April 11, 2018
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the members of the 2018 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 careers. University of South Carolina offensive lineman Cory Helms is one of an all-time high 1,251 players from a record-tying 302 schools who qualified for membership in the society's 12th year.
"We are pleased to see another record number of athletes honored by the Hampshire Honor Society this 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 in all aspects of their lives."
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 at the 778 colleges and universities with football programs nationwide.
The 1,251 players honored in 2018 sets a new high water mark, eclipsing the previous record of 1,103 honorees in 2017. The 302 schools with members ties the previous mark also set in 2017. Helms, a 6-4, 309-pounder from Alpharetta, Ga., graduated from the University of South Carolina in December with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.
The initiative has now honored 8,994 student-athletes since its inception, and the program has experienced growth every year in either members or school participation since its launch in 2007.
Nominated by their respective schools, members of the NFF Hampshire Honor Society must have:
• Completed their final year of playing eligibility in 2017;
• Graduated players, who have remaining eligibility but will not return to collegiate play (e.g. declared for NFL Draft or retired from football), may also be nominated.
• Achieved a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout entire course of undergraduate study; and
• Met all NCAA- or NAIA-mandated progress toward degree requirements.
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 12 years," said Hanson. "Nationwide there are thousands of football players excelling in the classroom, and they are going on to become great leaders. The NFF Hampshire Honor Society continues to grow and allows us to shine a light on their hard work."
"We have honored more than 8,900 student-athletes in the last 12 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."
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