National Football Foundation names first-ever Team of Distinction honoring High School Football Players

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Earlier this month, the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame announced it inaugural NFF Team of Distinction. The 2019 team honors 82 high school football players around America as part of the NFF’s mission to promote the scholar-athlete ideal. The initiative allows the NFF to honor the top high school scholar-athletes from around the country and the NFF Chapter Network as the best and the brightest at the local level.

According to a news release on the NFF’s website, 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.

The 82 winners were chosen from a pool of over 3,500 scholar-athletes.

“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, and it really brings into focus the phenomenal work that our chapters do in identifying the most outstanding young leaders in their communities. We would like to congratulate all 82 honorees, holding them out as examples for future generations to emulate.”

Since 1959, 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.

The members of this year’s team all played their final high school season during the 2018-19 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.

Below is the list of this year’s honorees:

2019 National Football Foundation Team of Distinction

East Region Honorees

  • Alex Barshaba – OL/DL, Staten Island Technical High School in Staten Island, New York. Submitted by the NFF New York City Chapter.
    • 97 average grade
    • Team captain and All-New York City selection
    • AP Scholar and member of the all-state academic team
  • Nick Campbell – FB/LB, Allentown High School in Allentown, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Delaware Valley (NJ) Chapter.
    • 4.13 GPA
    • Team captain and all-conference selection
    • Member of National Honor Society
  • Kevin Coleman – RB/CB, Pelham Memorial High School in Pelham, New York. Submitted by the NFF Westchester (NY) Chapter.
    • 4.30 GPA
    • Team captain and two-time all-state selection
    • AP Scholar and National Honor Society member
  • Spencer Dimon – OL/DL, Williams Valley High School in Tower City, Pennsylvania. Submitted by the NFF Schuylkill/Pottsville (PA) Chapter.
    • 102 average grade
    • Conference Player of the Year and all-state selection
    • Valedictorian and class president
  • Tommy Friberg – QB, State College Area High School in State College, Pennsylvania. Submitted by the NFF Central Pennsylvania Chapter.
    • 3.97 GPA
    • Team captain and All-Mid-Penn selection
    • Member of the honor roll
  • Ben Gerber – QB, The Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Submitted by the NFF Philadelphia Chapter.
    • 4.54 GPA
    • Team captain and National Honor Society member
    • National Merit Commended Scholar
  • Michael Janis – QB/DB, Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. Submitted by the NFF National Capital (DC) Chapter.
    • 4.70 GPA
    • Team captain and all-county player of the year
    • Member of National Honor Society
  • Simon Low – WR/S, Glen Ridge High School in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Essex County (NJ) Chapter.
    • 4.27 GPA
    • Team captain and all-conference selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Shaye McKenna – LB, DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Passaic County (NJ) Chapter.
    • 4.33 GPA
    • Team captain and first team all-league selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Joe Munson – C/LB, Valley Stream Central High School in Valley Stream, New York. Submitted by the NFF Nassau County (NY) Chapter.
    • 100.6 average grade
    • Team captain
    • AP Scholar and National Honor Society member
  • Alec Rodriguez – TE/LB, Oakcrest High School in Mays Landing, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF South Jersey Chapter.
    • 100.4 average grade
    • Team captain and all-conference selection
    • Member of the National Honor Society and high honor roll
  • Nathan Michael Rosahac – WR/DE, Jim Thorpe Area High School in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Submitted by the NFF Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter.
    • 104 average grade
    • All-conference selection
    • Class president and National Honor Society member
  • Anthony Sofia – QB, Randolph High School in Randolph, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Greater Morris County (NJ) Chapter.
    • 4.40 GPA
    • Team captain and county player of the year
    • National Honor Society member
  • Noah Stansbury – CB/WR, Edison High School in Edison, New Jersey. Submitted by the NFF Bill Denny/Rutgers FB Letterwinners (NJ) Chapter.
    • 3.37 GPA
    • Team captain
    • First team all-state selection
  • Jacob Tribull – FB/LB, St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis, Maryland. Submitted by the NFF Greater Baltimore Chapter.
    • 4.31 GPA
    • Team captain and all-conference selection
    • AP Scholar and National Honor Society member

Midwest Region Honorees

  • Will Cichowski – FB/LB, Lockport Township High School in Lockport, Illinois. Submitted by the NFF Chicago Metro Chapter.
    • 4.50 GPA
    • Team captain and first team all-conference selection
    • Member of National Honor Society and academic all-state team
  • Jonathon Eineman – WR, Mooresville High School in Mooresville, Indiana. Submitted by the NFF Central Indiana Chapter.
    • 4.08 GPA
    • Team captain, all-state selection and mid-state player of the year
    • National Honor Society member
  • CJ Fisher – LB, Mishawaka High School in Mishawaka, Indiana. Submitted by the NFF Moose Krause (IN) Chapter.
    • 4.60 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state and all-conference selection
    • Valedictorian, National Honor Society and National Merit finalist
  • CeAyre Hall – DE, Withrow University High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Submitted by the NFF Greater Cincinnati Chapter.
    • 3.76 GPA
    • Team captain and second team all-conference selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Zach Harrison – DE/TE, Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio. Submitted by the NFF Columbus (OH) Chapter.
    • 3.57 GPA
    • Team captain and U.S. Army All-American
    • First team all-conference and all-district selection
  • Andrew Hunt – RB/S, Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Submitted by the NFF Tom Lombardo/St. Louis Chapter.
    • 3.99 GPA
    • Team captain and academic all-state selection
    • National Honor Society member and AP Scholar
  • Kyran Husk – DE/OT, Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, Indiana. Submitted by the NFF Southern Indiana Chapter.
    • 3.97 GPA
    • Team captain and Indiana Football Digest Primetime 25 selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Jack Kiser – QB/SS, Pioneer High School in Royal Center, Indiana. Submitted by the Joe Tiller/Northwest Indiana Chapter.
    • 4.0 GPA and Valedictorian
    • Team captain and USA Today Indiana All-State Team
    • MaxPreps Small School National Player of the Year and CBS Sport High School Butkus Award Finalist
  • Jack Kosar – FB/LB, Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio. Submitted by the NFF Mike Cleary/Northeastern Ohio Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain
    • National Honor Society member and AP Scholar with distinction
  • Logan O’Brien – OL/DL, Fennimore High School in Fennimore, Wisconsin. Submitted by the NFF Wisconsin Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society member
  • Ethan Pritchard – OL/DL, Cadillac High School in Cadillac, Michigan. Submitted by the NFF State of Michigan Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain and all-conference selection
    • Valedictorian, National Honor Society and National Merit finalist
  • Tavian Sanchez – LB, Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa. Submitted by the NFF Iowa Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain and academic all-state selection
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society president
  • Garsen Schorr – OG/DT, Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson, Minnesota. Submitted by the NFF Minnesota Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain and academic all-state selection
    • Valedictorian and class president
  • Latavion Scott – RB/WR, Bryant High School in Bryant, Arkansas. Submitted by the NFF Arkansas Chapter.
    • 2.80 GPA
    • Team captain
    • All-state selection
  • Casey Scroggins – DB, Huron High School in Huron, Ohio. Submitted by the NFF Toledo Chapter.
    • 3.87 GPA
    • Team captain and first team all-state
    • National Honor Society member
  • Austin Shoffner – DE, Leavenworth High School in Leavenworth, Kansas. Submitted by the NFF Sunflower (KS) Chapter.
    • 4.36 GPA
    • All-state selection
    • National Honor Society member and Eagle Scout

Northeast Region Honorees

  • Nick Annechino – C, Aquinas Institute of Rochester in Rochester, New York. Submitted by the NFF Rochester (NY) Chapter.
    • 99.3 average grade
    • Team captain
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society member
  • Tyler Bridge – RB/DB, Wells High School in Wells, Maine. Submitted by the NFF State of Maine Chapter.
    • 98.3 average grade
    • Team captain and all-state player of the year
    • National Honor Society member
  • Hunter Cusimano – DB, Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut. Submitted by the NFF DeSantis-McDougall/Fairfield County (CT) Chapter.
    • 4.60 GPA
    • Team captain and National Honor Society member
    • National Merit Commended Scholar
  • Lucas Ferraro – OL, Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Massachusetts. Submitted by the NFF Jack Grinold/Eastern Massachusetts Chapter.
    • 4.19 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • Member of National Honor Society and all-scholastic team
  • Kevin Girardi – RB, Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Connecticut. Submitted by the NFF Casey-O’Brien/New Haven (CT) Chapter.
    • 3.98 GPA
    • Team captain
    • National Merit Commended Scholar and AP Scholar
  • Patrick Hagearty – OT/DT, Londonderry High School in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Submitted by the NFF Joe Yukica/New Hampshire Chapter.
    • 4.23 GPA
    • First team all-state and all-conference selection
    • Member of National and Math honor societies
  • Alex Halkias – RB/LB, Berlin High School in Berlin, Connecticut. Submitted by the NFF Doc Boisoneau/Northern Connecticut Chapter.
    • 101.3 average grade
    • Team captain and all-state and all-conference selection
    • Salutatorian and National Honor Society member
  • Nicholas Helbig – OG/NG, Robert E. Fitch High School in Groton, Connecticut. Submitted by the NFF Southeastern Connecticut Chapter.
    • 3.90 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Stratton Sherman – QB, Schuylerville High School in Schuylerville, New York. Submitted by the NFF Capital District (NY) Chapter.
    • 3.70 GPA
    • Team captain, league offensive player of the year and all-state selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Renwick Smith – TE, St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Submitted by the NFF Vermont Chapter.
    • 95.4 average grade
    • All-state selection
    • Member of National Honor Society and high honor roll
  • Lou Vigeant – RB/LB, Marlborough High School in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Submitted by the NFF Joe Mewhiney/Central Massachusetts Chapter.
    • 4.63 GPA
    • Team captain and league MVP
    • Member of Telegram-Gazette Super Team
  • Michael Walsh – QB, Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island. Submitted by the NFF Emo DiNitto/Rhode Island Chapter.
    • 3.68 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • Member of USA Today All-Rhode Island team
  • Nathanial Wellington – WR/LB, Skaneateles High School in Skaneateles, New York. Submitted by the NFF Central New York Chapter.
    • 95.2 average grade
    • Team captain and all-state and all-conference selection
    • National Honor Society member with AP high honors
  • Homer Winston – QB/LB, Lee High School in Lee, Massachusetts. Submitted by the NFF Western Massachusetts Chapter.
    • 102 average grade
    • Team captain and All-Western Massachusetts selection
    • National Honor Society and National Merit Commended Scholar

South Region Honorees

  • Cade Ballard – QB, Greeneville High School in Greeneville, Tennessee. Submitted by the NFF East Tennessee Chapter.
    • 3.93 GPA
    • Team captain, all-state selection and Gatorade Player of the Year
    • National Honor Society member
  • Brian Barber – P, Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana. Submitted by the NFF S.M. McNaughton (LA) Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • All-state selection
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society member
  • Jack Buckley – S, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Georgia. Submitted by the TD Club of Atlanta-NFF Chapter.
    • 4.20 GPA
    • Team captain
    • Class president and National Honor Society member
  • Cade Caldwell – TE/LS, George County High School in Lucedale, Mississippi. Submitted by the NFF Mississippi Gulf Coast Chapter.
    • 3.80 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • Mississippi Scholars Award recipient
  • Nakobe Dean – LB, Horn Lake High School in Horn Lake, Mississippi. Submitted by the NFF University of Georgia Chapter.
    • 4.30 GPA
    • Team captain, All-American and Gatorade Player of the Year
    • National Honor Society member
  • Carson Freimuth – DE/LB, Lubbock High School in Lubbock, Texas. Submitted by the NFF Texas Tech Chapter.
    • 4.72 GPA
    • Team captain and academic all-state selection
    • AP Scholar
  • Paul Game III – OT, High Point Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina. Submitted by the NFF Corrigan/Faircloth (NC) Chapter.
    • 3.82 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Lance  Thomas Gaude Jr. – WR/DB, Cathedral School in Natchez, Mississippi. Submitted by the NFF Miss/Lou Chapter.
    • 3.94 GPA
    • Team captain and all-district selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Jake Gregory – OG/DE, Trousdale County High School in Hartsville, Tennessee. Submitted by the NFF Middle Tennessee Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • Class vice president and member of Beta Club
  • Chase Griffin – QB, Hutto High School in Hutto, Texas. Submitted by the NFF Greater Austin Chapter.
    • 4.60 GPA
    • Gatorade Player of the Year and all-state selection
    • National Honor Society member and National Merit Scholar
  • Samuel Habel – DT/DE, Stratford High School in Houston, Texas. Submitted by the NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter.
    • 6.50 GPA
    • Team captain, academic all-state and all-district selection
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society member
  • William Harper – OG/DE, Thomas Jefferson High School in Gretna, Louisiana. Submitted by the NFF Allstate Sugar Bowl (LA) Chapter.
    • 3.90 GPA
    • Team captain and all-district selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Jackson Harrison – QB/LB, Sullivan Central High School in Blountville, Tennessee. Submitted by the NFF Mountain Empire (TN) Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain and all-district and all-conference selection
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society member
  • Tyler Hunter – LB/FB, Whitehaven High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Submitted by the NFF Memphis Chapter.
    • 4.20 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • David Madzivanyika – DL, Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina. Submitted by the NFFCHOF Bill Dooley (NC) Chapter.
    • 4.52 GPA
    • All-conference selection
    • National Honor Society member
  • Keith Ramos – DB, Miami Springs Senior High School in Miami Springs, Florida. Submitted by the NFF Miami Touchdown Club Chapter.
    • 3.60 GPA
    • Team captain
    • Scholar-athlete award recipient
  • Zachary Reinert – LB, Aledo High School in Aledo, Texas. Submitted by the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter.
    • 4.31 GPA
    • Team captain and all-district selection
    • National Honor Society member and AP Scholar with distinction
  • Nik Scalzo – QB, Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Submitted by the NFF Brian Piccolo/Fort Lauderdale (FL) Chapter.
    • 4.63 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • Member of the honor roll
  • Jordan Williams – S, Golden Gate High School in Naples, Florida. Submitted by the NFF Collier County (FL) Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain
    • All-county selection
  • Joshua Youngblood – QB/WR, Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida. Submitted by the NFF Tampa Chapter.
    • 3.40 GPA
    • Team captain and all-state selection
    • Member of the dean’s list

West Region Honorees

  • Ashton Authement – WR/CB, Notre Dame High School in Riverside, California. Submitted by the NFF Riverside County (CA) Chapter.
    • 4.60 GPA
    • Team captain, all-state selection and league MVP
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society member
  • Colby Bowman – WR, St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California. Submitted by the NFF Los Angeles Chapter.
    • 3.96 GPA
    • Team captain and first team all-conference selection
    • Member of the principal’s honor roll
  • Zachary Brentano – OL/LB, St. Paul High School in St. Paul, Oregon. Submitted by the NFF Oregon Chapter.
    • 3.85 GPA
    • Team captain and first team all-league selection
    • Member of National Honor Society and Key Club
  • Joseph Chu – LB, Foothill High School in Santa Ana, California. Submitted by the NFF Orange County Chapter.
    • 4.66 GPA
    • Team captain and first team all-league selection
    • Member of principal’s honor roll
  • Isaac Hoidal – WR/LB, Stevenson High School in Stevenson, Washington. Submitted by the NFF Clark County (WA) Chapter.
    • 3.99 GPA
    • Team captain, all-state selection and league offensive player of the year
    • Valedictorian, National Honor Society and academic all-state team
  • Dusty Inness – WR/DB, Northwest Christian School in Phoenix, Arizona. Submitted by the NFF Valley of the Sun (AZ) Chapter.
    • 4.47 GPA
    • Team captain, all-Arizona selection and region player of the year
    • National Honor Society member and class president
  • Timothy Jensen – RB/LB, Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington. Submitted by the NFF Tacoma Pierce County (WA) Chapter.
    • 3.88 GPA
    • Team captain and first team all-league
    • National Honor Society and National Merit Commended Scholar
  • Caden Johnson – RB/LB, Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah. Submitted by the NFF Utah Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain and Class 5A MVP
    • Member of National Honor Society and academic all-state team
  • Zac McPherson – T, Faith Lutheran High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Submitted by the NFF Las Vegas Chapter.
    • 4.79 GPA
    • Team captain and all-league and academic all-state selection
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society member
  • Barrett Miller – OT, Eaglecrest High School in Centennial, Colorado. Submitted by the NFF Colorado Chapter.
    • 4.30 GPA
    • Two-time first team all-state selection
    • Four-year member of the honor roll
  • Jack Oswald – P/K, Chaminade College Preparatory in West Hills, California. Submitted by the NFF San Fernando Valley (CA) Chapter.
    • 4.67 GPA
    • All-area team selection
    • National Honor Society and National Merit Scholar
  • Hudson Andrew Potts – QB/S, Kentlake High School in Kent, Washington. Submitted by the NFF King County/Seattle Chapter.
    • 4.00 GPA
    • Team captain, all-division selection and defensive back of the year
    • Valedictorian and National Honor Society member
  • Ivan Sanchez – TE/LB, Workman High School in City Of Industry, California. Submitted by the NFF Pasadena/San Gabriel (CA) Chapter.
    • 4.20 GPA
    • Team captain and first team all-league selection
    • Valedictorian, class president and National Honor Society member
  • Colby Schnayer – OL/DL, Campolindo High School in Moraga, California. Submitted by the NFF Northern California Chapter.
    • 3.98 GPA
    • Team captain
    • National Honor Society member
  • Michael Shawcroft – LB, Helix Charter High School in La Mesa, California. Submitted by the NFF Walter J. Zable/San Diego Chapter.
    • 4.20 GPA
    • Team captain and CIF San Diego Defensive Player of the Year
    • All-academic team captain
  • Kade Van Dyken – WR/S, Big Horn High School in Big Horn, Wyoming. Submitted by the NFF Wyoming Chapter.
    • 3.97 GPA
    • Team captain and three-time all-state selection
    • Member of National Honor Society and presidential honor roll
  • Cade Wyant – QB, Rocklin High School in Rocklin, California. Submitted by the NFF Sacramento Valley (CA) Chapter.
    • 4.27 GPA
    • Team captain and all-metro selection
    • All-San Joaquin section quarterback

2019 NFF Team of Distinction Notes

  • 82 Honorees
  • 35 States Represented
  • 4.0 Average GPA
  • 72 Team Captains
  • 16 Valedictorians
  • 60 National Honor Society Members
  • 33 All-State Selections
  • 9 National Merit Honorees

About the Author

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.