National Football Foundation

News Detail

Excitement Builds for Star-Studded 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner
2017 Hall of Fame inductees Peyton Manning, Steve Spurrier, Marshall Faulk and Matt Leinart headline the Dec. 5 honorees.
Published: 11/29/2017 11:00:00 AM
IRVING, Texas (Nov. 29, 2017) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame highlighted today that its fabled 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, which will take place Dec. 5 at the New York Hilton Midtown, promises to be one of the most memorable in history.

A star-studded College Football Hall of Fame Class headlines the event, and 13 of the game’s current stars will collect $241,000 in postgraduate scholarships as members of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The 13 student-athletes will also vie as finalists for the coveted William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments, which will be awarded during the event for the 28th time to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete. A record crowd is expected, as the event moves to a new venue this year.

Fans can watch live streams of both the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3, and the morning press conference, starting at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN3. BMG Productions will produce the Dinner and surrounding events under the direction of George Sechrist.


“Many people have come together to support this year’s Annual Awards Dinner, and their efforts promise to make the event a celebration for the ages. We thank them all,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “As a bridge between the regular season and the bowl season, the NFF Dinner provides a unique setting where we briefly set aside intense rivalries to join together to celebrate our sport. This year is extra special, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of our organization and the 60th Annual Awards Dinner. If you’re passionate about college football, there will be no better place to be on Dec. 5.”

Since 1958, when U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower took a break from the election trail to accept the NFF Gold Medal at the inaugural event, the NFF Annual Awards Dinner has proven to be one of our nation’s most magnetic affairs, attracting giants of industry and leaders from all walks of life to the New York City. The 2017 banquet marks the 60th edition, and the event has become the one night of the year that brings together all entities of college football, even bitter rivals, to celebrate the game. This year marks the first time the event will be held at the New York Hilton Midtown.

“The National Football Foundation represents everything right about our great sport, and this night simply features the best and brightest of college football,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “The accomplishments of our 2017 honorees make us all proud while providing us the ultimate vehicle for inspiring future generations to follow in their footsteps.”


The 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner – December 5

With more than 70 current collegiate head coaches and more than 40 returning members of the College Football Hall of Fame in attendance, the night will feature several well-known football luminaries. ESPN3 will stream the Annual Awards Dinner live, beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.

  • Master of Ceremonies: Joe Tessitore, ESPN broadcaster
  • National Anthem and God Bless America: Daniel Rodriguez (Rodriguez will be joined for the National Anthem by Marla Kavanaugh, Margaret Kelly and Ciarán Sheehan)
  • Invocation: Father Thomas Valenti, Columbia University team chaplain
  • Bestowal of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments: Kathy Murphy, NFF Vice Chairwoman and President of Personal Investing at Fidelity Investments
  • Awarding of the 28th William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments: Jon F. Hanson, NFF Chairman Emeritus
  • NFF Chris Schenkel Award Recipient: Jon Teicher, Voice of the UTEP Miners
  • NFF John L. Toner Award Recipient: Dan Guerrero, UCLA Director of Athletics
  • NFF Celebrates 70th Anniversary: Jack Ford, NFF Vice Chairman and TV personality
  • Introduction of the 2017 Hall of Fame Class: Archie Griffin, NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Ohio State
  • Response on behalf of the 2017 Hall of Fame Coaches: Steve Spurrier, former Duke, Florida and South Carolina head coach and a Hall of Fame player at Florida
  • Response on behalf of the 2017 Hall of Fame Players: Peyton Manning, former Tennessee quarterback and the 1997 Campbell Trophy® recipient
  • Official Hall of Fame Ring Ceremony: Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Mississippi


2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class

The induction of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class serves as the highlight of the evening and provides the ultimate stage for the legends of yesteryear to take their rightful place among the immortals of the game. This year’s class stands among the greatest of all-time, encompassing 10 First Team All-Americans, three coaches, one Campbell Trophy® winner, three unanimous First Team All-Americans, seven consensus First Team All-Americans, five winners of college football major awards, one coach with the highest winning percentage in college football history, the youngest coach to ever win a national title and just the fourth individual to enter the Hall as both a player and a coach.

The 2017 College Football Hall of Fame class includes:

·         Bob Crable, LB – Notre Dame (1978-81)

·         Marshall Faulk, RB – San Diego State (1991-93)

·         Kirk Gibson, WR – Michigan State (1975-78)

·         Matt Leinart, QB – Southern California (2003-05)

·         Peyton Manning, QB – Tennessee (1994-97)

·         Bob McKay, OT – Texas (1968-69)

·         Dat Nguyen, LB – Texas A&M (1995-98)

·         Adrian Peterson, RB – Georgia Southern (1998-2001)

·         Mike Ruth, NG – Boston College (1982-85)

·         Brian Urlacher, DB – New Mexico (1996-99)

·         Danny Ford, Coach – Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)

·         Larry Kehres, Coach – Mount Union [Ohio] (1986-2012)

·         Steve Spurrier, Coach – Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)


2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments

The 13 members of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class begin their sojourn with a trip to a New York steakhouse. The 13 honorees, who will each vie as a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy® as the nation’s top scholar-athlete, boast an astounding 3.76 average GPA. Other class accolades (based on 2016 accomplishments) include nine Academic All-Americans, 12 academic all-conference selections, five All-Americans, nine all-conference players and six school record holders. Each Scholar-Athlete receives an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship with the Campbell Trophy® honoree claiming a grand total of $25,000.

The 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class/Campbell Trophy® finalists include:

·         Sam Benger, RB – Carnegie Mellon (Pa.)

·         Braxton Berrios, WR – Miami (Fla.)

·         Mason Hampton, C – Boise State

·         Justin Jackson, RB – Northwestern

·         Micah Kiser, LB – Virginia

·         Justin Lea, OL – Jacksonville State

·         Brad Lundblade, C – Oklahoma State

·         Marcus Martin, DE – Slippery Rock (Pa.)

·         Chandon Sullivan, DB – Georgia State

·         Blaise Taylor, CB – Arkansas State

·         Marlon Walls, S – Stephen F. Austin

·         Chris Weber, LB – Nebraska

·         Jake Wieneke, WR – South Dakota State


NFF Annual Awards Press Conference – December 5

The morning press conference will give media and fans a chance to hear from the NFF Major Award winners, the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class and the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The press conference will also include the announcement of the 2017 MEAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, the 2017 recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy for community service and the announcement of the finalists for the 2017 FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. ESPN3 will carry the entire press conference live, beginning at 9 a.m. ET.

  • Press Conference Moderator: Holly Rowe, ESPN reporter
  • Comments on the NFF: Steve Hatchell, NFF President & CEO
  • Comments on the 2017 National Scholar-Athlete Class: Kathy Murphy, NFF Vice Chairwoman and Fidelity Investments President of Personal Investing
  • Announcement of the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy winner: Danny Wuerffel, 1996 Campbell Trophy® recipient and College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Florida
  • Announcement of the 2017 MEAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year: Dennis Thomas, MEAC Commissioner
  • Comments from the MEAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year
  • Announcement of the finalists for the 2017 FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award: Steve Richardson, FWAA Executive Director, and Stanley Cohn, Allstate Sugar Bowl President

The NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour – December 5

The NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon will take place at 11:45 a.m. ET at the New York Hilton Midtown. The NFF will honor the five NFF Chapter Scholar-Athletes and the five winners of the 2017 Chapter Leadership Awards at the event.

  • Master of Ceremonies: Don McPherson, College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Syracuse
  • Welcome: Walker Jones, Under Armour Senior Director, Global Sports Marketing
  • Presentation of the NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards: Amy Yakola, ACC Executive Associate Commissioner & Chief of External Affairs

The 2017 NFF Chapter Scholar-Athletes include:

  • John Mahoney – from Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, and the Iowa Chapter in the Midwest Region. (Currently attending Notre Dame)
  • Bobby Maimaron – from Duxbury High School in Duxbury, Mass., and the Jack Grinold/Eastern Mass. Chapter in the Northeast Region. (Currently attending Williams [Mass.])
  • Brandon Micale – from Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo., and the Colorado Chapter in the West Region. (Currently attending San Diego)
  • Rick Mottram – from Allentown High School in Allentown, N.J., and the Delaware Valley (N.J.) Chapter in the East Region. (Currently attending Bucknell)
  • Blake Wooden – from American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla., and the Brian Piccolo/Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Chapter in the South Region. (Currently attending Columbia)

The 2017 Chapter Leadership Award recipients include:

  • Bob Bacewicz from the Southeastern Connecticut Chapter in the Northeast Region
  • John Barzizza from the Memphis (Tenn.) Chapter in the South Region
  • Jeff Felton from the Wyoming Chapter in the West Region
  • Ron Hoehn from the Delaware Valley (N.J.) Chapter in the East Region
  • John Weiler from the Tom Lombardo/St. Louis Chapter in the Midwest Region

Ivy League Asa S. Bushnell Cup Announcement, presented by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses – December 4

On the day before the event, the NFF will partner with the Ivy League to co-host a Noon ET presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup, which honors the Ivy League Football Players of the Year. The event will take place at the New York Hilton Midtown as part of the festivities leading up to the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, and it will be carried live on The Ivy League® Network. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses returns for a fourth consecutive year as the presenting sponsor of the event.

  • Master of Ceremonies: George Pyne, NFF Board Member, former All-Ivy League offensive tackle at Brown and a charter inductee into the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame
  • NFF Opening Remarks: Steve Hatchell, NFF President & CEO
  • Welcome Address: Lance Tibbet, Pasadena Tournament of Roses President
  • Comments on the Ivy League football season and announcement of the 2017 Bushnell Cup winners: Robin Harris, Ivy League Executive Director

William V. Campbell Trophy® Luncheon at the New York Athletic Club – December 6

The New York Athletic Club will host a special luncheon the day after the Annual Awards Dinner in honor of the 2017 Campbell Trophy® recipient. The NYAC became the official home of the Campbell Trophy® in 2013, and the award is prominently displayed in the NYAC Hall of Fame.

  • Emcee and NFF Welcome: Jack Ford, NFF Vice Chairman, TV personality and former Yale football player
  • Welcome: James Rafferty, NYAC President
  • Recognition of the 2017 Campbell Trophy® recipient
  • Comments from the 2017 Campbell Trophy® recipient

NFF National Scholar-Athletes at the 2017 Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum – December 6

The NFF has partnered with the SportsBusiness Journal in helping promote the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, which takes place Dec. 6-7 in New York. This year, the NFF will again send three members of the 2017 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class to speak at the forum as part of a panel discussing their life-changing experiences as high performing student-athletes (if one of these three wins the 2017 Campbell Trophy®, they will not attend the Forum). The panel will take place on Dec. 6 at 10:40 a.m. ET.

  • Panel Moderator: Jack Ford, NFF Vice Chairman, TV personality and former Yale football player
  • Participating NFF National Scholar-Athletes: Justin Jackson (Northwestern), Brad Lundblade (Oklahoma State) and Blaise Taylor (Arkansas State)

Corporate Partners

Corporate partners involved with the NFF Annual Awards Dinner and surrounding events include:

  • Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Herff Jones
  • iSix
  • New York Athletic Club
  • The Pasadena Tournament of Roses
  • PrimeSport
  • Spielman Koenigsberg & Parker, LLP
  • SportsBusiness Journal
  • SportsManias
  • Sports Systems
  • Under Armour
  • UPS
  • VICIS
  • XOS Digital


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 Football Matters®, 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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