Dallas, TX - Former Florida State defensive back Ochuko Jenije and quarterback Christian Ponder were selected to the 2011 Hampshire Honor Society announced by The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) Wednesday.
The honor society is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a 3.2 GPA or better. 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.
Jenije and Ponder became the third and fourth Seminoles selected to the Hampshire Society joining Myron Rolle (2009) and Zack Aronson (2010). Ponder also earned NFF National Scholar-Athlete honors this past season.
Jenije, a fifth-year senior, was the 2010 recipient of the team’s Attitude Award on defense and was named a 2010 team captain. He played in all 14 games for the Seminoles and registered 16 tackles. He earn his graduate degree in higher education in the spring after earning his undergraduate in sports management last year.
Ponder finished his Florida State career ranking among the top five at FSU for career passing yards (4th, 6,872), career completions (3rd, 596), career total offense (3rd, 7,705), career TD passes (tied 5th, 49) and career completion percentage (2nd, 61.8). His 22 career victories as a starter is tied for third in school history. A three-year starter, the fifth-year senior entered the 2010 campaign as the lone active FBS player in the country to have earned an MBA degree (spring 2010) before playing his final season. He collected a myriad of awards along the way, including: NFF Scholar-Athlete; James Tatum Award (ACC's top football student-athlete), Allstate AFCA Goodworks Award and first team CoSIDA Academic All-District honors. He won the FCA Bobby Bowden Award and was a first team Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. He also was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Wuerffel Trophy. Ponder also was one of four NFF Scholar Athletes to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft with his No. 12 selection by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 draft held last weekend.
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 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.
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.