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Brees, Mannings Among Thirty-Nine NFF National Scholar-Athletes Playing in the NFL

DALLAS – Thirty-nine former NFF National Scholar-Athletes have made NFL rosters for the 2011 season. The group includes three Super Bowl MVPs in Peyton Manning (1997, Tennessee), Drew Brees (2000, Purdue) and Eli Manning (2003, Ole Miss), along with nine Pro Bowlers and 10 first-round picks, including four from the 2010 National Scholar-Athlete class.

In all, ten members of the 2010 class are currently in the NFL, a record for the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program that dates back to 1959 and is currently presented by Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education .

“We are very proud to highlight this list of players. They are great ambassadors for the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program, and for the game of football itself,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “They have excelled in all aspects of their lives, and they have taken on leadership roles in their communities. Their remarkable accomplishments are sure to inspire future generations to follow in their footsteps on and off the field.”

Several teams posses multiple NFF National Scholar-Athletes, led by the Cleveland Browns with five. The Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints each boast three former Scholar-Athletes, while the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and New York Jets claim two apiece. In all, 25 of 32 NFL franchises claim a former NFF National Scholar-Athlete on their roster. Detroit kicker Jason Hanson is the longest-tenured NFF National Scholar-Athlete in the NFL. He was honored as a member of the 1991 class from Washington State.





NFL Team

2010 Sam Acho* Texas Arizona Cardinals

Anthony Castonzo Boston College Indianapolis Colts

Owen Marecic Stanford Cleveland Browns

Greg McElroy Alabama New York Jets

Mike Mohamed California Denver Broncos

Christian Ponder Florida State Minnesota Vikings

Derek Sherrod Mississippi State Green Bay Packers

Nate Solder Colorado New England Patriots

Scott Tolzien Wisconsin San Francisco 49ers

Stefen Wisniewski Penn State Oakland Raiders
2009 Jon Asamoah Illinois Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Decker Minnesota Denver Broncos

Colt McCoy Texas Cleveland Browns

Tim Tebow* Florida Denver Broncos
2008 Chase Daniel Missouri New Orleans Saints

Alex Mack* California Cleveland Browns

Brian Robiskie Ohio State Cleveland Browns
2007 John Carlson Notre Dame Seattle Seahawks

Dennis Dixon Oregon Pittsburgh Steelers

Jacob Tamme Kentucky Indianapolis Colts

Danny Woodhead Chadron State (Neb.) New England Patriots
2006 Brian Leonard* Rutgers Cincinnati Bengals

Paul Posluszny Penn State Jacksonville Jaguars

Joe Thomas Wisconsin Cleveland Browns

John Wendling Wyoming Detroit Lions
2005 Reed Doughty Northern Colorado Washington Redskins

DeMeco Ryans Alabama Houston Texans

Brad Smith Missouri Buffalo Bills
2004 Billy Bajema Oklahoma State St. Louis Rams

Jim Leonhard Wisconsin New York Jets
2003 Eli Manning Ole Miss New York Giants

Jonathan Vilma Miami (Fla.) New Orleans Saints
2002 Bradie James LSU Dallas Cowboys

Chis Kelsay Nebraska Buffalo Bills
2001 Chris Hope Florida State Tennessee Titans
2000 Drew Brees Purdue New Orleans Saints

Kyle Vanden Bosch* Nebraska Detroit Lions
1997 Peyton Manning* Tennessee Indianapolis Colts
1991 Jason Hanson Washington State Detroit Lions

* - William V. Campbell Trophy winner

The NFF recently announced the 2011 candidates for the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and the winners will be announced on Oct. 26 and subsequently honored on Dec. 6 at the 54th NFF Annual Awards Dinner. Click here to see the list of candidates. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy, which goes to the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.

Launched in 1959, the NFF scholar-athlete program became the first initiative in history to award post-graduate scholarships based on both a player’s academic and athletic accomplishments. In August of this year, the NFF and Fidelity announced a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. As part of the initiative, Fidelity became the first presenting sponsor ever in the 53-year history of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program.


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