WALTHAM, Mass. – Three former Bentley University football players have been named to the 2014 Hampshire Honor Society by the National Football Foundation. They are Brian Benedetto (Lincroft, N.J./Middletown South HS), Mike DiLegge (Scarsdale, N.Y./Eastchester HS) and Kent Kozar (Fairport, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit HS).
The Hampshire Honor Society is 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 838 players from 267 schools qualified for membership in the society's eighth year, setting a new record for the number of members in the history of the program, which began in 2007.
"We continue to raise the bar each year for the number of student-athletes who qualify for membership in the Hampshire Honor Society," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "The Hampshire Honor Society plays an important role in highlighting that college football players clearly play a leadership role in the classroom as well as on the playing field. We congratulate each of these young men for their commitment to excellence."
Kozar, Bentley's nominee for the Northeast-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, was second on the 2013 Falcons in receiving, finishing with 29 catches for 380 yards and two touchdowns. Bentley's 2012 recipient of the Michael Boyd Award as the team's Special Teams MVP, he closed out his career with four catches for a career-best 78 yards, including TDs of 13 and 18 yards, in a 56-41 win over Saint Anselm. Kozar, an economics-finance major, was previously named to the Academic All-Northeast-10 team.
DiLegge, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive lineman, saw action in every contest, making a total of 28 tackles, with 3.5 for losses and a pair of quarterback sacks. He recovered a fumble in a 24-16 win over Southern Connecticut State and finished his career with 71 tackles. DiLegge majored in accountancy.
Benedetto, a linebacker, made 18 tackles in eight games during his senior year, including a career-best seven in a 32-27 win over Saint Anselm. His major was actuarial science.
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. The initiative has honored 4,927 student-athletes since its inception, and the program has experienced growth every year in either members or school participation since its launch in 2007. The 2014 class of 838 players represents a new high water mark for members, eclipsing the old record mark by 117 student-athletes.
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.
"We have honored more than 4,900 student-athletes in the last eight years thanks to Jon Hanson's generosity," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, "We are grateful for his passionate belief in the scholar-athlete ideal, and the Hampshire Honor Society allows us to showcase the names of tomorrow's leaders while inspiring future generations to follow in their footsteps."
Qualifications for membership in the NFF Hampshire Honor Society include being a starter or a significant contributor in one's last year of eligibility (or a senior who has declared for the NFL Draft) at an 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.
Bentley, 6-5 last season, will play its first game under first-year head coach Bill Kavanaugh on Sept. 6 at home against Mercyhurst.