IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the five winners of the 2013 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards, with each recipient selected as the best of the best from his region of the country at the high school level. The five winners, who are now playing college football, are being recognized solely for their accomplishments in high school.
Brown freshman tailback Johnny Pena was the West Region honoree and a graduate of Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Arizona.
"The NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards showcase first-class high school football players from across the country," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "This year's honorees have set the standard for accomplishment on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We are truly proud to honor their success in December."
2013 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Honorees
(Currently college freshmen, the award is solely based on high school accomplishments.
Adam Greene – from Broadneck High School in Annapolis, Md., and the Greater Baltimore Chapter in the East Region. (Currently attending the University of Maryland)
Nick Peabody – from Barnstable High School in Hyannis, Mass., and the Jack Grinold/Eastern Mass Chapter in the Northeast Region. (Currently attending Princeton University)
Johnny Pena – from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Ariz., and the Southern Arizona Chapter in the West Region. (Currently attending Brown University)
Weston Steelhammer – from Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, La., and the S.M. McNaughton Chapter in the South Region. (Currently attending the United States Air Force Academy)
Zachary Strittmatter – from Batavia High School in Batavia, Ill., and the Chicago Metro Chapter in the Midwest Region. (Currently attending Washington University in St. Louis [Mo.])
The five winners will travel to New York City to be honored during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Waldorf=Astoria. First bestowed in 1991, the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards have become one of the most prestigious high school honors in the country. Criteria for the award include, but are not limited to, academic achievement, athletic accolades and community involvement.
With 120 chapters and more than 12,000 members, the NFF Chapter Network impacts more than 500,000 student-athletes at 4,800 high schools in 47 states each year. The centerpiece of their 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. From this pool of 3,500 scholar-athletes, the chapters nominate a group of finalists, and a national committee makes the final selection of the five winners, one from each region of the country, as the recipients of NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards.
During the past 22 years, 96 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes, and this year will mark the 23rd class of honorees. Recent recipients include Andrew Luck (2008, former Stanford and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback), Andrew Rodriguez (2008, Army linebacker and winner of the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy) and Bryant Browning (2006, former Ohio State and current New York Giants offensive lineman).
Other notable past recipients include Jon Stinchcomb (1998, a former Georgia and NFL offensive lineman), Drew Henson (1998, a former Michigan quarterback, and professional football and baseball player) and Bobby Hoying (1991, a former Ohio State quarterback and winner of the 1995 William V. Campbell Trophy).
Five NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes have gone on to win NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards for their accomplishments in college. They are Hoying, Eion Hu (1993, Harvard), Giovanni Carmazzi (1995, University of Pacific/Hofstra), Rodriguez and Stinchcomb.
For tickets to the Dec. 10 luncheon in New York, please contact Ron Dilatush at email@example.com or by calling 972-556-1000.
Greater Baltimore Chapter
A four-year varsity starter at kicker, Greene holds every school and Anne Arundel County high school placekicking record, and he set the Maryland state record for career field goals with 27. His school and county records include points by a placekicker (206), longest field goals (55 and 50) and most PATs made in a game (7). Green was a two-time All-State kicker, and he served as team captain his senior season. He was ranked as the top placekicker by Rivals, and he has received an invitation to Kohl's National Scholarship Showcase Camps multiple years.
Boasting a 4.52 weighted GPA, Greene earned 43 college credit hours through Advanced Placement courses. He is a five-time Carson Scholar for academic and community service. Greene claimed the Anne Arundel County Scholarship for Scholars Award and the Broadneck High School Lawrence Knight Scholar-Athlete Scholarship Award. He was also a National AP Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society.
An active member in his community, Greene volunteers with Gloria Dei Lutheran Church; coaches special needs students at Ruth Eason School; mentors elementary school children; serves as a tutor; and supports various charitable organizations.
Greene currently attends the University of Maryland. He is enrolled in the Honors College, and he has been accepted into the Robert H. Smith School of Business. He is a placekicker for the Terrapins.
Jack Grinold/Eastern Mass Chapter
A three-year letter-winning quarterback, Peabody threw for more than 2,600 yards and 33 touchdowns his senior season, adding 400 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns. In 2012, he captained the football team and earned All-State accolades. He was the Offensive Player of the Year in Massachusetts as well as the Division 1A Player of the Year. A finalist for the 2012 Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year, Peabody won 16 of his 18 games as a starter, leading his team to three league titles.
Holding an astounding 4.71 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale and scoring 2280 on the SAT, Peabody graduated valedictorian of his class of 358 students. His many accolades include the Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic Teams, the National Honor Society, the French National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society and the Latin National Honor Society. A National Merit Commended Scholar, he received the 2013 Superintendent's Award for Academic Excellence, and he volunteers with youth football programs.
Peabody currently attends Princeton University, appearing as a quarterback and tight end on the Tigers' roster.
Southern Arizona Chapter
A four-year starter at running back, Pena finished his high school career as Salpointe Catholic's all-time leader in career rushing yards (4,765), rushing touchdowns (61) and career touchdowns (64). He led the team to three conference titles, and he served as team captain during his senior season, racking up 1,526 yards and 25 TDs. He twice earned honors as an All-State selection.
Graduating with a cumulative 4.03 GPA and scoring a 28 on the ACT, Pena was a four-time recipient of the Arizona Interscholastic Scholar-Athlete Award. A member of the National Honor Society, he claimed numerous honors, including the 2013 Gary Gillette Inspirational Student-Athlete Award, the 2013 Cox Arizona Scholar-Athlete Award, the 2012 DaVina Award, the Leonardo Ashton Bene Award (2011, 2012), the Ashton Bene Award (2011, 2012) and the 2011 John Glunski Award.
Active in the Southern Arizona community, Pena earned the Association of Fundraising Southern Arizona Chapter's Youth Philanthropy Award in 2009 and 2010. He has served as a Special Olympics student coach, a Tucson Youth Football volunteer, a NYS Youth Soccer volunteer and a student tutor. His other volunteer work includes the Boys and Girls Club, Breast Cancer Book Donation Drive, Casas de los Ninos Nursery, Community Food Bank, the Juvenile Diabetes Toy Drive and the Marshall Home for Men.
Pena currently attends Brown University. He has enrolled as a pre-med major and plays running back for the Bears.
S.M. McNaughton Chapter
A versatile athlete who played quarterback, running back and safety, Steelhammer lettered all four years at Calvary Baptist Academy, serving as team captain his senior season. A two-time All-State and three-time All-City selection at defensive back, he earned All-City Defensive MVP (2012) and All-District MVP (2011, 2012) honors his senior year.
Boasting a perfect 4.0 GPA, Steelhammer graduated valedictorian of his high school class. He received the President's Award for Educational Excellence, and he was a member of the National Honor Society. He also earned Academic All-State honors in both football and baseball.
A finalist for Louisiana's Wendy's High School Heisman, Steelhammer built a reputation as an active volunteer in the community. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he participated in the student council, his church youth group and The Hub Ministry, which serves as a ministry to the homeless in Shreveport, La.
Steelhammer currently attends the U.S. Air Force Academy, playing football and baseball. A defensive back for the Falcons, he has seen action on multiple occasions as a freshman this season.
Chicago Metro Chapter
A four-year letterman at wide receiver, Strittmatter recorded 126 career catches for 2,129 career yards and 20 touchdowns. With Strittmatter as a starter, his teams amassed a 26-7 record, including an astounding 21-2 mark during his final two seasons. He served as team captain his senior year, earning All-State, All-Conference and Conference Offensive Player of the Year accolades.
Carrying a weighted 4.28 GPA on a 4.0 scale and earning a 33 on the ACT, Strittmatter graduated as valedictorian of his high school class of 463 students. He twice earned Academic All-State and Academic All-Conference honors (2011, 2012).
Strittmatter works closely with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life on the "Alex's Army" team, named for his friend Alex who died from cancer in 2008. As co-leader of the team, Strittmatter has helped the team raise $82,000 to date. He has also started his own company that trains local youth in football and basketball.
Strittmatter currently attends Washington University in St. Louis [Mo.], playing wide receiver for the Bears. Enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences, he plans to major in chemistry.