National Football Foundation Announces 2021 Team of Distinction

national football foundation team of distinction
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From a pool of 3,500 scholar-athletes, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame have announced the 64 members of the 2021 NFF Team of Distinction.

As part of its mission to promote the scholar-athlete ideal, the initiative allows the NFF to honor the top high school scholar-athletes from around the country as the best and the brightest at the local level while highlighting the work of the NFF Chapter Network.  

The members of the team all played their final high school football season during the 2020-21 school year. As part of the award, all of the honorees will be part of a permanent digital display at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. 

Criteria to make the team include but are not limited to academic achievement, athletic accolades and community involvement. Each chapter is limited to one honoree, distinguishing them as the top scholar-athlete from all the high schools covered by the chapter.

“This initiative allows us to shine a national spotlight on some of the most deserving high school student-athletes honored at the local level by our expansive Chapter Network,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “This honor is one of the most prestigious national awards that a high school player can receive. We would like to congratulate all 64 honorees for their success on and off the field, especially with the challenges caused by the pandemic during their senior year.” 


Since 1954, the NFF Chapters have played an integral role in supporting and promoting the game of football at the amateur level while honoring the top scholar-athletes in their local areas. With more than 12,000 members, the nationwide NFF Chapter Network impacts more than 500,000 student-athletes at 5,000 high schools across the country each year.  

The centerpiece of the Chapter Network’s efforts are the annual chapter awards banquets, which recognize more than 3,500 of the nation’s top scholar-athletes and distribute more than $1 million in scholarships. Despite the pandemic, the NFF chapters exhibited creativity and ingenuity to honor their local scholar-athletes through virtual events, drive-thru events and in-person banquets (when allowed by local protocols). 

2021 NFF Team of Distinction Notes

  • 64 Honorees
  • 33 States Represented
  • 4.0 Average GPA
  • 54 Team Captains
  • 26 All-State Selections
  • 7 Valedictorians
  • 46 National Honor Society Members
  • 5 National Merit Honorees

 East Region Honorees 

  • Nick Amoroso – S/WR, Montville Township High School in Montville, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Greater Morris County Chapter (NJ).
  • 3.60 GPA
  • Team captain and first team all-division selection
  • Honored for academic excellence in math

 

  • Matt Bugbee – QB/K, Nazareth Area High School in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Submitted by the NFF Lehigh Valley Chapter (PA).
  • 96.21 average grade
  • Team captain and first team all-state selection
  • National Honor Society member and honor graduate

 

  • Eli Dawson – OL/DL, Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Essex County Chapter (NJ).
  • 4.16 GPA
  • Team captain and first team all-conference honoree
  • Member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Jermaine Gilliam Jr. – OL/DL, Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore, Maryland. Submitted by the NFF Greater Baltimore Chapter.
  • 3.86 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and second team all-metro honoree
  • Member of the National Honor Society and Drummond Scholarship recipient

 

  • Philip La Rosa – RB/OLB, North Shore High School in Glen Head, New York. Submitted by the NFF Nassau County Chapter (NY).
  • 94.0 average grade
  • Two-year team captain and conference player of the year
  • Member of the National and Math honor societies

 

  • TJ McCormack – OL/LB, Lakeland Regional High School in Wanaque, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Passaic County Chapter (NJ).
  • 3.92 GPA
  • Team captain and all-state selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society and the student council

 

  • Austin McHugh – LB/TE, North Hunterdon High School in Annandale, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Delaware Valley Chapter (NJ).
  • 4.10 GPA
  • Team captain and second team all-area selection
  • Member of the National and Science honor societies

 

  • Conrad Moore – QB/WR, State College Area High School in State College, Pennsylvania. Submitted by the NFF Central Pennsylvania Chapter.
  • 4.53 GPA
  • Team captain and district all-star selection
  • Recipient of the Top 10% Award

 

  • Patrick Smith – RB, Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF South Jersey Chapter.
  • 3.93 GPA
  • Team captain and first team all-state selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society and the honor roll
  • Darius Wilson – QB, Iona Preparatory in New Rochelle, New York. Submitted by the NFF Westchester Chapter (NY).
  • 3.80 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and second team all-state honoree
  • Iona Prep Honors Program-Presidential Scholarship recipient
  • Zach Zebro – QB, East Brunswick High School in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Bill Denny/Rutgers FB Letterwinners Chapter (NJ).
  • 3.75 GPA
  • Team captain and member of Super 100 all-state team
  • Member of the student advisory committee and the honor roll

 
Midwest Region Honorees

  • Conner Alford – OL/DL, Reitz High School in Evansville, Indiana. Submitted by the NFF Southern Indiana Chapter.
  • 4.08 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and two-time all-conference selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society and the student council

 

  • Zachary Branam – QB/S, La Salle High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Submitted by the NFF Greater Cincinnati Chapter.
  • 4.61 GPA
  • Team captain and Ohio Division II Offensive Player of the Year
  • Salutatorian and member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Aidan Kingsbury – OL/DL, Concordia Academy in Roseville, Minnesota. Submitted by the NFF Minnesota Chapter.
  • 4.33 GPA
  • Team captain and section offensive lineman of the year
  • Valedictorian and member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Christopher Kreh – RB/SS, Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri. Submitted by the NFF Tom Lombardo/St. Louis Chapter.
  • 3.70 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and first team all-state honoree is school’s all-time leading rusher
  • Three-year member of the honor roll

 

  • Ethan Kremer – DL/OL, Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kansas. Submitted by the NFF Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter (KS).
  • 3.95 GPA
  • Team captain and two-time 5A Defensive Player of the Year
  • Member of the National Honor Society and the leadership council

 

  • Jacob Langdon – RB, Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Submitted by the NFF Central Indiana Chapter.
  • 4.38 GPA
  • First team all-state and all-city selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society and the honor roll

 

  • Andrew Leingang – OL/DL, Century High School in Bismarck, North Dakota. Submitted by the NFF Roughrider State Chapter (ND).
  • 4.13 GPA
  • Team captain and two-time first team all-state honoree led team to two state titles
  • Member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Cole Payton – QB, Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Submitted by the NFF Nebraska Chapter.
  • 3.75 GPA
  • First-team all-state selection who helped team to a state title
  • Three-time academic all-metro honoree

 

  • Peter Pedrozo – QB, Westerville South High School in Westerville, Ohio. Submitted by the NFF Columbus Chapter (OH).
  • 4.65 GPA
  • Two-year team captain was named conference and district player of the year
  • Member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Luke Rasmussen – WR/S, Central Lyon High School in Rock Rapids, Iowa. Submitted by the NFF Iowa Chapter.
  • 4.12 GPA
  • Team captain and all-district selection
  • Valedictorian, class president and National Honor Society member

 

  • Owen Smith – QB/LB, Clinton Central High School in Michigantown, Indiana. Submitted by the NFF Joe Tiller/Northwest Indiana Chapter.
  • 4.22 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and all-conference honoree
  • Salutatorian and president of both National Honor Society and student council

 

  • Hunter Wohler – S, Muskego High School in Muskego, Wisconsin. Submitted by the NFF Wisconsin Chapter.
  • 4.29 GPA
  • Team captain and first team all-state honoree was Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year
  • WIAA scholar-athlete

 

  • Cade Zimmerly – OT, Perrysburg High School in Perrysburg, Ohio. Submitted by the NFF Toledo/Wistert Chapter (OH).
  • 3.70 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and first team All-Ohio selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society and youth camp volunteer

Northeast Region Honorees

  • Samuel Baddoo – WR/DB, Classical High School in Providence, Rhode Island. Submitted by the NFF Emo DiNitto/Rhode Island Chapter.
  • 3.50 GPA
  • Two-year team captain named the Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year
  • Academic all-league honoree and member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Logan Broomhall – QB/S, Guilderland High School in Guilderland, New York. Submitted by the NFF Capital District Chapter (NY). 
  • 90.0 average grade
  • Team captain and second team all-area selection
  • Member of the Guilderland honor roll

 

  • Kenneth Byrne – WR/CB, Skaneateles High School in Skaneateles, New York. Submitted by the NFF Central New York Chapter.
  • 98.36 average grade
  • Team captain and all-league selection
  • Salutatorian and member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Jacob Daignault – OG, Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Connecticut. Submitted by the NFF Casey-O’Brien/New Haven Chapter (CT).
  • 5.00 GPA
  • Starter who led team to two state titles
  • Member of National Honor Society

 

  • Tyler Haick – C, Bethel High School in Bethel, Connecticut. Submitted by the NFF DeSantis-McDougall/Fairfield County Chapter (CT).
  • 3.40 GPA
  • Team captain and three-year letterman
  • Youth tutor who graduated with high honors

 

  • Kevin Jourdain Jr. – OT/DE, Holyoke High School in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Submitted by the NFF Western Massachusetts Chapter.
  • 4.00 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and all-state selection
  • Recipient of the Morrill scholarship

 

  • Kristian Larouche – FB/LB, Lawrence High School in Fairfield, Maine. Submitted by the NFF State of Maine Chapter.
  • 102.65 average grade
  • Team captain and all-conference honoree
  • Member of the National Honor Society ranked in the top 10% of his class

 

  • Brendan Mathot – FB/LB, Abby Kelley Foster Charter School in Worcester, Massachusetts. Submitted by the NFF Joe Mewhiney/Central Mass. Chapter.
  • 4.54 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and two-time league all-star
  • Salutatorian and president of the National Honor Society

 

  • Kyle Odoy – QB/S, Triton Regional High School in Byfield, Massachusetts. Submitted by the NFF Jack Grinold/Eastern Mass. Chapter.
  • 4.68 GPA
  • Two-year captain was named league player of the year
  • Member of the National Honor Society ranked third in his class

 

  • Devon Simmons – TE/LB, Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow, New Hampshire. Submitted by the NFF Joe Yukica/New Hampshire Chapter.
  • 4.53 GPA
  • Team captain and two-year starter
  • Salutatorian, class president and member of National and Math honor societies

South Region Honorees 

  • Jason Amsler – OL/DE, Franklin High School in Franklin, Tennessee. Submitted by the NFF Middle Tennessee Chapter.
  • 4.67 GPA
  • Team captain and first team all-region selection
  • Valedictorian, National Merit finalist and National Honor Society member

 

  • Brooks Bak – LB/RB, H.B. Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. Submitted by the NFF Tampa Chapter.
  • 6.62 GPA
  • Team captain and four-year letterman
  • Hillsborough County Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and National Honor Society member

 

  • Hunter Baker – S, Community School of Naples in Naples, Florida. Submitted by the NFF Collier County Chapter (FL).
  • 3.86 GPA
  • Team captain and defensive player of the year
  • Recipient of school’s science, mathematics and language awards

 

  • Ayden Bell – OL/DL, Silsbee High School in Silsbee, Texas. Submitted by the NFF Golden Triangle Chapter (TX).
  • 3.05 GPA
  • Team captain was first team all-state and the district MVP
  • Member of National Honor Society had dual enrollment at Lamar Institute of Technology

 

  • Alphonso Boyd – OL/DL, Ayden-Grifton High School in Ayden, North Carolina. Submitted by the NFFCHOF Bill Dooley Chapter (NC).
  • 4.20 GPA
  • Team captain and three-time all-conference and all-area selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society and the principal’s list

 

  • Kevin Burkett – OL/DL, Gatlinburg-Pittman High School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Submitted by the NFF East Tennessee Chapter.
  • 4.00 GPA
  • Team captain and all-state selection
  • Valedictorian and member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Wyatt Coffey – LB/FB, Archbishop Hannan High School in Covington, Louisiana. Submitted by the NFF Allstate Sugar Bowl Chapter (LA).
  • 3.85 GPA
  • Team captain and all-state and all-district selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society and principal’s honor roll

 

  • William Fang – K, Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, Georgia. Submitted by the NFF University of Georgia Chapter.
  • 4.60 GPA
  • Three-year Golden Helmet Award recipient
  • Valedictorian, National Merit finalist and National Honor Society member

 

  • Brandon Fornero – MLB, Caney Creek High School in Conroe, Texas. Submitted by the NFF TD Club of Houston Chapter. 
  • 4.00 GPA
  • Three-year team captain and two-time academic all-district selection
  • Valedictorian and National Merit Commended Scholar

 

  • Lucas Mireur – DB/WR, Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Submitted by the NFF Greater Austin Chapter.
  • 102.0 average grade
  • Two-year team captain was 6A All-State Defensive Player of the Year and led team to two state titles
  • Academic All-State selection and National Honor Society member

 

  • Peter Nearn – DB, Evangelical Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee. Submitted by the NFF Memphis Chapter.
  • 4.31 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and all-state selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Caden Prather – OL/DL, Callaway High School in Hogansville, Georgia. Submitted by the TD Club of Atlanta-NFF Chapter.
  • 4.80 GPA
  • All-region honoree led team to a state title
  • AP Scholar and member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Eli Preswood – OL/DL, Cloudland High School in Roan Mountain, Tennessee. Submitted by the NFF Mountain Empire Chapter (TN).
  • 4.00 GPA
  • Named 1A all-state offensive and defensive player of the year
  • Two-year class president and member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Sawyer Robertson – QB, Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas. Submitted by the NFF Texas Tech Chapter.
  • 4.67 GPA
  • Three-year team captain was named Texas Gatorade Player of the Year
  • Academic all-state selection and National Honor Society member ranked in top 5% of his class

 

  • Jackson Stokes – LB, Eastern Alamance High School in Mebane, North Carolina. Submitted by the NFF Corrigan/Faircloth Chapter (NC).
  • 4.53 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and two-time all-conference selection
  • Vice president of the National Honor Society and AP Scholar with distinction

 

  • Jake Taylor – RB/KR, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas in Dallas, Texas. Submitted by the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter.
  • 100.76 average grade
  • Team captain and first team all-district selection
  • Valedictorian and member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Aiden Whitaker – DE/OT, Cathedral School in Natchez, Mississippi. Submitted by the NFF Miss/Lou Chapter.
  • 4.27 GPA
  • Team captain and first team all-district selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society and Science Olympiad first place team

West Region Honorees

  • Jonah Burton – WR/SS/P, Simi Valley High School in Simi Valley, California. Submitted by the NFF San Fernando Valley Chapter (CA).
  • 4.20 GPA
  • Team captain earned all-league honors
  • First team academic all-county and two-year magna cum laude honoree

 

  • Ryan Enney – LB, Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, California. Submitted by the NFF Sacramento Valley Chapter (CA).
  • 3.98 GPA
  • Two-year captain earned second team all-state honors
  • Member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Nicholas Fryhoff – DE/TE, Foothill High School in Santa Ana, California. Submitted by the NFF Orange County Chapter (CA).
  • 4.57 GPA
  • Team captain and first team all-league selection
  • National Merit Commended Scholar

 

  • Samuel Husarik – OL/DL, Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup, Washington. Submitted by the NFF Tacoma Pierce County Chapter (WA).
  • 3.96 GPA
  • Team captain and all-league selection
  • AP Scholar with Distinction and Eagle Scout

 

  • Andrew Johnson – WR/DB, Central High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Submitted by the NFF Wyoming Chapter.
  • 3.85 GPA
  • Team captain and first team all-state honoree set multiple school records
  • Member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Mikey Keene – QB, Chandler High School in Chandler, Arizona. Submitted by the NFF Valley of the Sun Chapter (AZ).
  • 4.40 GPA
  • Three-year team captain and all-state selection led the team to two state titles
  • Member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Seth Krommenhoek – K, Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork, Utah. Submitted by the NFF Utah Chapter.
  • 4.00 GPA
  • First team all-state and academic all-state selection
  • Utah Valley University Presidential Scholarship recipient 

 

  • Joshua Martinez – SS/WR, Charter Oak High School in Covina, California. Submitted by the NFF Pasadena/San Gabriel Chapter (CA).
  • 4.60 GPA
  • Three-year team captain was all-league at both safety and wide receiver
  • Member of the National Honor Society and named 2021 Student of the Year

 

  • Liam O’Brien – QB, Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. Submitted by the NFF Colorado Chapter.
  • 4.77 GPA
  • Team captain, first team all-state selection and league player of the year
  • First team academic all-state honoree

 

  • Mihalis Santorineos – LB, Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, California. Submitted by the NFF Northern California Chapter.
  • 4.46 GPA
  • Two-year team captain and All-Bay Area selection
  • Member of the National Honor Society

 

  • Jack Schlafer – OL/DL, Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho. Submitted by the NFF Southern Idaho Chapter.
  • 4.20 GPA
  • First team all-state and all-conference selection
  • Student body president and National Honor Society member

 

  • Diego Solis – WR/DB, La Jolla High School in San Diego, California. Submitted by the NFF Walter J. Zable/San Diego Chapter. 
  • 4.39 GPA
  • Eastern League Offensive Player of the Year and all-academic team selection
  • Recipient of La Jolla High School top academic performer award

 

  • Alex Steele – DB, Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nevada. Submitted by the NFF Bill Ireland/Las Vegas Chapter. 
  • 3.90 GPA
  • Senior team captain led team in interceptions in 2019
  • Contributed to Green Valley defense’s state-leading interception total

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Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.