Pro Football Hall of Fame and U.S. Army Announce Award for Excellence Finalists

The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the U.S. Army announced the 25-high school, student-athlete finalists for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence. The program, now in its fifth year, highlights the achievements of student-athletes across the country. The prestigious program expanded the number of finalists recognized from 20 to 25 individuals.

The Award for Excellence program is open to all sophomore, junior and senior level high school student-athletes in the United States. The honor focuses on great athletic achievement, excellence in academics and community engagement.

“The Pro Football Hall of Fame is proud to partner with the U.S. Army to pay to tribute to the fine young men and women who will shape the future of our country. Congratulations to the 25 finalists in 2017 who exemplify the Hall’s core values of commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence,” commented Pro Football Hall of Fame Chief Operating Officer & Executive Producer George Veras.

“These students embody the excellence and dedication that both Army Soldiers and Pro Football Hall of Famers bring to their own lives every day. They give their best to achieve their goals and give back to their communities. The Army is proud to be honoring this group as the 2017 Award for Excellence finalists,” said Mark Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army (marketing).

The 25 finalists for the Award for Excellence will be recognized during formal ceremonies at their respective high schools this spring, the first of which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21. The student-athletes will receive their finalist plaque from a Pro Football Hall of Famer during their individual events. Gold Jackets currently confirmed for the ceremonies include: JOHN RANDLE, KELLEN WINSLOW, AENEAS WILLIAMS, ANTHONY MUÑOZ, MARCUS ALLEN, ANDRE REED, BRUCE MATTHEWS, DERRICK BROOKS and THURMAN THOMAS. Additionally, each finalist nominated a teacher who has been influential in his or her academic career to be recognized at the ceremony.



  • Tuesday, March 21 – Sean Cullen, Lakeland High School (White Lake, Mich.)

  • Thursday, March 23 – Tyler Kroenke, Lincoln (Mo.) R-2 High School

  • Thursday, March 23 – Connor Spunaugle, Lincoln (Mo.) R-2 High School

  • Friday, March 24 – Emily Fischer, Herculaneum (Mo.) High School

  • Monday, March 27 – Logan Miller, Cabool (Mo.) High School

  • Wednesday, April 5 – Ashley Ho, Piqua (Ohio) High School

  • Friday, April 7 – Jared Van Vleet, Stillman Valley (Ill.) High School

  • Monday, April 10 – Miranda Julian, Iron Mountain (Mich.) High School

  • Wednesday, April 12 – Makenzie Funk, Mount Spokane High School (Mead, Wash.)

  • Wednesday, April 19 – Seth Polfus, North Central High School (Powers, Mich.)

  • Thursday, April 20 – Ryan Poggenpohl, Lincolnwood High School (Raymond, Ill.)

  • Friday, April 21 – Kaitlyn Hicks, Kingford (Mich.) High School

  • Monday, April 24 – Andrew Cherry, Dickson (Tenn.) County High School

  • Tuesday, April 25 – Ryan Crowley, Bakersfield (Calif.) High School

  • Thursday, April 27 – Larsen Hodges, Lincoln High School (Portland, Ore.)

  • Friday, May 5 – Elisabeth Felix, The Stony Brook (N.Y.) School

  • Tuesday, May 9 – Emily Scott, East Balden High School (Elizabeth, N.C.)

  • Monday, May 15 – Nick Templeton, Festus (Mo.) High School

  • Tuesday, May 16 – Emily Annesser, Ottawa-Glandorf High School (Ottawa, Ohio)

  • Tuesday, May 16 – Jay Kaufman, Ottawa-Glandorf High School (Ottawa, Ohio)

  • Wednesday, May 17 – Hannah Kerns, Pinckney (Mich.) Community High School

  • Wednesday, May 24 – David Johnson, Calvert High School (Prince Frederick, Md.)

  • Thursday, May 25 – Morgan Oldfield, Dansville (N.Y.) Senior High School

  • Tuesday, June 6 – Morgan Novikoff, Half Hollow Hills High School East (Dix Hills, N.Y.)

  • TBD – Andrew Santiago, Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School

Each U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence finalist will be honored in Canton during the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls in August. The finalists will be hosted at a special luncheon on Saturday, August 5 at the Hall during which the winner will be announced. All 25 finalists will have the opportunity to attend the 2017 Enshrinement Ceremony for the Class of 2017 – MORTEN ANDERSEN, TERRELL DAVIS, KENNY EASLEY, JERRY JONES, JASON TAYLOR, LADAINIAN TOMLINSON and KURT WARNER. The Enshrinement Ceremony, held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, is nationally televised on ESPN and the NFL Network.

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