National Football Foundation

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NFF CHALKTALK – Dec. 22, 2015, Presented by
Latest news & notes from the world of college football.
Published: 12/22/2015 12:50:00 PM

(Pictured: 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete and Ferris State (Mich.) quarterback Jason Vander Laan became only the fourth person ever to receive the coveted Harlon Hill Trophy twice as the top player in Division II.)

2015 NFF In Memoriam

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame remembered those who passed away in 2015 and played a role in improving the game of college football for future generations.

“It is always important at this time of year to reflect on those who have left us,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Part of the mission of the National Football Foundation is to shine a light on the good in the game and to preserve its history. We lost some great ones in 2015, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and universities. We will work hard to ensure that their contributions are not forgotten.”

Athletics Directors Molded on the Gridiron

The NFF continues with its campaign showcasing all of the nation’s athletics directors who have played football and how their experiences helped prepare them for leadership roles on our nation’s college campuses. The campaign captures the unique stories of each athletics director, and the stories are appearing throughout the season on Recent profiles include Lafayette athletics director Bruce McCutcheon, who played at William & Mary, and San Diego athletics director Ky Snyder, who played at San Diego State. Check out all of the athletics director profiles on

This Week on

The NFF continues to promote, the organization’s newest addition to its campaign to highlight the good in the game and the lifelong benefits to those who play it. Recent headlines on the site include:

·         Rick Telander Tackling the Printed Word

·         New Mexico LB Dakota Cox Leads Lobos to First Bowl Game in Eight Years

·         Captain’s Legacy: North Dakota State

Click here to sign up to receive the eNewsletter from The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.


The Hall of Fame will be closed on Christmas Day.

Come celebrate the holidays at the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience with your family and friends. The attraction is decked out with holiday décor, yummy treats and special giveaways and even appearances by our very own Fumbles Claus. It’s holiday fun for the entire family, Hall of Fame style. Guests who bring cold weather items to our box office will receive $2 off admission. All items will be donated to City of Refuge.

The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl hosted a team dinner at the Hall of Fame on Dec. 17. The inaugural HBCU bowl event took place on Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Georgia Dome featuring the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions. North Carolina A&T defeated Alcorn State in the game.

The College Football Hall of Fame will honor the 2015 Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Guests are invited to watch the official unveiling of the 2015 glass blade with the Hall of Famers at Noon ET. For tickets, visit


The College Football Hall of Fame opened its doors Aug. 23, 2014, in the heart of Atlanta’s sports, entertainment and tourism district. Adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park, the new Hall provides visitors with a highly immersive, interactive and engaging experience using a blend of historic college football artifacts and state-of-the-art, interactive multimedia exhibits. To plan your visit and purchase tickets, visit


College Football Hall of Fame coach Herb Deromedi will serve as Central Michigan’s honorary captain when it takes on Minnesota in the 2015 Quick Lane Bowl on Monday, Dec. 28.

College Football Hall of Famer Randy Rhino (Georgia Tech) was profiled by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a “Where Are They Now?” piece.

College Football Hall of Famer Ed Marinaro (Cornell) will be recognized as the National Honoree at the 31st Annual Louisiana American Italian Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Jan. 16 at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside Hotel.

Five Purdue football alumni and their families, including 2000 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Drew Brees and his wife Brittany, have pledged $12.1 million towards the construction of a new football performance complex.

2015 NFF John L. Toner Award recipient and Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis was profiled by Sports Illustrated’s Campus Rush.

In 2015, College GameDay Built by The Home Depot averaged 1,961,000 viewers per episode (14 shows), the most-watched regular season since the show expanded to three hours on ESPN in 2013. The record-setting viewership represents a 5 percent increase from last season and 7 percent from 2013. The show received the NFF’s Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award in 2006.

2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Updates

2015 Campbell Trophy winner Ty Darlington and Oklahoma will play Clemson in the 2015 College Football Playoff (CFP) Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Navy and offensive guard E.K. Binns will play Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28 at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Ohio State and center Jacoby Boren will meet Notre Dame in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.

UCLA and center Jake Brendel will play Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 26 at 9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Mississippi State and defensive back Taveze Calhoun will face North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Nevada and linebacker Jordan Dobrich will play Colorado State in the inaugural NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast digitally on Campus Insiders and carried on television on the American Sports Network.

Baylor and unanimous First Team All-America offensive tackle Spencer Drango will play against North Carolina in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel was named a 2015 MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete.

Kent State safety Jordan Italiano was named a 2015 MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete.

Mount Union (Ohio) and linebacker Hank Spencer defeated St. Thomas (Minn.), 49-35, in the 43rd Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl to capture its record 12th NCAA Division III national championship. Spencer recorded five tackles while helping the top-ranked Purple Raiders defense limit the Tommies to 328 total yards.

Ferris State (Mich.) quarterback Jason Vander Laan became only the fourth person ever to receive the coveted Harlon Hill Trophy twice as the top player in Division II. He was also selected to the Associated Press Little All-America First Team.

NFF Program Updates

The NFF Scholar-Athlete of the Day, presented by Fidelity Investments, is a daily segment honoring the semifinalists for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments. Today’s honoree is Andy McCleneghen, a defensive lineman at SMU who graduated in May 2015 with a 3.79 GPA in finance

“This Week in College Football History,” which takes a look back at some of college football’s landmark moments over the last 147 years, is posted each Friday on the NFF website. Click here to check out the games for Dec. 21-27.

Each week during the season, the NFF produces a comprehensive television schedule for all Division I games complete with date, time, teams and on-air talent listings. Email to receive the listing via email or visit

Presented by

St. Ambrose (Iowa) senior kicker Matt Cotiguala was named the recipient of the 2015 Fred Mitchell Award and will be honored on Feb. 15 at the NFF Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony at Halas Hall.


College Football Playoff and Bowl Games

Fans can start making plans to be a part of the 2016 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship in Glendale, Ariz., which will take place Jan. 11, through Playoff Premium’s variety of packages at various price ranges and seating locations. Click here for more information… Click here for the complete 2015-16 College Football Playoff and bowl schedule… ESPN’s New Year’s studio coverage will span the nation with live shows from Arlington, Texas; Miami Gardens, Fla; Pasadena, Calif.; and Phoenix. SportsCenter will have an anchor and be present at all New Year’s Six games while the SEC Network will be onsite for coverage of Alabama’s eighth Cotton Bowl appearance… National Funding has agreed to a one-year title sponsorship of the Holiday Bowl…


Memphis announced future football series with Mississippi State, Louisiana-Monroe and Texas-San Antonio, and a game against Southern Illinois in 2017… Missouri added future games against UT-Martin in 2018 and Central Arkansas in 2020… Massachusetts and Coastal Carolina will play a home-and-home series in 2017 and 2018… Coastal Carolina will also play at UCLA in 2023… Army announced its 2016 and 2017 schedules… Tulane announced its 2016 non-conference schedule…


BYU announced Kalani Sitake as its head football coach… Tyson Summers has formally accepted an offer to become Georgia Southern’s head football coach… South Florida announced a three-year contract extension for head coach Willie Taggart… NCAA has appointed Ron Prettyman as the managing director of championships and alliances… Saint Anselm (N.H.) announced that Daron Montgomery has been selected as the new director of athletics…

Awards and Honors

Miami (Fla.) offensive lineman Hunter Knighton is the winner of the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award… Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been selected as the 2015 Walter Payton Award winner as the FCS player of the year…


Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon became the FBS’ all-time touchdown leader after notching the 86th of his career during the Bulldogs’ matchup against Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl…


Turner Field will be sold to Georgia State for conversion into a football field…

Other News of Interest

During 2014-15, 28 athletics departments listed at least $100 million in revenue, according to a CBS Sports analysis…


Former Middlebury College (Vt.) football player Edward Allen died Dec. 5. He was 32… Former Stanford football player Marty Feldman passed away Dec. 5. He was 93… Former Baylor football player Billy Williams passed away Dec. 14. He was 74… Former TCU offensive lineman Scott Nix passed away Dec. 17. He was 56… Former Texas Southern quarterback Jamar Small died Dec. 20. He was 24…


Each year, the National Football Foundation invites universities, colleges, conferences and bowl games from across the country to provide support for the NFF programs through its Institutional Academic Membership Program. The program allows the NFF to greatly enhance the power of football's collective voice while actively building a stronger national platform for the game with community leaders, educators and the media. The program is open to all football-playing institutions and conferences at every level of college football and all bowl games, and it reached new levels of support last year. Email Ron Dilatush at to learn about the benefits and how your institution can become a member in 2015. Click here for the 2015 Institutional Academic Members.

Launched in 2008, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association provides a powerful vehicle for past honorees to remain in the vanguard of the NFF’s present efforts. For more information on the program or to enroll for 2015, please email Ron Dilatush at Click here for more information and to see the members of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association.

The NFF relies, in part, on the support of individuals to fulfill our mission of Building Leaders Through Football. The NFF accepts gifts in a variety of forms. In addition to one-time cash gifts, which can be put to use immediately, pledges also allow donors to make more substantial commitments over a longer period of time in support of our programs. Stock and other property which can be easily liquidated are also options when considering a gift. By making a gift of appreciated stock or property, one may reduce or avoid capital gains. Gifts to the National Football Foundation are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Join us! For more information about how you can support the NFF, call 972-556-1000 or click here.


Dec. 31, 2015 – The 11th Annual NFF National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Atlanta

Jan. 7, 2015
– Leadership Hall of Fame Induction Dinner – Phoenix

Jan. 8, 2016
– Announcement of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class – Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jan. 11, 2016
–College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Ariz. 


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The NFF would like to thank NFF correspondent Bo Carter for his contributions to this report.

NFF Chalktalk items are welcome, and should be submitted to

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