National Football Foundation

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NFF CHALKTALK – Jan. 5, 2016, Presented by
Latest news & notes from the world of college football.
Published: 1/5/2016 4:00:00 PM

(Pictured: The NFF will stage several major events leading up to the CFP National Championship on Jan. 11 in Arizona, including the announcement of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class, recognition of the 2015 Campbell Trophy recipient Ty Darlington (Oklahoma) during the game and the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame induction of Gov. Doug Ducey and Michael Bidwill. Members of the newly announced Hall of Fame Class will also take part in the coin toss before the CFP National Championship, as seen above at last year's title game in Arlington, Texas.)

NFF Mourns the Passing of Mike Cleary

Emeritus NACDA Executive Director Mike Cleary, who claimed the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award in 1994 and served on the NFF Board from 1998-2011 and then as an emeritus member since 2012, passed away Dec. 31. He was 81.

“Mike Cleary was a great friend of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, “said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Mike joined our board in 1998, and he provided our organization with tremendous leadership over the years, including a key role in reshaping our scholarship program. I knew Mike throughout my career, and he was always extremely helpful. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

College Football Hall of Fame Inductee Doug Atkins Passes Away

Doug Atkins, an All-American tackle at Tennessee and a 1985 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, passed away Dec. 30. He was 85.

In Atkins’ 1952 senior season he won All-America recognition as Tennessee led the nation in total defense. His playing days covered a memorable period in Tennessee football history, as the Vols appeared in three straight bowl games and recorded a 29-4-1 record.

2015 NFF Leadership Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Jamail Passes Away

Prominent Texas lawyer and philanthropist Joe Jamail, who was inducted into the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame in September, passed away on Dec. 23. He was 90 years old.

“We were incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Jamail this morning,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “He was a great advocate for college football and the NFF’s ideal of promoting scholar-athletes. We were extremely proud to have been able to honor his legacy when we inducted him into our Leadership Hall of Fame in September.”

“Higher education and college football have lost a great champion,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Joe Jamail had a profound impact on our nation’s legal system as well as numerous institutions that have benefited from his more than $256 million in charitable donations.  He was a true friend to college football and academics, as seen through his dedication and generosity to the University of Texas, and he will be sorely missed.”

Several Major NFF Events Planned for CFP National Championship Week

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame will stage several major events leading up to the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship between No. 1 Clemson (14-0) and No. 2 Alabama (13-1) on Monday, Jan. 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

The NFF events begin Thursday, Jan. 7 when Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill will be jointly inducted into the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame during a reception and dinner at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. The induction ceremony will serve as the kickoff event for the CFP National Championship weekend, and it continues a tradition where the NFF will stage an NFF Leadership Hall of Fame event in the host city of the title game each year. ESPN broadcaster John Saunders will emcee the dinner.

The following day on Friday, Jan. 8, the NFF will announce the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class in front of the national media who will be assembled at JW Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz., to cover the CFP National Championship. NFF Chairman Archie Manning will join ESPN broadcaster Joe Tessitore to make the announcement, which will be produced by BMG and carried live on ESPNU at 1 p.m. EST (11 a.m. MST).

Three to four new inductees from the class will be present at the hotel to represent the 14 players and one coach who have been selected as members of this year’s class. (Click here for a complete list of the players and coaches on the 2016 ballot.) The announcement continues the new NFF-CFP new tradition of annually unveiling the newest inductees before the title game at the media hotel in the host city.

Several of the inductees will be in town for the CFP National Championship between Clemson and Alabama on Monday, Jan. 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium, and they will assist on the field during the coin toss before the 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff on ESPN.

The NFF will also claim the national spotlight between the first and second quarters of the game to honor 2015 NFF Campbell Trophy recipient Ty Darlington, a two-time First-Team Academic All-American who led Oklahoma to the Big 12 Conference title. Darlington was named the winner of the 26th Campbell Trophy as college football’s top scholar-athlete at the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City on Dec. 8. He will be introduced during the break to the crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium, and he will be joined on the field by NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Hosts 11th Annual NFF National Hall of Fame Salute

The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl hosted the 11th Annual National Hall of Fame Salute on Dec. 31. The event, which took place at the Georgia Dome and just steps from the College Football Hall of Fame in the heart of Atlanta, utilized the bowl to showcase members of the 2015 Hall of Fame Class between the third and fourth quarters. The game between Houston and Florida State was nationally telecast on ESPN.

Prior to the game, a multi-day celebration for the inductees took place in Atlanta, including several unique events and a special public ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 30 where the inductees saw their legendary accomplishments permanently immortalized for the first time.

Replays of 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner and Press Conference Available on ESPN3

The NFF highlighted that ESPN3 is providing fans access to replays of the historic 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner and Annual Awards Press Conference, which took place on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The Dinner featured the induction of the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class, the awarding of the 26th William V. Campbell Trophy to Oklahoma center Ty Darlington and the presentation of the NFF Gold Medal to Dr. Condoleezza Rice. The American Sports Network is also providing a replay of the NFF Red Carpet Show, which featured interviews with some of the night’s high-profile honorees and guests.

Click here to watch the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on ESPN3.

Click here to watch the NFF Annual Awards Press Conference on ESPN3.

Click here to watch the NFF Red Carpet Show on the American Sports Network.

NFF Institutional Academic Membership Program Celebrates Record-Breaking Year

The NFF announced a record-breaking year for its Institutional Academic Membership program. On the heels of a high-water mark in 2014, the NFF reached new heights again with record levels of support from its Institutional Academic Members in 2015.

Each year, the NFF invites universities, colleges, conferences and bowl games from across the country to support the organization 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. Click here for a list of those who joined in 2015.

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 Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) athletics director Josh Whitman, who was an NFF National Scholar-Athlete at Illinois, and Wagner athletics director Walt Hameline, who played at Brockport (N.Y.) and served as the school’s head coach for 34 years before stepping down last year. 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:

·         Houston QB Greg Ward, Jr. has Led Cougars’ Resurgence in 2015

·         Cotton Bowl Showcases Alabama’s Stars as Good Guys

·         Elliot Lightfoot’s Commitment to Keeping the Youth’s Dreams Alive

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 held a special event honoring the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame class on Dec. 30. The inductees each received an official glass “blade” honoring their achievements. The following day the inductees were also recognized at the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl during the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Salute.


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 Famer Ty Detmer was hired as the offensive coordinator at his alma mater BYU.

College Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (TCU) will be inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame on May 7.

ESPN’s Jake Trotter wrote a great feature on College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder’s tradition of handwritten letters.

Four-time reigning national champion North Dakota State will take on No. 1 seed Jacksonville State in the FCS National Championship on Jan. 9 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The game is scheduled for a Noon ET kickoff on ESPN2. STATS will hold its annual FCS awards banquet on Jan. 8, the night before the subdivision’s national championship game. The ceremony will be emceed by College Football Hall of Famer Gary Reasons (Northwestern State), and other scheduled presenters include College Football Hall of Famer Doug Williams (Grambling State) and Hall of Fame coach Jerry Moore.

College Football Hall of Famer Troy Brown (Marshall) will serve as an assistant coach during the 91st East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

2008 Campbell Trophy winner Alex Mack (California) and past NFF National Scholar-Athletes Tyler Lockett (Kansas State, 2014) and Joe Thomas (Wisconsin, 2006) have been selected to the 2016 Pro Bowl.

2015 NFF Chris Schenkel Award recipient Jim Hawthorne called his last game as the “Voice of the Tigers” as LSU defeated Texas Tech in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. LSU running back Leonard Fournette set the single-season LSU rushing touchdown record in the game, finishing the season with 22.

2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Updates

2015 Campbell Trophy winner Ty Darlington helped Oklahoma outgain Clemson with 311 passing yards, but it was not enough as the Sooners fell to the Tigers in the 2015 College Football Playoff (CFP) Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31. Darlington was recently featured in a wonderful profile by USA Today’s George Schroeder. He will be honored during the first and second quarters of the CFP National Championship in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 11.

Offensive guard E.K. Binns helped Navy rush for 417 yards in its 44-28 victory over Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman for the Midshipmen’s third straight bowl win. He also helped quarterback Keenan Reynolds record his 88th career touchdown, breaking a tie with Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech for the most in FBS history.

Center Jacoby Boren helped Ohio State gain 496 yards of total offense as the Buckeyes beat Notre Dame, 44-28, in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. Boren and the rest of the Ohio State senior class finish their careers with a 50-4 record over the past four seasons.

Center Jake Brendel helped UCLA gain 386 yards, but the Bruins fell to Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl. Brendel will play in the 91st East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

Defensive back Taveze Calhoun recorded two tackles, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry as Mississippi State took down North Carolina State, 51-28, in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30. Mississippi State has now won nine games in consecutive seasons for the first time in the 116-year history of the program. Calhoun will play in the 91st East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

Linebacker Jordan Dobrich led Nevada with 10 tackles as the Wolf Pack defeated Colorado State, 28-23, in the inaugural NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. It was the program’s first bowl win since 2010.

Unanimous First Team All-America offensive tackle Spencer Drango led the way as Baylor piled up an FBS bowl-record 645 yards rushing to beat North Carolina, 49-38, in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl. Drango will play in the 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl on Jan. 30 in Mobile, Ala., at 2:30 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

UMass quarterback Blake Frohnapfel will play in the 91st East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

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 Ian Frye, the placekicker at Virginia who graduated in May 2015 with a 3.39 GPA in studio art.

“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 for a special New Year’s Six edition.

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

Click here for the complete 2015-16 College Football Playoff and bowl schedule… The Allstate Sugar Bowl announced a $100,000 donation to Teach For America in New Orleans, an amount that has been matched by the CFP Foundation…


Indiana State named Angie Lansing interim director of athletics… Miles Gallagher was named director of athletics at Millersville (Pa.)… Josh Looney has been named director of athletics at East Stroudsburg (Pa.)… Cincinnati Christian has named Kellen Zawadzki its interim athletics director… Grove City (Pa.) has named Todd Gibson as the college’s athletics director… Charlie Gross has been named the new director of athletics at Carroll College (Mont.)…  Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo earned a new contract upon deciding to stay as the institution’s head football coach… Washington State and head coach Mike Leach agreed to a contract extension through 2020…

Awards and Honors

Stanford tailback Christian McCaffrey was named the Associated Press’ college football player of the year… Chris Dufresne, a Past President of the Football Writers Association of America and recently retired columnist for The Los Angeles Times, will be honored as the FWAA’s Beat Writer of the Year…


Retiring Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer recorded his 280th win, including 238 at Tech, after the Hokies beat Tulsa in the Camping World Independence Bowl. The win also marked his 11th bowl victory and 23 straight winning seasons… California quarterback Jared Goff set the Pac-12 records for most passing yards and passing touchdowns in a single season…


Lamar has joined forces with ESPN3 to deliver live coverage of home football games beginning with the 2016 season…


A $500,000 gift from former Northwestern State football player Bryant Lewis and his wife, Heloise, will fund modernization of the reserved chairback seats on the lower deck of the west side stands at Turpin Stadium… The USU Credit Union has committed $2 million to the Utah State football stadium renovation…


The monthly series “College Athletics Construction Roundup” takes a look at news and updates on the construction of intercollegiate athletics facilities for December… The long wait is nearly over for Southeast Missouri State’s new weight room… Florida State donated its old scoreboard to Florida A&M… Wake Forest’s new indoor football facility is set to open soon…


Jimmy “Red” Parker
, who served as head football coach at Arkansas-Monticello, the Citadel, Clemson, Southern Arkansas, Delta State (Miss.) and Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) and played at Arkansas-Monticello, passed away Jan. 4. He was 82… Former Tulane linebacker and team captain Emmanuel “Tookie” Spann passed away Dec. 16. He was 48… Former Nevada football player Ed Jesse passed away Dec. 18. He was 86… Former UCLA football player Jim Decker passed away Dec. 20. He was 81… Former Tennessee-Martin football player William Terry Deverell passed away Dec. 20. He was 76… Former Morgan State football player Emmanuel Yarbrough passed away Dec. 21. He was 51… Former Michigan State football player Bob Suci passed away Dec. 21. He was 76… New Mexico safety Markel Byrd died in a car accident on Dec. 22. He was 20… Donald Grant, known as the first quarterback at Florida State, passed away Dec. 22. He was 92… Chuck Clausen, a former New Mexico center and linebacker and assistant coach at William & Mary and Ohio State, passed away Dec. 24. He was 75… Former Illinois and Tennessee State football player Claude Taliaferro passed away Dec. 24. He was 84… Former LSU running back and linebacker Donnie Daye passed away Dec. 25. He was 76… Former Nebraska tight end and punter Brent Longwell passed away Dec. 28. He was 64… Former Findlay (Ohio) football player Jerry Savoy passed away Dec. 28. He was 70… Charles Stokes, the starting left tackle on Tennessee’s 1951 national championship team, passed away Dec. 30. He was 85…


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.


Jan. 7, 2015 – Leadership Hall of Fame Induction Dinner for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill – 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.

Dec. 6, 2016
– 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria – New York City


Advertising in NFF publications will put your organization in front of key decision makers in football including key administrators, coaches, players, former players, as well as other key sports business executives throughout the year. To inquire about the print advertising opportunities available to your organization, please contact Kelli Hilliard at 404-467-8101 or  

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

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