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NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter Announces 2017 Scholar-Athlete Honorees
Seven collegiate and 81 high school scholar-athletes to be honored at the chapter’s Ninth Annual Awards Banquet April 2.
Published: 3/23/2017 11:10:00 AM
(Pictured: The high school scholar-athletes honored at last year's NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter Annual Awards Banquet.)

IRVING, Texas (March 23, 2017)
– The National Football Foundation (NFF) Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter announced today the names of the seven Texas collegiate scholar-athletes and the record 81 North Texas high school scholar-athletes who will be honored for their accomplishments during the chapter's Ninth Annual Awards Banquet Sunday, April 2, at 6 p.m. CT at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria.

A number of scholarships will be awarded, and one high school player will be named the club’s top scholar-athlete. Award-winning sportscaster Scott Murray will serve as the evening's emcee for the ninth consecutive year.

“We are incredibly proud of this year’s scholar-athletes,” said Gerald Brence, president of the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter and the athletics director for the Plano Independent School District. “In the ninth year of our chapter, we are honoring a record number of high school scholar-athletes and these athletes continue to impress, not only on the field competitively but also as scholars and young community leaders. It’s always an honor to meet these young men, showcasing the great stories in North Texas that will inspire future student-athletes to excel in the classroom and become more involved in their communities.”

Selected from a pool of candidates that covers the entire region, the seven collegiate and 81 high school players (listed below) earned NFF chapter scholar-athlete recognition in 2017 after a rigorous review. The selection committee, comprised of coaches, teachers, administrators and business leaders from North Texas, evaluated the college and high school candidates based on their athletic accomplishments, academic performance and leadership in the community. The high school honorees will enroll in the fall at a prestigious list of institutions, including Ivy League schools, state universities and the service academies.

2017 NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Collegiate Scholar-Athletes

  • Matt Boggs – TCU
  • Andy Flusche – North Texas
  • Kyle Fuller – Baylor
  • Branden Hunt – Austin College
  • Jackson Mitchell – SMU
  • Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy – Midwestern State
  • Christian Rodriguez – Texas A&M-Commerce

2017 NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas High School Scholar-Athletes

  • Ramiro Aguilar Jr. – Dallas Sunset
  • Azeez Akande – Mesquite
  • Rance Albert – Dallas Woodrow Wilson
  • Colt Atkinson – Denton
  • Brandon Bascue – Flower Mound
  • Trey Bentley – Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis
  • Katrell Blakely – Mesquite Horn
  • Beau Blanton – Frisco Wakeland
  • Nicholas Bowen – Lake Highlands
  • John Brannon – Prosper
  • Isaiah Brown – Dallas Seagoville
  • Octavius Brown – Dallas Spruce
  • Grant Buckholt – Rockwall-Heath
  • Austin Buley – McKinney Boyd
  • Kizmarion Burns – Dallas Carter
  • Grant Buss – Frisco Liberty
  • Caleb Carlile – Waxahachie
  • Kendall Catalon – Mansfield Legacy
  • Eric Cato – Dallas Samuell
  • Marquis Clark – Dallas Molina
  • Dillon Davis – Aledo
  • Michael Dearman – Crandall
  • Damian English – Dallas Life School Oak Cliff
  • Kamron Fields – Garland Lakeview Centennial
  • Rocky Fraid – Carrollton Creekview
  • Stephen Gibbs – Dallas James Madison
  • Jordan Gomez – Dallas W.T. White
  • Tate Heitmeier – Mansfield Lake Ridge
  • Jonathan Hobart – McKinney
  • Donte Howell – North Mesquite
  • Noah Ingram – Mesquite Poteet
  • Bryce Jackson – Denton Guyer
  • Anthony Kantzabedian – Plano West
  • Hogan Keasler – Midlothian Heritage
  • Eric Knight – West Mesquite
  • Tony Krasniqi – Sachse
  • Zeke Kuyawa – Mansfield Timberview
  • Khalil Lewis – McKinney North
  • Eric Loop – Coppell
  • Brady Marek – Keller
  • Ian McIver – Keller Central
  • Caleb McKee – Arlington
  • Jay Mendenhall – Richardson J.J. Pearce
  • Ryan Miller – Southlake Carroll
  • Eric Mills – Keller Timber Creek
  • Solomon Mitchell – Dallas Kimball
  • Caleb Moore – Frisco Lone Star
  • Cody Morris – Dallas Adamson
  • Adin Morris-Barksdale – Dallas North Dallas
  • Brandon Motes – Rowlett
  • Michael Mulholland – Granbury
  • Josue Munoz – Mansfield Summit
  • Jacob Nordin – Carrollton Newman Smith
  • Dayo Odeyingbo – Carrollton Ranchview
  • Mario Ortiz – Colleyville Heritage
  • Jacob Palisch – Dallas Jesuit
  • Aaron Ragas Jr. – Plano Senior
  • Ruben Ramirez – Carrollton R.L. Turner
  • Eduardo Ramos – Dallas Roosevelt
  • Stone Ramsey – Dallas Bryan Adams
  • Terreon Randolph – Dallas Skyline
  • Brandon Reeves – Krum
  • Idahosa Robinson – Dallas Lincoln
  • Jack Rouse – Richardson Berkner
  • Elijah Rusche – Trophy Club Byron Nelson
  • Samuel Schaefer – Fort Worth Paschal
  • Noah Sims – Frisco Centennial
  • Miklo Smalls – Plano East
  • Iran Smith – Dallas South Oak Cliff
  • Anton Stewart – Dallas Hillcrest
  • George Stewart – Highland Park
  • Tyler Sutton – Fort Worth Western Hills
  • Travis Taylor – Garland Naaman Forest
  • Luis Trejo – Dallas Thomas Jefferson
  • Jalan Veasley – Richardson
  • Anthony Vogel – Lucas Lovejoy
  • Cailon Washington – North Crowley
  • Drake Wayland – Midlothian
  • Gregory Weather – Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins
  • Josh Whitlock – Mansfield
  • T.J. Williams – South Garland

The event will also pay tribute to several outstanding individuals for their contributions to the game and the North Texas region. Previously announced honorees include NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell, who will accept the Distinguished Texan Award, the chapter’s most prestigious honor.

Other honorees include Dallas businessman and former State Fair of Texas Chairman Pete Schenkel, who will receive the chapter’s Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award, and former Dallas Carter High School head football coach Freddie James, who will receive the Legends Award. The Steve Storie Official of the Year Award will go to George Shoup, an official for the Big 12, Mountain West and Southland conferences, while the Media Person of the Year Award will go to The Dallas Morning NewsMatt Wixon.

High school coach honorees include 6A Coach of the Year Todd Peterman (DeSoto), 5A Coach of the Year Randy Allen (Highland Park), 3A Coach of the Year Jake Fieszel (Gunter) and Assistant Coach of the Year Grayson Wells (Highland Park).

The event, which will start at 6 p.m. CT, has attracted a sellout crowd of 500-plus people each of the past eight years. For more information on 2017 tickets and/or banquet sponsorship opportunities, please contact club president Gerald Brence at 469-878-5370 or via email at

The NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas is one of 120 nationwide chapters of the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame. The NFF 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. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF High School Showcases, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes.

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