National Football Foundation

News Detail

NFF CHALKTALK – Feb. 9, 2016, Presented by
Latest news & notes from the world of college football.
Published: 2/9/2016 11:15:00 AM

(Pictured: The Touchdown Club of Atlanta-NFF Chapter hosted one of the largest signing day events in the nation on Feb. 3 at the new College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in Atlanta. More than 200 student-athletes from 40 schools across the state signaled their choices during a seven-hour live webcast.)

NFF Showcases Find Success in Houston and Southern California

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Football Hall of Fame caught up with organizers of the NFF Greater Houston Area Senior Football Showcase and the NFF California Showcase to discuss the impact on their respective communities.

In its eighth year, the Houston event took place on Feb. 6 at the Houston Texans’ Methodist Training Center, next to NRG Stadium. The event attracted 425 high school football players and representatives from 57 colleges and universities. The fourth edition of the California Showcase will be held Sat. Feb. 20, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., and is expected to attract around 500 players. Organizers estimate the Houston event annually produces around $12 million in scholarships and the California counterpart as much as $10 million.

The showcases provide academically eligible high school seniors, who did not sign an NCAA Division I letter of intent, an opportunity to earn academic and participation scholarships at the NCAA Division II, III and the NAIA levels. The events, which are absolutely free to the participants and the college recruiters, attracted representatives from 100 colleges covering 25 states last year.

NFF Chapters Stage National Signing Day Events

Several NFF Chapters staged events on Feb. 3 as part of National Signing Day, where the most promising high school senior student-athletes signed national letters of intent to play football in college. The Touchdown Club of Atlanta-NFF Chapter hosted one of the largest signing day events in the nation, which took place at the new College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in the heart of Atlanta. The NFF Tom Lombardo/St. Louis Chapter staged its first ever signing day event behind the leadership of Chapter President Bob Bunton, who described the day as simply awesome and one of the most rewarding experiences in his 25 years of involvement with the NFF.

Football Officials: The Next Generation

Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

The CFO coordinators of football for the Division I conferences met recently at the National Football Foundation in Irving, Texas, for their annual winter conference. In these sessions, the coordinators share ideas, discuss possible rules changes to recommend, compare notes about the season just past and review officiating mechanics. Officiating evolves as the game of football evolves, and it is important that our mechanics and understanding of the rules keep pace. The CFO coordinators are organized into various committees to help guide the officiating community in its training and preparation in all these areas.

Football coaches invest lots of time and energy into recruiting. In like manner, a key effort of the coordinators is recruiting: finding the next generation of officials who will work at the college level. The Division I coordinators work closely with their counterparts in Divisions II and III in identifying new talent and helping shape the officiating careers of officials at those levels with an eye toward moving up.        

Critical in this overall recruiting effort is a focused attempt to give women and minorities more opportunities to become football officials. Byron Boston, coordinator of football officials for the Southland Conference, chairs the coordinators’ Recruiting Committee, and he is providing sound leadership in this effort to level the playing field. One important measure of the success of these recruiting efforts is the growing presence of women and minority officials on crews working playoff and bowl games, including the national championship games for the Football Championship Subdivision and the College Football Playoff. High school officials and those in Divisions II and III can be encouraged by seeing these officials, giving them confidence that there are opportunities for them to advance to these high levels of college football.

NFF Salutes Black History Trailblazers on

As part of a Black History Month tribute, the NFF is profiling a few of the many significant individuals who helped integrate football on, the NFF’s digital platform for storytelling and promoting the good in the game. Last week’s stories focused on the Ivy League and one of the first primarily black backfields in college football history at UCLA, which featured Jackie Robinson, Woody Strode and College Football Hall of Famer Kenny Washington.

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:

·         Truck Driver Steve Rochell Travels the Country to Watch His Sons Play

·         Tragedy Marked the Early Part of Zach Hodges Life, Service & Success Mark Life Now

·         Former Idaho State Players Stay in Pocatello, Join Police Department

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 College Football Hall of Fame, the Touchdown Club of Atlanta-NFF Chapter, Fox 5 and 680 The Fan partnered to host a National Signing Day Party at the Hall of Fame on Feb. 3. More than 100 Georgia scholar-athletes declared their intentions to play college football at this special event, which was broadcast live by Fox 5 and 680 The Fan.

The Hall of Fame has introduced two new exhibits for fans to enjoy the greats of the game and test their football skills. The Kia Building a Champion Gallery guests will discover the “Test Your Skills Kia Performance Center,” which offers a one-of-a-kind football combine experience. Participants will find out if they have what it takes with a vertical leap, 40-yard dash and an agility reaction drill. The results are provided on a customized player draft card as a takeaway for fans. The Specialty Exhibit delivered by UPS is a new temporary display celebrating the 2015 Hall of Fame Class. The “2015 Hall of Fame Salute” features 10 game-worn jerseys, four helmets and other unique artifacts including a sweater vest worn by coach Jim Tressel in the 2002 National Championship Game. The exhibit also features the first-ever Butkus Award won by Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma) in 1985.


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


1997 NFF William V. Campbell Trophy winner Peyton Manning (Tennessee), the son of NFF Chairman Archie Manning, went 13-of-23 for 141 yards as the Denver Broncos seized a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Super Bowl 50. Peyton now ties his brother Eli, a 2003 NFF National Scholar-Athlete at Ole Miss, with two Super Bowl victories. Manning became the first NFL player to reach 200 career wins (regular season and postseason included), and he is also the only quarterback in NFL history to have led two different franchises to Super Bowl Championships.

Sports Illustrated
’s “Campus Rush” highlighted how the creativity of Athletics Director Ray Anderson, an NFF Board Member, has turned around Arizona State athletics.

College Football Hall of Famer Orlando Pace (Ohio State) was among eight named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

College Football Hall of Famer Eddie George (Ohio State) is performing in a seven-week stint in the musical Chicago on Broadway until Feb. 28.

College Football Hall of Fame Coach Frank Kush has just published a new book titled “Frank Kush, The Incredible Life Story of a Coaching Legend in His Own Words.”

College Football Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier (Florida), the former head coach at South Carolina, will serve as a special assistant for South Carolina president Harris Pastides and athletics director Ray Tanner.

2015 Campbell Trophy winner Ty Darlington (Oklahoma) was awarded the 2015 Bobby Bowden Award, presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, during a lunch ceremony in downtown Oklahoma City that featured the College Football Hall of Fame coach.

2002 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Bradie James (LSU) is the newly-appointed director of brand engagement at Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes.

2015 NFF Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the keynote speaker of the first-ever NFL Women’s Summit. She also participated in the NFL Honors on Feb. 6 in San Francisco, presenting former Georgia star and New Orleans TE Benjamin Watson as a candidate for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

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 Andrew Weidinger, a fullback at William & Mary who graduated in May 2015 with a 3.31 GPA in economics. He was also honored as a 2011 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete.

Presented by

The NFF Columbus (Ohio) Chapter hosted its 55th Annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet on Feb. 8 at the Ohio Union on the campus of Ohio State University. 1994 NFF National Scholar-Athlete and current ESPN broadcaster Joey Galloway (Ohio State) received the Ohio Gold Award, the highest honor given by the organization for contributions to amateur football. Fifteen high school scholar-athletes were honored with John H. McConnell and Worthington Industries Foundation Scholarships, and one claimed the Maggied-Romanoff Award as the most outstanding scholar-athlete of the group.

The NFF Morris County (N.J.) Chapter will hold its annual Sports Nut Night on Feb. 11 at the Madison Hotel in Morristown, N.J.

The NFF Tampa (Fla.) Chapter will host its Scholar-Athlete Banquet on Feb. 11 at the Double Tree Hotel in Tampa.

The NFF Arkansas Chapter’s Scholar-Athlete Banquet will take place Feb. 11 at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock. College Football Hall of Famer Willie Roaf (Louisiana Tech) and former Arkansas football players Dan Hampton and Darren McFadden will be among those in attendance.

The NFF Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony will take place Feb. 15 at Halas Hall. St. Ambrose (Iowa) senior kicker Matt Cotiguala will receive the 2015 Fred Mitchell Award at the event.

The NFF Mike Cleary/Northeastern Ohio Chapter will hold its Scholar-Athlete Banquet on March 8 at the LaCentre Banquet Facility in Westlake, Ohio. Recent Kent State graduate April Goss, who made history this past season after becoming just the second female to score a point in an FBS game, will speak on behalf of 12 Postgraduate Award winners. Other notable presenters and speakers at the banquet will include College Football Hall of Fame coach Jim Tressel, former Clemson and Cleveland Browns running back Kevin Mack and Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini.

The NFF Wyoming Chapter will hold its annual banquet in Laramie on March 19. The chapter will present $1,200 scholarships to finalists from each of the state’s five participation classes and two from the University of Wyoming. The finalists will be selected from a field of 101 nominations from 35 high schools and the University of Wyoming. From the group of finalists, one top scholar-athlete will be awarded a second scholarship and be the state’s nominee to represent the West Region as an NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete.

The NFF New York City Chapter will hold its Elite Eleven Dinner Apr. 5 at the New York Athletic Club, honoring the top scholar-athletes in New York City and presenting Jets and former Central Florida wide receiver Brandon Marshall with its Accorsi Award for his work with PROJECT 375, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental illness and disorders.


New Football Schools

The University of New England (Maine) has selected Mike Lichten as its head football coach. The Nor'easters will play a sub-varsity schedule in 2017 and commence varsity competition in 2018… A $15 million turf field and football operations facility was approved at UAB, which will return to the gridiron in 2017…

Conference Alignment

The Gulf South Conference announced the addition of North Greenville (S.C.) as a football-only affiliate member…


The American Athletic Conference announced its 2016 football schedule... Conference USA announced its 2016 football schedule… The Big 12 has announced two date changes to its 2016 conference football schedule… LSU has added Idaho to its 2020 schedule… Charlotte and Maryland have scheduled a home-and-home series for 2022 and 2023… Virginia and Old Dominion announced a three-game series scheduled for the 2018, 2020 and 2022 seasons… Bowling Green has added future games against Illinois and South Dakota… UNLV will open its 2016 football season by hosting Jackson State as part of a unique partnership between the two schools…


Health and safety in football will lead the agenda when the NCAA Football Rules Committee meets Feb. 9-11 in Orlando, Fla…


Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm has agreed to a four-year contract extension… Air Force and head coach Troy Calhoun have agreed to a one-year contract extension…

Awards and Honors

Former Kentucky tackle Warren Bryant, former Louisville safety Ray Buchanan, former Kentucky coach Blanton Collier, former Eastern Kentucky safety Myron Guyton and former Kentucky State defensive end Council Rudolph were elected to the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame…


Louisville is kicking off its 'Coming Full Circle' capital campaign to expand Papa John's Cardinal Stadium… Temple’s board of trustees voted unanimously in favor of pursuing a new football stadium…


Former Purdue All-American Ryan Kerrigan pledged $250,000 towards the construction of the school’s new football performance complex… Clemson alumnus Joe Swann and his wife, Bobbi, provided $3.3 million to the university for athletics facilities… Utica (N.Y.) has been awarded $2.5 million in matching state funds for improvements to athletics facilities… James Madison’s Duke Club had a record-breaking fundraising year, eclipsing the $4 million mark in 2015…

Marketing and Uniforms

Kentucky athletics unveiled an updated graphic identity and new football uniforms for the 2016 season… North Dakota has recommended a design firm to create a logo for the school's Fighting Hawks nickname… Knox (Ill.) unveiled a new Prairie Fire athletics logo…


Members of the Football Writers Association of America may begin submitting entries for the FWAA’s 2016 Best Writing Contest. Deadline for entries is June 15…


Longtime assistant college football coach and former Montclair State (N.J.) football player Peter Carmichael passed away Jan. 22. He was 74… Former Pittsburg State (Kan.) football player Ray Laing passed away Jan. 26. He was 77. Laing played on the 1957 NAIA National Championship team and later coached the 1961 National Champions at Pittsburg State… Jack Eaton, longtime play-by-play announcer for Memphis football, passed away Feb. 3. He was 86… Former Middle Tennessee State fullback Bill Hobbs passed away Feb. 3. He was 74… Former Oklahoma football player Bob Harrison passed away Feb. 4. He was 78… Former UNLV interim athletics director Fred Albrecht passed away Feb. 5… Former Syracuse football player Pasquale Caramanna passed away Feb. 5. He was 77… NFL Films composer Sam Spence passed away Feb. 6. He was 88… Former Delaware football player Bill Cole passed away Feb. 6. He was 91… Former West Virginia football player Tommy Ray Tucker passed away. He was 71…


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.

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Sept. 28, 2016 – Announcement of the semifinalists for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently displayed at the NYAC – Irving, Texas

Dec. 5, 2016
– Announcement and Presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup to the Ivy League Football Players of the Year at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel at an event presented by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses – New  York City

Dec. 6, 2016
– NFF Annual Awards Press Conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 6, 2016
– NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

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

Dec. 6, 2016
– 27th presentation of the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently displayed at the NYAC, to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 6, 2016
– Induction of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 31, 2016
– The 12th Annual NFF National Hall of Fame Salute during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Atlanta

Jan. 5, 2017
– NFF Leadership Hall of Fame Dinner – Tampa, Fla.

Jan. 6, 2017
– Announcement of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class – Tampa, Fla.

Jan. 9, 2017
– College Football Playoff National Championship at Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Fla.


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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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