GPA
Athletics Director: Andy Noel
Head Coach: David Archer

A trailblazer in his own right, Cornell’s Jeff Mathews has amassed a litany of firsts for the Big Red. The first-ever sophomore to win the Asa S. Bushnell Cup as Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year now becomes the third NFF National Scholar-Athlete in school history.

A two-time Academic All-Ivy selection, Mathews has earned higher than a 3.0 GPA in every semester of his college career. The Dean’s List member graduated last spring with a degree in applied economics and management, and he earned a spot as a member of Cornell’s Red Key Athletic Honor Society.

Cornell’s first four-year starter at quarterback, first three-year captain, and first-ever sophomore captain, Mathews already owns more than two dozen career, season and game records for the Big Red. During his standout sophomore campaign, he was named a 2011 Second Team All-American, and he became the first sophomore to win the Asa S. Bushnell Cup as Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year. That season he posted two of the top three passing games in conference history, including a 548-yard performance at Penn and two of the top four passing totals in the FCS for the 2011 season. Cornell’s all-time passing leader, he is a two-time All-Ivy League performer, two-time Bushnell Cup finalist, and he was the unanimous pick for Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2010. Mathews has thrown 66 touchdowns and passed for more than ten thousand yards in his career thus far, and he currently leads the Ivy League in passing yards per game (347.7) and touchdowns (16).

The Camarillo, Calif., native is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and he participated in a mission trip to help out disadvantaged youth with a group called Urban Promise. Mathews volunteers as a member of Big Red Readers and at events with Ithaca’s chapter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

 

JAMES MORRIS
University of Iowa
Linebacker
Political Science – 3.84 GPA
Athletics Director: Gary Barta
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz

One of the Big Ten’s leading tacklers during the course of his career, Iowa’s James Morris has firmly planted himself among the all-time Hawkeye greats as he becomes the sixth NFF National Scholar-Athlete in school history.

A 2012 CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, Morris will graduate in May with an impressive 3.84 GPA in political science. He claimed the Third House Scholar Award, presented by the Iowa political science department, for excellence in scholarship, active participation, and leadership in political and civic organizations. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Morris hails from Solon, Iowa, and he hopes to attend law school.

A four-year starter, Morris made an immediate impact on the Hawkeye defense, earning Freshman All-America accolades in 2010. He has garnered Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors the last two seasons after ranking third (9.4) and fifth (9.2) in tackles per game in 2012 and 2011, respectively. This season he has earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and Lott Impact Player of the Week honors after an eight-tackle, two-sack and one fumble recovery performance in Iowa’s 17-10 overtime win over Northwestern. He currently ranks ninth in the conference with 7.9 tackles per game, and he has posted 357 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, and five interceptions in his career.

A four-year member of the football team’s leadership group, Morris has participated in Iowa Football leadership retreats. He has volunteered for the Read to Grow program, Dance Marathon, Ronald McDonald House, and he has helped coordinate a team blood drive. He has made numerous visits to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, and he is the son of Hawkeye’s equipment manager, Greg Morris.



AARON MURRAY
University of Georgia
Quarterback
Psychology – 3.30 GPA
Athletics Director: Greg McGarity
Head Coach: Mark Richt


The all-time leading passer in the hallowed history of SEC football, Georgia’s Aaron Murray has left an indelible mark on the school and conference record books en route to becoming the Bulldogs’ 13th NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

Hailing from Tampa, Fla., Murray was a 2012 CoSIDA Second Team All-American and a two-time First Team Academic All-District selection. The four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in only three years, and he then enrolled in a combined master’s/PhD program for industrial/organizational psychology.

Murray became the first quarterback in SEC history to post 3,000-yard passing seasons in three consecutive years, and he recently passed 2009 Campbell Trophy recipient Tim Tebow as the conference’s all-time leader in total offense. The three-time all-conference selection led UGA to back-to-back appearances in the SEC title game, and he remains on pace to hold virtually every Bulldogs’ passing record by career’s end. The 2012 finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and 2013 Capital One Bowl MVP has started every game of his college career, and he has twice been named the Vince Dooley Player of the Year for the Bulldogs. A 2010 Freshman All-American, he has completed 835 passes for 12,029 yards and 112 touchdowns in his career thus far.

A member of the 2012 AFCA Good Works Team, Murray is a member of the UGA Student-Athlete Leadership Academy, and he claimed the 2013 Peach of an Athlete Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He has participated in the Georgia AAASP Wheelchair Football program, announcing games and passing to kids with disabilities. A Coca-Cola Community Service All-American, Murray has spent time with seriously ill children at Camp Sunshine, and je worked as a research consultant for several projects in UGA’s department of psychology.

 

PERRY SIMMONS
Duke University
Offensive Tackle
Civil Engineering – 3.83 GPA
Athletics Director: Kevin White
Head Coach: David Cutcliffe


Described by head coach David Cutcliffe as having “made a tremendous impact on many lives at Duke and beyond,” Perry Simmons has arguably established himself as one of the greatest student-athletes in Blue Devils football history. His commitment to athletics and academics has helped him become the second NFF National Scholar-Athlete in as many years and the fourth overall in school history.

A 2012 CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American and two-time First Team All-District selection, Simmons has amassed an impressive 3.83 GPA in civil engineering, and he took home the 2010 Mike Suglia Award for academics and athletics. He is a three-time Academic All-ACC honoree, a four-time ACC Academic Honor Roll member, and he has been inducted into the Chi Epsilon civil engineering honor society.

The model of reliability, Simmons boasts the most consecutive starts among active ACC players at 45 and counting. During his junior campaign, the 2012 Honorable Mention All-ACC pick paved the way for a Blue Devils offense that scored a school-record 50 touchdowns while earning Duke to its first bowl berth since 1994. As a senior, Simmons has blocked for an offense that averages 420.4 total yards per game, and he has helped Duke win
at least six games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1988 and 1989. Simmons was named an Honorable Mention Freshman All-American in 2010.

Simmons has participated in a mission trip to Langano, Ethiopia, assisting with a water well-digging project to provide local communities with safe, sanitary water. He has logged 75 hours of service with Habitat for Humanity in 2013 alone, helping with the construction of three houses. The
Raleigh, N.C., native has participated in events for the Durham Rescue Mission and Ronald McDonald House, and he helped organize an on-campus blood drive.

 

ERIC SOZA
University of Texas at San Antonio
Quarterback
Physical Education – 3.96 GPA
Athletics Director: Lynn Hickey
Head Coach: Larry Coker


The undisputed leader of a start-up football program in only its third year of existence, UTSA’s Eric Soza has quickly showcased an astounding balance of leadership on and off the field. He has parlayed his success into becoming the Roadrunners’ first-ever NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

A standout in the classroom with a near-perfect 3.96 GPA, Soza was named the 2012-13 UTSA Will & Mary Hathaway Academic Athlete of the Year after earning Academic All-WAC honors in 2012. The four-time member of the UTSA President’s List graduated summa cum laude last May, and he is currently enrolled in a master’s program for higher education administration.

Soza currently ranks third in total offense (266.6 ypg) and fourth in passing average (234.6 ypg) in Conference USA, helping UTSA make an immediate impact during its first year in the conference. Throwing only three interceptions during his junior campaign, the three-year team captain once held the FBS record for passes in between picks with 256 last season. The Beeville, Texas, native has started every game of his UTSA career, and he scored the first touchdown in program history. He currently boasts 501 career completions for 6,110 yards and 44 touchdowns.

Named to the 2013 AFCA Good Works Team, Soza has entered his third term as president of UTSA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and he holds the position of vice president for C-USA’s SAAC. He became the first-ever UTSA student-athlete to earn the Golden Feather Award, which recognizes top students whose contributions have greatly benefitted the university. Soza volunteers with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and he has participated in activities for Bubble for Troubles, Rowdy Readers, Samaritan’s Feet, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

 

 

JOHN URSCHEL
Pennsylvania State University
Offensive Guard
Mathematics – 4.00 GPA
Athletics Director: David Joyner
Head Coach: Bill O’Brien

Considering he is already teaching college-level courses like Integral Vector Calculus and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry, the term “student-athlete” may not be suitable enough to describe Penn State’s John Urschel. The published researcher becomes the 17th Nittany Lion to be named an NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

A 2012 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American, Urschel earned a bachelor’s in mathematics by May 2012, a master’s in mathematics a year later, and he currently is working on a second master’s degree in math education – all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. He was named the 2012-13 Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award winner as Penn State’s top male student-athlete, and he represented Penn State as the male recipient of the school’s 2013 Big Ten Medal of Honor. The Williamsville, N.Y., native is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

A 2012 First Team All-Big Ten guard, Urschel paved the way for three-straight 1,000-yard rushers, and he helped the Lions to three consecutive bowl berths. He also blocked for 3,000-yard passer Matt McCloin, who broke 10 school passing and total offense records last season. He contributed as a mainstay on an offensive line that led the Big Ten in total offense and ranked second in scoring and passing yards in conference play last season.

The keynote speaker at the 2013 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, Urschel addressed nearly two thousand attendees on the four qualities he wished for all college student-athletes: 1) master your craft in your sport; 2) make a mark in community; 3) help young players along their journey; and 4) prepare for the day your athletic career ends. An active participant in Penn State’s renowned Uplifting Athletes chapter, he has volunteered for the Penn State Dance Marathon, Relay for Life, Special Olympics, and Make-A-Wish events. Urschel has had several research papers published, including “Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem” in the journal
Celestial Mechanics and Dynamic Astronomy.

 

DUSTIN VAUGHAN
West Texas A&M University
Quarterback
Biology – 3.86 GPA
Athletics Director: Michael McBroom
Head Coach: Mike Nesbitt

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West Texas A&M’s Dustin Vaughan is the reigning CoSIDA Division II Football Academic Player of the Year and the 2012 Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year, solidifying himself as one of the most heralded scholar-athletes in all of Division II. He becomes WTAMU’s second NFF National Scholar-Athlete in as many years and the third in Buffs’ history.

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, Vaughan was named the Lone Star Conference Academic Player of the Year for football en route to collecting the conference’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year laurels for 2012-13. He is a two-time First Team Academic All-American and Academic All-LSC selection, who has been named the recipient of the First United Bank and Funk Family Presidential scholarships. Vaughan is also a member of the LSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the West Texas Scholar-Athlete Team.

Vaughan earned D2football.com Second Team All-America accolades; finished fourth in the Harlon Hill Trophy voting; and claimed honors as the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year after a record-setting junior campaign. A First Team All-LSC selection, he threw for 4,712 yards (third-most in school history) and 45 TDs (second-most in school history) in 2012, and he boasted nine games with more than 300 passing yards. The two-year team captain currently leads the conference in passing yards per game (383.9) and passing efficiency (155.6), and he remains on pace to top virtually every WTAMU passing record by career’s end.  He has completed 838 passes for 11,300 yards and 101 touchdowns in his career.

In addition to organizing his bible study groups for the past two years, Vaughan has participated in events for Bikes for Tikes, Goody Two Shoes, Meals on Wheels, Faith City Missions, Adopt-a-Highway, and Operation Christmas Child. He has served as a counselor for Stillwater Christian Sports Camp for three years, and he serves on the leadership team for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Vaughan has helped raise money for Children’s Hope Chest, donating funds to orphanages in Uganda.
 

TONY WASHINGTON
Appalachian State University
Wide Receiver
Architectural Design – 3.79 GPA
Athletics Director: Charles Cobb
Head Coach: Scott Satterfield


The first-ever NFF National Scholar-Athlete from Appalachian State University’s storied football program, wide receiver Tony Washington has established himself as the Mountaineers’ most prominent big-play threat while distinguishing himself as a standout in the classroom as well.

A 2012 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District selection and 2012 FCS Academic All-Star, Washington claimed recognition as the 2012-13 ASU Most Outstanding Architectural Design Student while winning the architectural design department’s portfolio competition. Washington has earned a 3.79 GPA, and he twice been named an Academic All-Southern Conference honoree.

The top kick-returner in Appalachian State history, Washington boasts the highest career kick-return average in school history (26.5 ypr), and he returned the second-longest kickoff return in ASU annals (99 yards). The 2012 Second Team All-SoCon performer and team captain currently ranks in the top five of numerous conference standings, placing second in receiving yards per game (73.6), third in receptions per game (5.4), fourth in both kick return average (19.7 ypr) and all-purpose yards (127.2). Washington has caught 118 passes for 1,487 yards and seven touchdowns, and he has returned 43 kicks for 1,009 yards and one touchdown in his career.

Hailing from High Point, N.C., Washington has participated in the Boone Celebrity Serve initiative and in the Watauga County Schools community service projects. He has volunteered for the Special Olympics, and he has helped raise money for the March of Dimes.

 

 

ERIK WESTERBERG
Augustana College (Ill.)
Linebacker
Mathematics & Secondary Education – 3.86 GPA
Athletics Director: Michael Zapolski
Head Coach: Rob Cushman

The reigning CCIW Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time Academic All-American, Augustana’s Erik Westerberg has built a reputation as a dual threat on the field and in the classroom. He continues the rich tradition of Viking National Scholar-Athletes, becoming the fifth in school history.

Boasting a 3.86 GPA with a double major in mathematics and secondary education, Westerberg has twice earned CoSIDA Academic All-American honors while being named a two-time First Team All-District 7 selection. The Elmhurst, Ill., native has been named to the Augustana Dean’s List every semester of his college career, and he has been inducted into the Pi Mu Epsilon national math honor society.

A two-year team captain, Westerberg led the CCIW in tackles the last two seasons en route to being named conference Defensive Player of the Year and a 2012 D3football.com All-America performer. He twice ranked in the top 10 nationally for solo tackles, and he was named a D3football.com All-Region pick as a junior and sophomore. The two-time Augustana Defensive MVP is a back-to-back First Team All-CCIW linebacker who currently ranks second in the conference in tackles, averaging 8.8 per game. He has registered 311 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, and three interceptions in his career.

Westerberg worked for Habitat for Humanity in New Mexico during his 2013 spring break, and he has also logged 30 hours for the organization in Davenport, Iowa. He volunteers as a member of Athletes Giving Back, and he has spent time with youth at the Martin Luther King Center and at a local humane society. He also organized and directed an event for disabled students to practice and play a simulated game with the football team.

 

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ABOUT The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the BCS, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Liberty Mutual Insurance, NCAA Football, and Under Armour. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.

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