Matt Holmes named to National Football Foundation's Hampshire Honor Society


Matt Holmes named to National Football Foundation's Hampshire Honor Society
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

DALLAS, Texas - The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the members of the 2011 NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a 3.2 grade point average or better. Newberry College's Matt Holmes (Johnston, S.C.) was named to the honor society this year.

A total of 671 players from 241 schools qualified for membership in the society's fifth year, showing a steady increase in membership each year since the inaugural class in 2007.

Holmes, who will graduate in this Saturday's commencement exercises, adds the NFF Hampshire Honor Society to a long list of accolades in his collegiate career. Holmes earned his first career All-American honor from Don Hansen's Football Gazette, as he was named to the third team. He anchored an offensive line which allowed only 12 sacks in 365 pass dropbacks in 2010. The 12 sacks were the fewest allowed by a South Atlantic Conference team last season.

Holmes earned all-region honors from DAKTRONICS in 2009 and 2010. He is a three-time all-SAC honoree, making the second team in 2008 and the first team in 2009 and 2010. He was a national semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's Campbell Trophy, one of only 12 Division II players to earn the honor and the only player from the SAC and Super Region Two. He was named all-South Carolina by the Orangeburg Touchdown Club in 2009 and 2010. The Gene Upshaw Award nominee completed his Newberry career with an impressive string of 30 consecutive starts.

"In just the fifth year of this initiative, it gives the NFF great pride to honor so many qualified and accomplished collegiate players as members of this year's Hampshire Honor Society," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "The number of players we are able to recognize has nearly doubled since the first year of the program, showing that you can play football at the highest level and still be a standout student."

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 and further strengthening 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. Jon F. Hanson, the chairman and founder of The Hampshire Companies, provided an 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. Each of the 671 players awarded with membership in this year's Honor Society will receive a certificate commemorating the achievement.

"We encourage every football-playing school in the country to get involved in this most important initiative," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, "Thanks to the generosity of Jon F. Hanson, we have honored nearly 3,000 of our nation's best and brightest college players over the past five years. This program truly shows the power of football in building tomorrow's leaders."

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 program 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 $9.5 million to 740 top scholars and community leaders.

Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 15 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, claimed by Texas defensive end Sam Acho in 2010, 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. A record-high nine NFF National Scholar-Athletes were selected in last week's NFL Draft.

To view all of this year's Hampshire Honor Society honorees, click here.