May 2, 2012

Corey Watson named to prestigious Honor List by National Football Foundation

Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill and
Bradon Weeden headline the 2012 list of honorees

DALLAS -  Tennessee Tech's Corey Watson, a December graduate who helped the Golden Eagles capture a share of the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference football championship, has been named to the prestigious Hampshire Honor Society by he National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF).

The Hampshire Honor Society is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career. A total of 721 players from 232 schools qualified for membership in the society's sixth year, marking this year's class as the largest since the program's creation in 2007.

Watson is one of only three Division I players in the state of Tennessee included on the list, and one of just eight in the Ohio Valley Conference. He joins Nick Newsome of Austin Peay and Nathaniel Toulson of Middle Tennessee as the lone DI representatives from the Volunteer State to be recognized.

"The growing number of students involved in the Hampshire Honor Society each year shows that football student-athletes not only play at the highest level but that they are some of the best students on campus as well," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We salute each one of these young men for their commitment to education and their leadership on and off the football field."

In addition to his outstanding play on the field, Watson captured several post-season honors for his success in the classroom. Voted CoSIDA Academic All-District, he was also chosen as a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athete and was selected to the FCS ADA Academic All-Star team.

On the field in 2011, the Sevierville, Tenn., product was voted the team’s Defensive MVP and won the Tech Pride Award. A starter at outside linebacker, he ranked second in the OVC and led the Golden Eagles with three interceptions, returning them for a combined 75 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the team and ranked third in the OVC with 10 passes defended, and was fifth on the team and 30th in the OVC in tackles. He was named the OVC Defensive Player of the Week for his role in Tech’s road win at Jacksonville State.

Vice president of Tech’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Watson was a well-rounded student-athlete and was active in various community service projects including Dismas House, Habitat For humanity and church programs such as Holiday Food Baskets and Vacation Bible School. Named to the Dean’s List and A.D. Honor Roll every semester, he also earned listing on the OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll all three years.

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. The program further strengthens 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 the 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. He currently serves the organization as a chairman emeritus. Each player awarded with membership in this year's Honor Society will receive a certificate commemorating their achievement.

"Thanks to the generosity of Jon Hanson, we have honored more than 3,000 student-athletes in the last six years," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, "The Hampshire Honor Society allows us to showcase how much football matters in building tomorrow's leaders, and we strongly encourage every football-playing school in the country to get involved."

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 Hampshire Honor Society represents a powerful component in the organization's rich history as an innovator in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal. Launched in 1959 with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik, the NFF's National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, became the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on a player's combined academic success, football performance and community leadership. And, since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $9.8 million to 756 top scholars and community leaders.

Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 16 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 Trophy, claimed by Army linebacker Andrew Rodriguez in 2011, 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.

Ohio Valley Conference Hampshire Honor Society Members in 2012:

Nick Newsome Austin Peay
James Cooper Eastern Illinois
Keithan Hedrick         Eastern Illinois
Cory Leman Eastern Illinois
Eric Zink Eastern Illinois
Emory Attig Eastern Kentucky
Kyle Lumpkin Eastern Kentucky      
Corey Watson Tennessee Tech


View the complete list of the 2012 Hampshire Honor Society winners

About the Hampshire Foundation:
The Hampshire Foundation is the charitable arm of The Hampshire Companies, a privately-held, fully-integrated real estate firm that has over 50 years of hands-on, cycle-tested experience in acquiring, developing, leasing, repositioning, managing, financing and disposing of real estate. Founded by Jon F. Hanson, who served as NFF Chairman from 1994-2006, Hampshire is headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, has 33 employees, and currently owns and operates a diversified portfolio of 224 properties in 31 states totaling over 14.7 million square feet. Learn more at www.hampshireco.com.

About The National Football Foundation:
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the BCS, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Liberty Mutual, NCAA Football, and Under Armour. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.