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NFF Announces 2015 National High School Scholar-Athlete Award Recipients
Five exceptional scholar-athletes will be honored for their high school accomplishments during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
Published: 10/7/2015 11:00:00 AM
Pictured: The NFF announced today today the names of five outstanding individuals as the recipients of the 2015 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards. The 2014 honorees are pictured above at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City. From L-R: Andrew Ralph (Joe Tiller/Northwest Indiana Chapter), Zachary Werlinger (Valley of the Sun [Ariz.] Chapter), James McLaughlin (National Capital [D.C.] Chapter), Richard Bush (Tampa [Fla.] Chapter) and Kyran McKinney-Crudden (Northern Connecticut Chapter).

IRVING, Texas (Oct. 7, 2015) –
From the more than 1.1 million high school football players across the country, the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the names of five outstanding individuals as the recipients of the 2015 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards. Each recipient is selected as the best of the best from his region of the country at the high school level. The five honorees, who are now playing college football after graduating high school in 2015, are being recognized solely for their accomplishments in high school.

“The NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards showcase first-class high school football players from across the country,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “This year’s honorees have set the standard for accomplishment on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We are truly proud to honor their success in December.”

2015 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Honorees
(Currently college freshmen, the award is solely based on high school accomplishments.)

  • Zachary Allen – from New Canaan High School in New Canaan, Conn., and the Ralph Desantis/Fairfield County Chapter in the Northeast Region. (Currently attending Boston College.)
  • Kenneth Brinson Jr. – from Marist School in Atlanta and the Touchdown Club of Atlanta Chapter in the South Region. (Currently attending the U.S. Military Academy.)
  • William Hefley III – from Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark., and the NFF Arkansas Chapter in the Midwest Region. (Currently attending the University of Tulsa.)
  • Jelani Roberts – from The Gilman School in Baltimore and the Greater Baltimore Chapter in the East Region. (Currently attending Northwestern University.)
  • Josh Rosen – from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., and the Los Angeles Chapter in the West Region. (Currently attending UCLA.)

The five scholar-athletes will travel to New York City to be honored during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Waldorf Astoria. 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 accolades and community involvement.

With 120 chapters and more than 12,000 members, the NFF Chapter Network impacts more than 500,000 student-athletes at 5,000 high schools in 47 states each year. The centerpiece of their efforts are the annual chapter awards banquets, which recognize more than 3,500 of the nation’s top scholar-athletes and distribute more than $1 million in scholarships. From this pool of 3,500 scholar-athletes, the chapters nominated 40 individuals in 2015 as finalists for the highly coveted NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards.

During the past 24 years, 105 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes, and this year will mark the 25th class of honorees. Recent recipients include Brandon Fisher (2005, former Montana linebacker and current St. Louis Rams defensive backs coach), Andrew Luck (2008, former Stanford and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback), Chris Prosinski (2006, former Wyoming and current Chicago Bears safety), Andrew Rodriguez (2008, former Army West Point linebacker and winner of the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy), and Weston Steelhammer (2013, First Team All-Mountain West defensive back at Air Force).

Other past recipients include Todd Helton (1992, former Tennessee quarterback and retired Colorado Rockies first baseman) and Drew Henson (1998, a former Michigan quarterback and professional football and baseball player), Bobby Hoying (1991, a former Ohio State quarterback and winner of the 1995 William V. Campbell Trophy) and Jon Stinchcomb (1998, a former Georgia and NFL offensive lineman). Five NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes have gone on to win NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards for their accomplishments in college. They are Giovanni Carmazzi (1995, Hofstra), Hoying, Eion Hu (1993, Harvard), Rodriguez and Stinchcomb. 

For tickets to the Dec. 8 luncheon in New York, please contact Ron Dilatush at or by calling 972-556-1000.

Northeast Region - Ralph Desantis/Fairfield County Chapter (Conn.)
Currently Playing at Boston College

A three-year letter-winner at outside linebacker, defensive end and tight end, Zachary Allen defined the scholar-athlete ideal at New Canaan High School in New Canaan, Conn. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the State of Connecticut and the New Haven Register Player of the Year. The team captain netted First Team All-Tri-State honors, and he was named All-State by Walter Camp and USA Today. He is New Canaan’s leader in career and single-season sacks. He also led the Rams to a Class L State Championship in 2013 and 2014.  

Holding an astounding 96.5 GPA and scoring 1920 on the SAT, Allen was a member of the National Honor Society. He took his leadership skills off the field, serving on the New Canaan High Captains Leadership Council and as a philanthropy liaison for the Service League of Boys. He was a member of the Future Business Leaders, and he served as a mentor for the New Cannan seventh-grade football team. An active member in the community, Allen volunteered with the American Diabetes Association and Multiple Myeloma Race for Research.

Allen is currently studying finance at Boston College, and he has appeared in every game this season at defensive end for the Eagles.

South Region - Touchdown Club of Atlanta-NFF Chapter
Currently Playing at Army West Point

A four-year letterman and two-year team captain, Kenneth Brinson Jr. set the career sacks record at the Marist School in Atlanta, and he earned All-State and All-County honors. Voted by his teammates as Marist’s most valuable lineman, he was also a three-time state champion and two-time national champion in wrestling with a career record of 187-3. A three-sport star, Brinson also won a track and field state championship in the discus throw.

Graduating with a cumulative 4.1 GPA and scoring a 2170 on the SAT, Brinson was a three-time Academic All-American and a National Merit Finalist. He was a member of the Honor Roll all four years and the National Honor Society. Brinson was also a member of the Modern Languages Honor Society and twice received the Instrumentalist Magazine First Chair Award for trombone.

Active in the Atlanta community, Brinson volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and as a Centro Hispano Marista GED Tutor. He served as a team captain for the Throw1Deep Club and was an event group leader and panelist for A Better Chance.

Brinson currently attends the United States Military Academy, where he has seen action in every game this season as a linebacker for the Black Knights.

Midwest Region - NFF Arkansas Chapter
Currently Playing at Tulsa

An Honorable Mention Parade All-American quarterback, William Hefley lettered three years at the Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark., serving as team captain his senior season. He was named the Little Rock Touchdown Club 5A Player of the Year and the Farm Bureau 5A Arkansas Offensive Player of the Year. A two-time All-State selection, Hefley led the state with 4,897 passing yards and 62 touchdowns in 2014 and 4,165 yards and 54 touchdowns in 2013. He was named the 2014 Arkansas 5A State Championship Game MVP after leading the Bruins to a 38-28 win over Wynne High School.

Boasting an impressive 4.2 GPA, Hefley scored a 31 on his ACT. He was the recipient of the 2015 William R. Smith Endowed Scholarship for faithfulness, integrity, character and service. Hefley was named an All-American Scholar by the United States Achievement Academy and was a four-time member of the President’s List. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and the National Beta Club. Hefley served as the junior and senior class vice president.

Hefley currently attends the University of Tulsa, where he appears on the Golden Hurricanes’ roster and plans to major in biology.

East Region - Greater Baltimore Chapter
Currently Playing at Northwestern

A two-year letterman at wide receiver and as a return specialist, Jelani Roberts was a team captain in his senior season and received the William C. Bruce Jr. Athletic Prize as The Gilman School’s best athlete in Baltimore. A two-time First Team All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association selection, he was also a First Team Private School All-State selection. Roberts produced 1,695 all-purpose yards, and he scored 15 touchdowns in 2014 for the MIAA Co-Champion Greyhounds.

Carrying a weighted 4.63 GPA on a 4.0 scale and earning a 2120 on the SAT, Roberts was a four-year member of the Honor Roll. He earned perfect scores on the AP Biology, Calculus, Psychology and Physics Exams and graduated as an AP Scholar with Distinction. Roberts was a member of the National Cum Laude Society and was named a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student.

Roberts served as vice president of the school’s athletic association and as an assistant coach for Randallstown Youth Football. He also volunteered at Paul’s Place, a Baltimore soup kitchen, and with the Parks and People Organization.

Roberts currently attends Northwestern University, playing wide receiver for the Wildcats in every game this season.

West Region - Los Angeles Chapter
Currently Playing at UCLA

A three-year starter at quarterback, Josh Rosen holds 11 passing records at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., including career and single-season records for total offense, passing yards, passing touchdowns and all-purpose yards. He earned First Team All-State honors in his final season, and he was a three-time First Team All-Trinity League selection. Rosen was named the Trinity League MVP, and he led his team to three consecutive Trinity League Championships. In 2013, the Braves were named National Champions by Max Preps. Rosen was a member of Nike’s Elite 11, and he was invited to the Under Armour All-American Game. For his high school career, he completed 525-of-840 pass attempts for 8,473 yards and 90 touchdowns.

Boasting a 4.26 weighted GPA, Rosen was twice named a Scholar-Athlete for the St. John Bosco football team. He worked as a recruiter at his high school and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. Rosen served as a youth football coach for four years and as a math tutor to students at his high school.

Rosen was named the starting quarterback at UCLA as a true freshman, and he earned Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week and Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week honors after the Bruins won their first game of the season against Virginia.

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 in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, SKP, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at

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