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2017 NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Award Finalists Announced
Five distinguished scholar-athletes will be selected and honored at the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, in New York City on Dec. 5.
Published: 9/13/2017 10:55:00 AM
(Pictured: The 2016 NFF Chapter Scholar-Athletes were honored last December at the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour. Now in college, L-R: Phoenix College (Ariz.) WR Matthew Mitchell, Michigan OL Stephen Spanellis, Princeton LB John Orr, Princeton WR Andrew Griffin and Stanford TE Scooter Harrington.)

IRVING, Texas (Sept. 13, 2017)
– The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the names of the 35 finalists for the 2017 NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards, which will honor one young man from each of the country’s five regions as the best and the brightest for their accomplishments as athletes, scholars and citizens at the high school level.

The finalists all graduated from high school in 2017 and are now playing college football. A national committee will select the five honorees, who will be announced Oct. 4.

“The NFF Chapter Network continues to grow and excel, and their work this year has allowed us to identify these 35 exceptional high school scholar-athletes who have clearly established themselves among the best in the nation,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “It will be a difficult task to select one from each region as the absolute best. Each possesses incredible talent in all facets of their lives, and it is a tremendous honor for us to highlight their accomplishments.”

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.

The five NFF Chapter Scholar-Athletes selected from the finalists list below will travel to New York City to be honored during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the New York Hilton Midtown. First bestowed in 1991, the NFF Chapter 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.

For tickets to the Dec. 5 luncheon in New York, please contact Ron Dilatush at rdilatush@footballfoundation.com or by calling 972-556-1000.

2017 NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Award Finalist Highlights

  • 27th year of the NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards
  • 35 finalists from around the country
  • 4.1 average GPA
  • 12 finalists attending FBS schools
  • 13 finalists attending FCS schools
  • 10 finalists attending Division II, Division III, NAIA schools or junior colleges

East Region Nominees

  • Christian Anderson from Cardinal Hayes High School in New York City. Nominated by the NFF New York City Chapter and currently playing at the United States Military Academy.
  • Jackson Buskirk from Whitehall High School in Whitehall, Pa. Nominated by the NFF Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Chapter and currently playing at Moravian College (Pa.).
  • Jonathan DeBique from Baldwin High School in Baldwin, N.Y. Nominated by the NFF Nassau County (N.Y.) Chapter and currently playing at Long Island University-C.W. Post (N.Y.).
  • Pete Haffner from State College Area High School in State College, Pa. Nominated by the NFF Central Pennsylvania Chapter and currently playing at Lehigh University.
  • Major Jordan from North Schuylkill Junior-Senior High School in Ashland, Pa. Nominated by the NFF Schuylkill/Pottsville (Pa.) Chapter and currently playing at Lafayette College.
  • Spencer Kirin from Liberty High School in Eldersburg, Md. Nominated by the NFF Greater Baltimore Chapter and currently playing at Muhlenberg College (Pa.).
  • Rick Mottram from Allentown High School in Allentown, N.J. Nominated by the NFF Delaware Valley (N.J.) Chapter and currently playing at Bucknell University.
  • Samuel Smith from Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Va. Nominated by the NFF National Capital Region (D.C.) Chapter and currently playing at Elon University.

Midwest Region Nominees

  • Cole Brungardt from Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kan. Nominated by the NFF Sunflower (Kan.) Chapter and currently playing at the University of Kansas.
  • John Mahoney from Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. Nominated by the NFF Iowa Chapter and currently playing at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Nicholas Noyen from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in Cincinnati. Nominated by the NFF Greater Cincinnati Chapter and currently playing at the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Jakob Quasebarth from North White High School in Monon, Ind. Nominated by the NFF Joe Tiller/Northwest Indiana Chapter and currently playing at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Ind.).
  • Blake Smithback from Waunakee Community High School in Waunakee, Wis. Nominated by the NFF Wisconsin Chapter and currently playing at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Dalton Walsh from Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, Ind. Nominated by the NFF Southern Indiana Chapter and currently playing at Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.).

Northeast Region Nominees

  • Glenn Cunningham from Xavier High School in Middletown, Conn. Nominated by the NFF Casey-O’Brien/New Haven (Conn.) Chapter and currently playing at Fordham University.
  • Andrew Hopgood from Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, R.I. Nominated by the NFF Emo DiNitto/Rhode Island Chapter and currently playing at Bryant University.
  • Michael Laverriere from Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine. Nominated by the NFF State of Maine Chapter and currently playing at the University of Maine.
  • Bobby Maimaron from Duxbury High School in Duxbury, Mass. Nominated by the NFF Jack Grinold/Eastern Massachusetts Chapter and currently playing at Williams College (Mass.).
  • D. Major Roman from New London High School in New London, Conn. Nominated by the NFF Southeastern Connecticut Chapter and currently playing at Yale University.
  • Russell Thompson-Bishop from Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, Conn. Nominated by the NFF Doc Boisoneau/Northern Connecticut Chapter and currently playing at Syracuse University.

South Region Nominees

  • Jack Dinges from Marist School in Atlanta, Ga. Nominated by the Touchdown Club of Atlanta-NFF Chapter and currently playing at the University of North Carolina.
  • Austin Hicks from Happy Valley High School in Elizabethton, Tenn. Nominated by the NFF Mountain Empire (Tenn.) Chapter and currently playing at East Tennessee State University.
  • Khalil Lewis from McKinney North High School in McKinney, Texas. Nominated by the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter and currently playing at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • George Maya from Middle Creek High School in Apex, N.C. Nominated by the NFFCHOF Bill Dooley (N.C.) Chapter and currently playing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  • Nate McBride from Vidalia High School in Vidalia, Ga. Nominated by the NFF University of Georgia Chapter and currently playing at the University of Georgia.
  • Bryson Powers from Klein Collins High School in Spring, Texas. Nominated by the NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter and currently playing at the University of Tulsa.
  • Tyeous Sharpe from Parkland High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. Nominated by the NFF Corrigan/Faircloth (N.C.) Chapter and currently playing at Fayetteville State University (N.C.).
  • Blake Wooden from American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. Nominated by the NFF Brian Piccolo/Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Chapter and currently playing at Columbia University.

West Region Nominees

  • Nolan McCafferty from Big Horn High School in Big Horn, Wyo. Nominated by the NFF Wyoming Chapter and currently playing at Rocky Mountain College (Mont.).
  • Brandon Micale from Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo. Nominated by the NFF Colorado Chapter and currently playing at the University of San Diego.
  • Sampson Niu from James Madison High School in San Diego, Calif. Nominated by the NFF Walter J. Zable/San Diego Chapter and currently playing at the University of Oregon.
  • John Stamos from Villa Park High School in Villa Park, Calif. Nominated by the NFF Orange County (Calif.) Chapter and currently playing at Naval Academy Preparatory School (R.I.).
  • Corey Stephens from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. Nominated by the NFF Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) Chapter and currently playing at Arizona State University.
  • Kain Su'a from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, Calif. Nominated by the NFF Riverside County (Calif.) Chapter and currently playing at California Polytechnic State University.
  • Brett Traeger from John F. Kennedy High School in Mt. Angel, Ore. Nominated by the NFF Portland (Ore.) Chapter and currently playing at Western Oregon University.

During the past 26 years, 115 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF Chapter Scholar-Athletes, and this year will mark the 27th class of honorees. Past NFF Chapter Scholar-Athletes have gone on to hold various titles, including president, CEO, vice president, lawyer, NFL player, orthopedic surgeon, senior partner and financial analyst, among others. Recent recipients include Andrew Luck (2008, former Stanford and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback), Andrew Rodriguez (2008, Army West Point linebacker and winner of the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy®), Josh Rosen (2015, current starting quarterback at UCLA) and Weston Steelhammer (2013, First Team All-Mountain West defensive back at Air Force).

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

Following the Dec. 5 luncheon, the five 2017 recipients will attend the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, also at the New York Hilton Midtown, as honored guests where they will meet many of the game’s greatest legends and current college stars. As the culmination of the regular season, the evening event provides the stage for the induction of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class; the presentation of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments; the bestowing of the 28th NFF William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments, to college football’s top scholar-athlete; and the recognition of the 2017 NFF Major Award recipients.


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 FootballMatters.org, 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 Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

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