Huntingdon Football Places Three on 2009 NFF Hampshire Honor Society


By Adam Bagni

DALLAS, Texas --- The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) has announced the members of the 2009 NFF Hampshire Honor Society, and three members of the Huntingdon football team were honored for their scholastic achievement.

Offensive linemen Philip Bailey and Gary Nelson, as well as linebacker Caleb Hartin were three of a record-setting 564 players from 266 schools to qualify for membership in the society's third year, a 27 percent increase from the 2008 class.

In the first three years of the Honor Society, 17 Huntingdon football student-athletes have been recognized. Previous members include offensive linemen Will Brannon, C.J. Easterly, Cliff Groce, Matt Thompson and Avery Ford, quarterback Zach Golson, fullback Justin Nelson, wide receiver Mark Colson, defensive linemen Jacob Seales, Fred Shelby and Will Smith, cornerback Bryan Wells and punter Yancey Gordon.

The Hawks had a state-high three players named to the Society. Joining Bailey, Nelson and Hartin from within the state of Alabama were Will Chambless from Troy and Mitchell Waters from Samford. Other notable players from around the country to be honored were National Football League (NFL) first-round draft choice Alex Mack of California, Heisman Candidates Chase Daniels of Missouri and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech, All-American James Laurinaitis of Ohio State, Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle of Florida State, All-American Juan Joseph of Millsaps and Gagliardi Trophy winner Greg Micheli from Mount Union.

Qualifications for membership in the NFF National Honor Society include: Being a starter or a significant substitute in one's last year of eligibility at an accredited NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, or an NAIA college or university; Achieving a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout entire course of undergraduate study; and Meeting all NCAA-mandated progress towards degree requirements.

Since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $8.9 million to 708 top scholars and community leaders. Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 15 individuals. Each winner of a National Scholar-Athlete Award receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. Additionally, the Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, is given to one member of each year's class as the absolute best. The winner of the Draddy, claimed by Cal center Alex Mack in 2008, receives a total scholarship of $25,000 and a stunning 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy. Through, its chapter network, the NFF awards an additional $800,000 to local high school student- athletes, bringing the NFF's annual scholarship total to more than $1.1 million.

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