IRVING, Texas — Former Sacramento State football players Markell Williams and Trent Eskew were part of a record 838 players named to the National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame (NFF) Hampshire Honor Society, the organization announced Tuesday. The Hampshire Honor Society is comprised of college football players at all divisions who are starters or significant contributors who have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or better throughout their collegiate career.
Williams, who was also a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy earlier this season, graduated in December with a degree in sociology. During his career, he was a four time Big Sky Conference all-academic selection and posted a perfect 4.00 gpa in his final two semesters. In 2014, Williams started the first nine games of the season at safety before being slowed by an ankle injury. He finished the season with 57 total tackles, including 4.0 for loss and two sacks. During his career, he accumulated 126 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions.
Eskew appeared in 43 games as a defensive lineman for the Hornets during his career. As a senior, he started all 12 contests and made 41 total tackles. He 8.0 tackles-for-loss ranked third on the team and helped him earn the team's Outstanding Defensive Lineman award. During his career, the Bakersfield, Calif., native was credited with 79 tackles, 14.0 TFLs and nine sacks. He graduated with a degree in business administration following the fall semester.
"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 and 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."
The NFF Hampshire Honor Society capitalizes on the NFF's current National Scholar-Athlete program. The program further strengthens the organization's leadership role in encouraging academic performance by 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.
Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 per 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 is given to one member of each year's class as the absolute best.