The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced today, its 2004 National Scholar-Athlete Class, which this year includes student-athletes from all NCAA divisions, I-A, I-AA, II, and III . They are:
Awardee School Pos. Major Hometown William Bajema Oklahoma State University TE General Business Oklahoma City , OK Jeffrey Berk West Virginia University OL Education Dayton , OH Trenton Franz University of Wyoming OL Civil Engineering Fort Collins , CO David Greene University of Georgia QB Risk Management Snellville , GA Josh Haldi Northern Illinois University QB Accounting Madison , OH James Leonhard University of Wisconsin FS Kinesiology Tony , WI Michael Munoz University of Tennessee OL Political Science Mason , OH Bryan Randall Virginia Tech QB Sociology Williamsburg , VAp. Division I-AA
Martinsville , VA Michael Quarshie
Helsinki , Finland Craig Unger
Morehead State University
Greenfield , OHp. Division II
E. New Mexico University
Business Admin. / CIS
Lubbock , TXp. Division III *
Severna Park , MD Rocky Myers
Frederica , DE John Woock
Washington Univ. in St. Louis
Louisville , KYp. We are pleased to have an the opportunity to recognize college footballs best and brightest with these prestigious post-graduate scholarships, said NFF *Chairman Jon F. Hanson . These gentlemen have set the standard at their institution for all future student-athletes to follow, and we salute them for their dedication in becoming standouts on the gridiron, in the classroom and in their communities.
To be eligible for a National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame post-graduate fellowship, the nominee must be a senior or graduate student in his final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, have shown superior academic application and performance, have outstanding football ability as a first team player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
After thorough review of over 150 outstanding candidates representing schools of all sizes and all playing levels, the committees deliberations resulted in the selection of an exceptional 15 scholar-athletes,stated Robert E. Mulcahy III * , chairman of the Awards Committee and director of athletics at Rutgers University. Knowing the importance of these awards, the committee takes the charge of selecting the best and brightest seriously, and I applaud them for this effort.
These scholar-athletes will be recognized at The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fames 47 th Annual Awards Dinner on December 7, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Also being honored at the dinner will be the 2004 College Football Hall of Fame Division I-A Class, which will share the dais with these scholar-athletes.
Each scholar-athlete receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and that evening, one will receive the Draddy Trophy as the top scholar-athlete in the nation, increasing the scholarship to $25,000.
With 119 chapters and over 13,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in Americas young people. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., PLAY IT SMART , The NFF Center for Youth Development Through Sport at Springfield College (Mass.), the NFL -NFF Coaching Academy, and annual scholarships of nearly $1 million for College and High School Scholar-Athletes.
Oklahoma State University
One of the top pass-catching tight ends in the BIG -12 Conference, Oklahoma States Billy Bajema is also one of the schools most decorated student-athletes.
Possessing a double major in Business Administration and Pre-Medicine, Bajema has thrived academically. A two-time First Team Academic All-Conference and CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, he has received Oklahoma States Academic Achievement Award three times. A six-time member of the BIG -12 Commissioners Honor Roll, Bajema has also received Presidents Honor Roll and Deans List Honor Roll recognition three times.
On the gridiron, Bajema earned Second Team All-Conference honors in 2003 and an Honorable Mention in 2002. A leader on the offensive line, he has compiled more than 40 receptions and 600 yards in his career to date. Showing his big-play ability, Bajema caught a 58-yard pass en route to a career-high 99 yards vs. Oklahoma in 2003.
A member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Bajema volunteers with the Unity Council and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. A guest speaker at various Oklahoma area high schools, he also assists children with Reading and Math.
- *Offensive Guard
- West Virginia University
A dominant offensive lineman, Jeffrey Berk of West Virginia University has proven himself as a positive force on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Berk has led by example his entire collegiate career earning respect from his peers, coaches and teammates.
A member of the National Student Honor Society, Berk graduated in December of 2003 with a Bachelors in Athletic Coaching Education and is currently working towards his Masters Degree in Special Education. An Athletics Directors Academic Honor Roll member, he was honored by the National Student Consortium.
Berk is the leader of an offensive line that has blocked for a Top 20 ranking rushing attack each of the last three years. A Second Team All-Conference pick in 2003, he is the only WVU lineman to start every game during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Always active in the community, Berk speaks and mentors special education students and is aBuddy Leaderin the West Virginia State Special Olympics. A vacation bible school group leader, he and his wife make numerous WVU Childrens Hospital visits and volunteer for benefits helping those afflicted with Alzheimers Disease. A tutor for grade school Math and Reading, Berk also coaches Pee-Wee football.
- *Wide Receiver
- Middlebury College (VT)
A true inspiration to his family, friends, teammates, coaches and classmates, Tom Cleaver has exceeded the greatest of expectations, athletically and academically, while he boldly continues to fight Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia. Once it was believed his playing career was over. Today, he leads the conference in receiving.
Despite a long absence from school while receiving treatments and visiting hospitals, Cleaver admirably maintained his impressive academic record. A Political Science major and Economics minor, he is a Deans List member and is scheduled to graduate in 2005.
While his triumphs in the classroom are impressive, his gains on the gridiron are remarkable. Since his disease rendered him temporarily blind on the field in 2001 and chemotherapy weakened his body, he has launched himself into a rigorous training regiment, which has enabled his return to the field. In his first game back, he caught five passes for a team-high 76 yards and two touchdowns. In 2003, Cleaver had the second-best single-season receiving performance (749 yards) in school history and earned First Team All-Conference honors.
The team captain, Cleaver currently leads the conference and ranks in the top five among national leaders in receiving this season. Director of the Middlebury M.S. Walk, he received the ECAC Award of Valor, the conferences highest award, which is presented to a student-athlete whose courage, motivation and relentless determination serves as an inspiration to all.
- University of Wyoming
One of the nations top centers, Wyomings Trenton Franz has displayed an equally impressive dedication to academics, leadership and his local community.
A three-time Academic All-Conference selection, Franz graduated Cum Laude in May and is currently working towards a graduate degree in Civil Engineering. A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District pick, he has received the Ryan WillsonWant To,Bruce A. Campbell and Alfred N. Pentce Scholarships. A recipient of an EPSCOR Research Grant to study Fiber Reinforced Polymer Concrete Members, Franz is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Mortar Board.
A two-time All-Conference Honorable Mention and having started every game in his collegiate career, Franz was named as one of the Top 40 centers nationally in College Football Magazine and appears on the 2004 Outland TrophyWatch List.
Extremely active in the community, Franz was the co-chair for the Tau Beta Pi Honors Banquet and participated in the Mortar Board National ProjectReading Is Learning. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he volunteers with the Salvation Army and participated in a dedication ceremony and autograph session for Wyoming National Guard troops. A participant in the Wyoming Head Start Program, Franz worked as an intern for two summers at Lidstone and Associates, an engineering firm.
- University of Georgia
One of the nations elite quarterbacks, David Greene has helped guide the Georgia Bulldogs to national prominence in recent years, including 2002s 13-1 record and their first SEC title in 20 years.
A CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 2003, Greene is a member of the SEC Academic and UGA Athletics Department Honor Rolls. A Risk Management major, he is a regular on the Deans List and is a member of the Blue Key Honor Society.
Named SEC Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Sporting News , Greene is a two-time All-Conference performerFirst Team in 2002, Second Team in 2003. Rated the nations fifth-best quarterback by The Sporting News in 2003, he was one of 15 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award and was named Best All-Around Offensive Player in the Spring by UGA . A starter in all 39 career games, Greene has passed for more than 10,000 yards and 60 touchdowns and is a candidate for the Heisman, Unitas and OBrien Awards.
A dedicated leader and citizen, Greene was twice named captain of the Bulldogs and received the UGA Copas Leadership Award. A member of the American Football Coaches Association and SEC Good Works Teams, he received the Peach of an Athlete Award from the Boy Scouts of America and volunteers for Habitat-for-Humanity and Toys for Tots.
- Northern Illinois University
A quintessential scholar-athlete, Josh Haldi of Northern Illinois is the undisputed leader of the Huskie offense and a role model in the classroom.
A two-time First Team Academic All-Conference selection, Haldi is a member of the Beta Alpha Psi Honorary Accounting and Beta Gamma Sigma Honorary Societies. A regular Deans List member, he was named MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week vs. Iowa State in 2003 and is a Victory Scholar in NIU s Academic Excellence Program.
Named to the 2004 Preseason Davey OBrien AwardWatch List,Haldi passed for 2,544 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2003both marks rank second-best in school history. A two-time team captain, he ranks #9 among current quarterbacks in career win-loss record. Ranking #26 nationally in passing efficiency (142.02) in 2003, Haldi recorded eight 200-yard passing games and one 300-yard passing game. Widely regarded as the best passer at NIU since 1969, he has passed for more than 5,400 passing yards and possesses a three-to-one touchdown to interception ratio.
An active participant in community affairs, Haldi works with disabled children and participates in the Huskie Outreach Grammar School Reading Clinic.
- University of Wisconsin
Widely regarded as arguably the nations top defensive back, Wisconsins Jim Leonhard has compiled numerous awards and accolades as a player and continues to impress with his leadership and academic excellence.
A CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America selection in 2003, Leonhard has twice earned Academic All-Conference honors. A Kinesiology major, he is a two-time CoSIDA First Team All-District selection and a regular Deans List member.
On the gridiron, few have excelled at Leonhards level. A former walk-on, he has twice been named First Team All-America and First Team All-Conference. An interception specialist, Leonhard has twice led the BIG TEN in picks, including a conference record-tying and nation-leading 11 interceptions in 2002. That year, he led the BIG TEN with 25 pass break ups and tied for the team lead with 98 tackles en route to being named the teams first sophomore MVP since 1947. A two-time Wisconsin Special Teams Player of the Year, he set a school record with 470 punt return yards in 2003. Considered a top candidate for the 2004 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nations top defensive back, Leonhard has over 200 career tackles, 1,000 punt return yards and 20 interceptions.
A two-time team captain, Leonhard has participated in several community service projects, including a Kiwanis Youth Skate, visits to the University of Wisconsin Hospital, Habitat-for-Humanity and Hammer with a Heart.
*James Brandon Mason
- Elon University (NC)
A remarkable leader and elite offensive lineman, Brandon Mason of Elon University has vaulted himself to the top of both the athletic and academic worlds.
A CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America selection in 2003, Mason is a two-time member of the Division I-AA Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team. An Academic All-Conference and CoSIDA All-District pick in 2003, he received the Zac Walker Scholarship for Academic Achievement and graduated Magna Cum Laude in May.
A two-time All-Conference performerFirst Team in 2003, Second Team in 2002, Mason was awarded the John Frye Scholarship as the Elons top offensive lineman. Named Third Team All-Region by Don Hansens Football Gazette , he fashioned an 83% season film grade to go with 26 knockdown blocks, 16 pancake blocks, 32 linebacker chops and only one sack allowed in 12 games in 2003. Starting all 34 games of his career, Mason was rated the nations fifth-best center by The Sports Network in the 2004 preseason.
Very active off the gridiron, Mason speaks at numerous community events, including the annual Elon University Athletics Banquet last spring. He also established new personal-best performances in numerous bench-pressing and weight-lifting exercises in the off-season.
- *Offensive Tackle
- University of Tennessee
An unmovable force with top-flight pedigree, Michael Munoz of the University of Tennessee has anchored the Volunteers offensive line for three seasons while establishing himself as a leader in the classroom and in his local community.
A Political Science major, Munoz has already graduated and is currently working towards a Masters Degree in Public Administration. A two-time Academic All-Conference Honor Roll member, he is a regular Deans List member and was named to the 2002 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.
A looming physical specimen at 6,6, 315 lbs., Munoz earned Second Team All-Conference honors in 2003 and All-Conference Honorable Mention recognition in 2002. Dominant from the start, he was named to the Freshman All-America Team by Rivals.com and The Sporting News in 2000. Starting all 37 games of his career, Munoz has twice been elected team captain.
A very community-minded individual, Munoz is an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and speaks at numerous church engagements. An instructor at the Boys and Girls Club Camp, he participated in theDay With The Volsat the Peach Bowl as well as Citrus Bowl Kids Day and Camp Kionia for children with special needs.
- Wesley College (DE)
A fierce competitor and undisputed leader of the Wesley College defensive unit, Rocky Myers is arguably Division III s best defensive back and his academic performance remains nothing short of perfect.
Possessing a 4.00 GPA in Biology, Myers was selected as a delegate to the International Mission on Medicine in 2003. A recipient of the prestigious Rubber Co. Press Chemistry Award, he was selected as a United States Achievement Academy Collegiate All-America Scholar and has appeared on the National Deans List.
A three-time team captain, Myers earned Second Team All-America honors in 2003 and was one of 10 finalists, and the only junior, for the Gagliardi Trophy, which goes to Division III s Most Outstanding Player. A First Team All-Conference selection, he led the conference and ranked second in the nation with 149 tackles in 2003. A 2004 Preseason First Team All-America choice, Myers has amassed 400 tackles and 15 interceptions for his career.
A devoted community member, Myers is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a tutor at Wesley College. A camp counselor at St. Thomas More Youth Basketball Camp, he volunteers at Dover Central Middle Schools guidance office and freshman move-in day.
- *Defensive Tackle
- Columbia University
An impressive defensive player with good size and speed, Columbias Michael Quarshie has dominated wherever he has played football, at different universities, even different countries.
A Political Science major, Quarshie has continued to maintain an excellent academic record during his transfer to Columbia from St. Peters College. A three-time Academic All-Conference selection, he is scheduled to graduate on time in May of 2005 and attend graduate school to work towards his MBA .
Born in Erlangen, Germany and raised in Helsinki, Finland, Quashie has found a football home in the United States. A two-time All-Conference selection, First Team in 2003 and Second Team in 2001 (at St. Peters), he finished fourth on the team with 57 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries and one sack in 2003. An NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major Second Team All-America selection in 2001, Quarshie helped St. Peters to a 10-1 record while recording a conference-best 9.5 sacks.
Although there was no high school football in Finland, Quarshie played on club and military teams overseas and led the Helsinki Roosters to four top-three finishes in the Finnish National League. While serving in Finlands Army, he finished second in the military-wrestling event at the Annual National Military Combat Tournament. A participant in Columbias canned food drive, Quarshie also volunteers for Toys for Tots.
A multi-sport standout at Virginia Tech, Bryan Randall has been a model of consistency as the talented quarterback for the Hokies and a dedicated scholar in the classroom.
A two-time member of the Deans List, Randall needed only three years to graduate with a degree in Sociology and has begun graduate work towards a Masters Degree in Health Promotions. A mentor for students at after school programs, he tutors youth with their homework.
Head Coach Frank Beamer called Randall,the most respected player I have ever coached.A two-time Davey OBrien Award candidate, he was twice named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week in 2003. Virginia Techs all-time leader in career total offense, Randall has thrown for more than 5,000 yards and rushed for over 1,200 yards in his career. A leader beyond the gridiron, he is also key component of the Hokies basketball team
A member of Athletes In Action, Randall has participated in the Internship Urban Project and autograph nights at local elementary schools. An eager volunteer, he has helped at the Montgomery County Christmas Store, the Hokies With A Heart Program and in youth recreational activities. A member of the Boys and Girls Club of Blacksburg, Randall visits the local daycare center and has helped remodel area community buildings.
- *Free Safety
- Eastern New Mexico University
Arguably the greatest scholar-athlete in Eastern New Mexico University history, Ty Touchstone has reached the pinnacle of academic success while establishing himself as one of the nations most feared free safeties.
Possessing a double major in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems, Touchstone has twice earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honorsFirst Team in 2003 and Second Team in 2002. Maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA , he has twice been named Academic All-Conference and CoSIDA Academic All-District. A regular Deans List member, Touchstone has earned the College Business, Christian Rojas Memorial, Arvel Branscum Endowed, Farmers Insurance of Colorado, John Burroughs Endowed and Lone Star Conference Scholarships.
A First Team All-Conference selection in 2002, Touchstone led the team with 109 tackles and four interceptions. Playing in all of a possible 32 games in his career, he has amassed more than 270 career tackles.
The 2004 team captain, Touchstone is the president of the football teams Unity Council, which encourages teamwork, progress towards team goals and works to inspire players to athletic and personal success. A member of the Student Activity Fees Advisory Board, he has helped at a Little Kids Football Day Camp and speaks at Career Day for local second grade students.
*Dustin Craig Unger
- Morehead State University (KY)
Perfection may best describe Morehead States Craig Unger, a devastating tackler at linebacker on the field and one of the academic elite in the classroom. His First Team All-America status, both athletically and academically, prove his superiority in both facets of college life.
A Finance major, Unger earned CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America recognition in 2003. An Academic All-Conference and CoSIDA Academic All-District pick in 2003, he was named to the Division I-AA Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team.
A Greenfield, Ohio native, Unger was a First Team All-America selection by Don Hansens Football Gazette and The Sporting News in 2003. A two-time First Team All-Conference pick, he was named 2003 Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the Pioneer Football Conference. A two-year team captain, Unger has twice led the team in tackles, including a career-high 132 stops in 2003.
Community minded, Unger is actively involved at the Greenfield Baptist Church as well as the Special Olympics. A volunteer with Road Cleanup and local food drives, he has worked as a loan specialist at NCB Bank and at the Office of Highway Transportation. A member of the Finance Club, Unger participates in two reading programs at local elementary schools.
*John Woock *
- Washington University in St. Louis
Maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom, John Woock is a mold of consistency. On the football field, he continues to lead the Washington University in St. Louis defensive unit, collecting several awards along the way.
A Biomedical Engineering major, Woock earned CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America honors in 2003. A Deans List member every semester of his career, he received the Biomedical Engineering Department Junior Class Award in 2003. A member of the Tau Beta Pi, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key International Honor Societies, Woock received the Phi Delta Theta Lloyd Volckening Award and the Antoinette Francis Dames Award.
A two-time First Team All-Conference selection, Woock was named the 2002 University Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year. Recipient of the Washington University Most Courageous Award, he earned the Carl Briggson Sophomore Excellence Award in 2002. The 2004 team captain, Woock has started in every game of his career.
A dedicated community individual, Woock is a Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Special Olympics volunteer. A member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, he helps with marketing for a website dedicated to increasing community service.