By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports
COOOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- A record four members of the Tennessee Tech University football team have been named to the National Football Foundation Hampshire Society for outstanding academic achievement.
The four Golden Eagles selected for the prestigious national honor are linebacker Jerry King, safety Cory McDonald, linebacker Seth McDonald, and offensive lineman James Normand.
That foursome from Tech is among the 838 student-athletes from
267 football playing schools from all divisions who qualified for
membership in the society's eighth year, setting a new record for
the number of members in the history of the program, which began in
2007. Honorees had to be seniors in their final season of
eligibility who maintained at least a 3.20 GPA throughout their
Following the 2013 season, King and Cory McDonald shared the Bill Dupes Inspiration Award. A senior from Stone Mountain, Ga., King overcame injuries that had sideined him off-and-on throughout his career, and played in seven games. He was a vocal leader, both on and off the field. McDonald, a senior from Redwood City, Calif., played in all 12 contests and made 38 tackles with one interception.
The Tech Pride Award was presented to linebacker Seth McDonald, a senior from Sparta, Tenn., who saw action in all 12 games in his final season. A backup linebacker, he also played on special teams and as a fullback in short yardage situations.
The team's Academic Award went to Normand, a senior from Oak Ridge, Tenn., who earned his accounting degree in three years and played his final season as a graduate student while beginning work toward a master's degree in accounting degree. Also selected as one of the team's four permanent team captains, Normand started all 12 contests as a senior, and finished his career with 36 starts. He also received the Sonny Allen Team Leadership Award. Earlier in the year, Normand was named CoSIDA Academic All-District and won Scholar-Athlete honors from the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the NFF
"Each of those seniors selected is an outstanding young man," said TTU head coach Watson Brown. "It has been an honor to coach them."
"We continue to raise the bar each year for the number of
student-athletes who qualify for membership in the Hampshire Honor
Society," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "The
Hampshire Honor Society plays an important role in highlighting
that college football players clearly play a leadership role in the
classroom as well as on the playing field. We congratulate each of
these young men for their commitment to excellence."
The NFF Hampshire Honor Society capitalizes on the NFF's current National Scholar-Athlete program greatly expanding the number of scholar-athletes the NFF can recognize each year. The program further strengthens the organization's leadership role in encouraging academic performance by the student-athletes who play football at the more than 700 college and universities with football programs nationwide. The initiative has honored 4,927 student-athletes since its inception, and the program has experienced growth every year in either members or school participation since its launch in 2007. The 2014 class of 838 players represents a new high water mark for members, eclipsing the old record mark by 117 student-athletes.
Jon F. Hanson, the chairman and founder of The Hampshire Companies, provided the endowment to launch the NFF Hampshire Honor Society in 2007. He made the contribution as part of his legacy to the organization after serving as NFF chairman from 1994-2006. He currently serves the organization as a chairman emeritus. Each player awarded with membership in this year's Honor Society will receive a certificate commemorating their achievement.
"We have honored more than 4,900 student-athletes in the last eight years thanks to Jon Hanson's generosity," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, "We are grateful for his passionate belief in the scholar-athlete ideal, and the Hampshire Honor Society allows us to showcase the names of tomorrow's leaders while inspiring future generations to follow in their footsteps."
Qualifications for membership in the NFF Hampshire Honor Society include:
* Being a starter or a significant contributor in one's last year of eligibility (or a senior who has declared for the NFL Draft) at an 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.
The Hampshire Honor Society represents a powerful component in the organization's rich history as an innovator in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal. Launched in 1959 with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik, the NFF's National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, became the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on a player's combined academic success, football performance and community leadership. And, since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $10.4 million to 787 top scholars and community leaders.
Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 16 individuals. Each winner of a National Scholar-Athlete Award receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. Additionally, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth and hosted at the New York Athletic Club, is given to one member of each year's class as the absolute best. The winner of the Campbell Trophy, claimed by All-American guard John Urschel (Penn State) in 2013, receives a total scholarship of $25,000 and a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy. Through, its chapter network, the NFF also awards an additional $1.3 million to local high school student-athletes, bringing the NFF's annual scholarship distribution total to more than $1.6 million.
A total of 19 student-athletes from the Ohio Valley Conference are listed on the 2014 Hampshire Honor Roll. In addition to King, McDonald, McDonald and Norman, OVC players selected are Reese Bulmash, Josh Carroll, Kyle Harrison, Jared Sexton, Iosua Siliva and Ben Stansfield from Austin Peay, Gavin Willisson and Cameron Berra from Eastern Illinois, Dominic Pagliara, Jordan Berry, Tyler Horn and Ichiro Vance from Eastern Kentucky, and Kadeem Edwards and Timothy Murphy from Tennessee State.
About the Hampshire Foundation:
The Hampshire Foundation is the charitable arm of The Hampshire Companies, a privately-held, fully-integrated real estate firm that has more than 50 years of hands-on, cycle-tested experience in acquiring, developing, leasing, repositioning, managing, financing and disposing of real estate. Founded by Jon F. Hanson, who served as NFF Chairman from 1994-2006, Hampshire is headquartered in Morristown, N.J., has 102 employees, and currently owns and operates a diversified portfolio of 259 properties in 28 states totaling more than 25 million square feet. Learn more at www.hampshireco.com.
About The National Football Foundation:
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 the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF Showcases, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF Faculty Salute Initiative presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF also presents the William V. Campbell Trophy endowed by HealthSouth and hosted at the New York Athletic Club as well as bestowing several other major awards at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Liberty Mutual Insurance, the Sports Business Journal, and Under Armour. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.