DALLAS – For his academic success throughout his college career, Ole Miss linebacker Joel Kight has been named a member of the 2013 NFF Hampshire Honor Society, announced this week by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF).
The honor society is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career. A total of 703 players from 259 schools qualified for membership in the society's seventh year, marking the highest school participation in the history of the program, which began in 2007.
“The growing number of schools involved in the Hampshire Honor Society each year shows that football student-athletes not only play at the highest level but that they are some of the best students on campus as well,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Congratulations to each of these young men for their commitment to education and their leadership on and off the football field.”
Kight graduated in December 2012 with a degree in journalism and amassed a 3.45 grade point average. The Lithonia, Ga., native is a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member and made multiple University honor rolls. He received the 2010 Scholar-Athlete Award from the Ole Miss chapter of the NFF.
On the playing field, Kight appeared in all 50 games during his four-year career. He racked up 158 tackles, 10.5 TFLs and 3.0 sacks as a part-time starter at middle and outside linebacker spots.
The NFF Hampshire Honor Society capitalizes on the NFF's current National Scholar-Athlete program 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 more than 700 college and universities with football programs nationwide. The initiative has honored 4,081 student-athletes since its inception.
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 more than 4,000 student-athletes in the last seven years thanks to Jon Hanson’s generosity," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, "We are humbled by 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 substitute in one's last year of eligibility at an accredited 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-mandated progress towards degree requirements and graduation.
The Hampshire Honor Society represents a powerful component in the organization's rich history as an innovator in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal. Launched in 1959 with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik, the NFF's 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. And, since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $10.1 million to 771 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 post-graduate scholarship. Additionally, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, is given to one member of each year's class as the absolute best. The winner of the Campbell Trophy, claimed by All-American center Barrett Jones (Alabama) in 2012, 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.
ABOUT THE HAMPSHIRE FOUNDATION: The Hampshire Foundation is the charitable arm of The Hampshire Companies, a privately-held, fully-integrated real estate firm that has more than 50 years of hands-on, cycle-tested experience in acquiring, developing, leasing, repositioning, managing, financing and disposing of real estate. Founded by Jon F. Hanson, who served as NFF Chairman from 1994-2006, Hampshire is headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, has 33 employees, and currently owns and operates a diversified portfolio of 224 properties in 31 states totaling more than 14.7 million square feet. Learn more at www.hampshireco.com.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE HALL OF FAME: Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the BCS, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Liberty Mutual Insurance, NCAA Football, and Under Armour. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.
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