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PSU Football players receive national academic honors

PSU Football players receive national academic honors

Bellamy, Bellerose, Bentley, Wilkins recognized by National FB Foundation

            IRVING, Texas  – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced Wednesday the members of the 2016 NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career. A total of 868 players from 275 schools qualified for membership as the society celebrates its 10th year, setting a new record for the number of players honored during the history of the program. 

            Plymouth State University's representatives in the group of seniors were defensive back Sam Bellamy (Keyport, N.J.), offensive linemen Ryan Bellerose (Hudson, N.H.) and Ryan Bentley (Charlestown, N.H.) and linebacker Zack Wilkins (West Simsbury, Conn.)

            Bellamy, an Environmental Planning major, and Wilkins, an Environmental Science & Policy major, are four-year veterans and three-year starters on defense for PSU, while Bellerose and Bentley are four-year veterans and three-year starters on the offensive line.

            "The number of colleges and universities who embrace the Hampshire Honor Society continues to increase each year," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "Over the past decade, it has become a powerful vehicle for schools to recognize their college football players who have distinguished themselves both academically and athletically, and we congratulate the schools and each of these young men for their commitment to excellence."

            The NFF Hampshire Honor Society capitalizes on the NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program by 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 775 colleges and universities with football programs nationwide.

            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 the chairman emeritus. Each player awarded with membership in this year's Honor Society will receive a certificate commemorating their achievement.

            "It was my great privilege to endow the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which has greatly increased the number of college student-athletes the NFF has been able to recognize during the past 10 years," said Hanson. "Nationwide there are thousands of football players excelling in the classroom, and they're going on to be great leaders. The NFF Hampshire Honor Society continues to grow and allows us to shine a light on their hard work."

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/NAIA-mandated progress towards degree requirements. 

            The Hampshire Honor Society represents an important component in the organization's rich history as an innovator in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal, which began in 1959 with the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. Launched with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik, the NFF 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. Since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $10.9 million to 816 top scholars and community leaders.

            Currently, the NFF distributes approximately $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 12-15 individuals. Each recipient of an NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award receives an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. Additionally, the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and displayed at its official home inside 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 Academic All-American and All-Big 12 center Ty Darlington (Oklahoma) in 2015, 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 million to local high school student-athletes, bringing the NFF's annual scholarship distribution total to more than $1.3 million.

  (Courtesy of the National Football Foundation) 

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