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NFF Announces 2014 National High School Scholar-Athlete Award Winners

IRVING, Texas (Oct. 9, 2014) – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the five recipients of the 2014 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards. Each recipient is selected as the best of the best from his region of the country at the high school level. The five honorees, who are now playing college football, are being recognized solely for their accomplishments in high school.“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.”

2014 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Honorees (Currently college freshmen, the award is solely based on high school accomplishments.)

  • Richard Bush – from Plant High School in Tampa, Fla., and the Tampa Chapter in the South Region. (Currently attending Princeton University)

  • Kyran McKinney-Crudden – from Glastonbury High School in Glastonbury, Conn., and the Northern Connecticut Chapter in the Northeast Region. (Currently attending Dartmouth College)

  • James McLaughlin – from W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Va., and the National Capitol Chapter in the East Region. (Currently attending Georgetown University)

  • Andrew Ralph – from Chesterton High School in Chesterton, Ind., and the Joe Tiller/Northwest Indiana Chapter in the Midwest Region. (Currently attending Washington University in St. Louis [Mo.])

  • Zachary Werlinger – from Basha High School in Chandler, Ariz., and the Valley of the Sun Chapter in the West Region. (Currently attending the University of Arizona)

The five scholar-athletes will travel to New York City to be honored during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, on Tuesday, Dec. 9 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 5,000 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 nominated 36 individuals in 2014 as finalists for the highly coveted NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards. During the past 23 years, 101 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes, and this year will mark the 24th class of honorees. Notable 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), Jon Stinchcomb (1998, a former Georgia offensive lineman and 2002 NFF National Scholar-Athlete) and Bobby Hoying (1991, a former Ohio State quarterback and winner of the 1995 William V. Campbell Trophy). Other past recipients include Todd Helton (1992, former Tennessee quarterback and retired Colorado Rockies first baseman) and Drew Henson (1998, a former Michigan quarterback and professional football and baseball player). Five NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes have gone on to win NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards for their accomplishments in college. They include Hoying, Eion Hu (1993, Harvard), Giovanni Carmazzi (1995, Hofstra), Rodriguez and Stinchcomb. For tickets to the Dec. 9 luncheon in New York, please contact Ron Dilatush at or by calling 972-556-1000.

RICHARD BUSH South Region Tampa Chapter (Fla.)

A three-year letter-winning center, Richard Bush claimed honors as the Most Outstanding Lineman in Hillsborough County. The team captain netted Class 8A All-State Honors, and he was selected as the Plant Panther Most Valuable Player in his senior year for his intelligence and leadership. He participated on a 2013 Plant offensive line that did not allow a single sack. He also claimed the Plant Panthers McCarthy Brother Scholar-Athlete Award. Holding an astounding 6.6 weighted GPA and scoring 34 on the ACT, Bush graduated third in his class of 563 students. Bush took his leadership skills off the field, serving as the Senior Class President, Senior Committee President, Gold and Black Honor Group Vice President and the Key Club Vice President. He was a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. An active member in the community, Bush spent the past two summers as a counselor at a week-long camp for children with Muscular Dystrophy. Bush currently attends Princeton University, where he is an offensive lineman for the Tigers.

KYRAN McKINNEY-CRUDDEN Northeast Region Northern Connecticut Chapter

Kyran McKinney-Crudden led Glastonbury High School in tackles (108) and tackles for loss (nine) his senior season. On the other side of the ball, McKinney-Crudden ran for 253 yards on 63 carries with five touchdowns, and he caught 24 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns. A three-year starter at running back and linebacker, he served as team captain in his senior year and was named to the All-Conference team in 2012 and 2013. He also received the Hartwell Award, presented to the young man/woman at the school who has made the greatest contribution to their team. Graduating with a cumulative 4.61 GPA and scoring a 1440 on the verbal and math sections of the SAT, McKinney-Crudden earned High Honor Roll status all four years of high school, ranking 14th out of a class of 568. He was inducted into the Chinese, Spanish, National Science and National Honor Societies, and he scored perfect scores on the AP Physics and Biology Exams. Having earned the Bronze Award on the National Spanish Exam, he also claimed proficiency on the Chinese HSK International Exam. Active in the Glastonbury community, McKinney-Crudden addressed middle school students about balancing academics and sports, and he coached the youth football team. A camp counselor at Camp Sunrise, he mentored kids with special needs, including teaching the basics of several sports and other activities. McKinney-Crudden currently attends Dartmouth College, listed as a safety on the Big Green roster.

JAMES McLAUGHLIN East Region National Capitol Chapter (D.C.)

A versatile athlete who played wide receiver and safety, James McLaughlin lettered three years at W.T. Woodson High School, serving as team captain his senior season. As a wide receiver, he made the First Team All-Patriot District and All-Region 6 Honorable Mention in 2013, and Second Team All-Patriot District in 2012. He also claimed honors as a Second Team All-Patriot District selection at defensive back and as an Honorable Mention as a kick returner in 2012. McLaughlin won the Cavalier Award for four consecutive years, selected by the school’s coaching staff for his outstanding character, performance and leadership. Boasting an impressive 4.4 GPA, McLaughlin scored a 2190 on his SAT and a 32 on his ACT. He was a national winner for the National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Award in Writing, and he received the 2014 Patrick J. Cunningham Memorial Scholarship from the Northern Virginia Athletic Directors, Administrators and Coaches Association. A member of the National Honor Society for two years, McLaughlin was also a member of the National Spanish Honor Society, and he was named to the U.S. Lacrosse High School Academic All-American Team in 2014. As a cabinet member in the National Honor Society his senior year, McLaughlin led the chapter’s volunteer projects. He recruited volunteers, established schedules, collected food and served the homeless at the Bailey’s Crossroads Food for Others, a local food kitchen. McLaughlin also volunteered as a swim and basketball coach in youth leagues and the Special Olympics swim program. McLaughlin currently attends Georgetown University, and he appears on the Hoyas’ roster as a wide receiver. He plans to major in economics with a minor in journalism.

ANDREW RALPH Midwest Region Joe Tiller/Northwest Indiana Chapter

A three-year letterman at safety and the team captain his junior and senior seasons, Andrew Ralph led his team in total tackles and pass break-ups. In 2013, he earned All-Conference, All-Area and All-State honors, and he was named his team’s defensive MVP. He also received the team’s Sportsmanship Award. Carrying a weighted 4.77 GPA on a 4.0 scale and earning a 34 on the ACT, Ralph graduated fourth in his high school class of 485 students. He earned IFCA Academic All-State honors his senior year, and he earned 17 semester hours of college credit at Purdue-North Central. He also was a member of the National Honor Society in his junior and senior years. Ralph volunteered as a tutor for special-needs students in select classes, and he donated his time with the Chesterton Home Improvement Program to help lower income families maintain or make home improvements. Ralph currently attends Washington University in St. Louis [Mo.], playing defensive back for the Bears. He is enrolled in the Olin Business School.

ZACHARY WERLINGER West Region Valley of the Sun Chapter (Ariz.)

A three-year varsity starter at quarterback, Zachary Werlinger set Basha High School records for career passing touchdowns (53) and yards (6,015), and he also established the season record for passing touchdowns (30) in his junior year. He earned First Team All-State honors in his final season, and he was twice named first team All-D1 Section 2. He served as team captain his junior and senior seasons. Werlinger led the Arizona Football Coaches Association team to a 27-21 victory in the Canyon-Coast All Star Game against the Southern California Interscholastic Football Coaches Association squad. Boasting a 4.56 weighted GPA, Werlinger was named a member of the All-State All-Academic First Team his senior year. He served as president of the National Honor Society at Basha, and he made the Honor Roll all four years. Werlinger has received numerous awards, including the United States Army Reserve National Scholar-Athlete Award, the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks Scholars Award, the University of Arizona Wildcat Excellence Award, the AP Scholar Award, the Basha Gridiron Club Academic Award and the Distinguished High School Scholar Award. An active member in his community, Werlinger served as chairman of “Smiles for Christmas,” participated in the Make-A-Wish foundation at the Chandler City Center for Arts and accumulated more than 100 hours of community service. Werlinger currently attends the University of Arizona, listed as a quarterback on the Wildcats’ roster.

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