by Charles Cochrum
IRVING, Texas -- The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today that Rice defensive linemen Dylan Klare and Brian Nordstrom are among a group of 817 players who have been named members of the 2015 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 Refugio, Texas native, Klare finished third on the team in 2014 with eight tackles for loss, including five sacks. The civil engineering major started 12 games and played in all 13 while racking up a career-high 24 tackles in his senior campaign. The four-time Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll member played in 51 games in his career and made 74 tackles, including 10 for loss.
A CoSIDA Academic second team All-America and C-USA first team all-conference selection in 2014, Nordstrom played three seasons for the Owls at defensive end. The Woodlands, Texas native started all 13 games this year as a redshirt junior and tallied 49 tackles with a league-leading 19.5 for loss, including 7.5 sacks. He graduates in May with a degree in civil engineering.
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 772 colleges and universities with football programs nationwide. The initiative has honored 5,744 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 278 schools represented in 2015 is a new high water mark, eclipsing the 267 schools in 2014. The total of 817 players in the 2015 class is the second-most in the program's history, only 21 behind the 838 honored last year.
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 nearly 6,000 student-athletes in the last nine 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/NAIA-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, 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 $10.7 million to 804 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 postgraduate scholarship. Additionally, the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments 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 Academic All-American and All-ACC linebacker David Helton (Duke) in 2014, 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.