IRVING, Texas -- The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced that four members of the Mount Union football team have been selected to the 2018 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 careers. An all-time high 1,252 players from a record 304 schools qualified for membership in the society's 12th year.
The four Purple Raiders are kicker Austin Downie (Satellite Beach, Fla. / Satellite), safety Brian Groves (Stow), offensive linemen Matt Fitchet (Conneaut / Edgewood) and Cole Parrish (Creedmoor, N.C. / South Granville).
All four were starters for Mount Union this season with Groves and Parrish being team captains, Parrish was an All-American, Fitchet an Academic All-American and Downie an Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection. All four helped lead the Raiders to their 28th conference title and record 13th NCAA Division III National Championship in 2017.
"We are pleased to see another record number of athletes honored by the Hampshire Honor Society this year," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "Over the past decade, it has become a powerful vehicle for schools to recognize their college football players who have distinguished themselves both academically and athletically, and we congratulate the schools and each of these young men for their commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives."
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 at the 777 colleges and universities with football programs nationwide.
The 1,252 players honored in 2018 sets a new high water mark, eclipsing the previous record of 1,103 honorees in 2017. The 304 schools with members breaks the previous mark of 302 set in 2017.
The initiative has now honored 8,995 student-athletes since its inception, and the program has experienced growth every year in either members or school participation since its launch in 2007.
Nominated by their respective schools, members of the NFF Hampshire Honor Society must have:
- Completed their final year of playing eligibility in 2017
- Achieved a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout entire course of undergraduate study; and met all NCAA mandated progress toward degree requirements
- Been starters or significant contributors throughout the 2017 season
"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," commented National Football Foundation chairman Archie Manning.