National Football Foundation Press Release
DALLAS, Texas - The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced University of Pennsylvania freshman Connor Loftus as one of the five winners of the 2011 National High School Scholar-Athlete Award on Tuesday. Loftus is currently the starting place-kicker for the Penn football team.
"With the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards, we annually strive to honor the absolute finest from the gridiron at the high school level," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "The accomplishments of this year's five honorees make us all proud, and their contributions both on and off the field set the standard for their peers to follow."
Selected from the 400,000 high school football players covered by the NFF Chapter Network, the five scholar-athletes will be honored for their high school accomplishments during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
"Connor has been a terrific addition to our program," said Penn Head Coach Al Bagnoli. "He is certainly deserving of this award. He had a tremendous high school career and we knew we were getting a great kid with an excellent history of success on the field and in the classroom."
"Connor Loftus was an outstanding student, athlete, leader and citizen at Servite," said Servite head coach Troy Thomas. "He was All-CIF, All-County and All-League as a kicker/punter on the football field. He was involved in our student leadership and chosen as one of eight seniors to lead the school in our student government. We will miss his leadership, character and talents at Servite, but his legacy is that he taught the young men in his charge a valuable lesson; that it's possible to be great in all that you do."
A versatile threat, Loftus ranked as one of the best high school kickers and punters in the state of California last year. He connected on 15 field goals and recorded touchbacks on 85 percent of his kickoffs as a senior while collecting First Team All-Trinity League, First Team All-CIF and MaxPreps Second Team All-State honors as a kicker. He was also named First Team All-Orange County and First Team All-State by CalHiSports.com as a punter.
His kicking dominance helped the Friars win Trinity League championships four years in a row with an overall 44-9 record. Loftus holds school records for most career field goals (24), highest single-game punting average, longest field goal (53 yards), and he is the only player in school history to make four field goals in one game. His accomplishments produced scholarship offers from Michigan, Boise State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Air Force and Navy.
A Principal's High Honor Roll member for four years, Loftus posted a 4.78 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. Named the school's salutatorian and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, he was a member of the National Honor Society and won the National Mathematics Award from the United States Achievement Academy. A member of the National Society of High School Scholars, he claimed the NFF Orange County Chapter's Paul Schwegler Award for holding the top GPA. The Servite Faculty Mathematics Award winner, he earned recognition as one of the school's top four graduates by the Orange County Register.
Loftus donated a significant amount of his time to helping his peers at Servite. He volunteered as a peer tutor; helped incoming freshmen; assisted as a kicking trainer; and worked at the YMCA. Loftus was one of eight members of Priory Leadership, a student-run organization that placed him as a leader of 125 students of all grade levels. He helped raise $2,500 earmarked for water support in Haiti, and he assembled children's tricycles for needy families at Christmas time.
Loftus, a native of Villa Park, Calif., is the Western Region recipient and is joined by Princeton's Matt Costello (Northeast Region), Vanderbilt's Josh Gregory (South), Columbia's Tyler Hamblin (Midwest) and William and Mary's Andrew Weidinger (East).
More about the NFF Award
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 accomplishments and leadership in the community.
With 120 outposts and more than 12,000 members, the NFF Chapter Network covers more than 4,800 high schools and 400,000 student-athletes in 47 states, annually analyzing the credentials of the top student-athletes from each of their regions. The chapters subsequently recognize approximately 3,300 of the best scholar-athletes at their local awards banquets, distributing more than $1 million in scholarships. From this pool of 3,300 scholar-athletes, the chapters nominate a group of finalists, and a national committee makes the final selections of the five winners, one from each region of the country, as the recipients of the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards.
During the past 20 years, 86 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes, and this year marks the 21st class, creating a new total of 91 all-time honorees.