Kiilsgaard Named 2007 National High School Scholar-Athlete
Dallas, Nov 5 2007
View photos from the Awards Luncheon on December 4, 2007 in New
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF)
announced today the selection of five exceptional individuals as
the best and the brightest in the country for their accomplishments
as athletes, scholars and citizens, naming them as the NFF National
High School Scholar-Athletes for 2007.
The 2007 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Honorees (currently
freshmen in college) are:
- Ryan Coffey - Northeast Region - Rhode Island Chapter - Burrillville
High School - Harrisville, Rhode Island
- Barton Dear - South Region - Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter – Klein
Oak High School - Spring, Texas
- Kellen Kiilsgaard - West Region - King County (Seattle,
WA.) Chapter – Auburn High School – Auburn, Washington
- Blake Lawrence - Midwest Region - Sunflower (Topeka, Kan.)
Chapter – Shawnee
Mission West High School – Overland Park, Kansas
- Matthew Stotler - East Region - National Capital (Washington,
D.C.) Chapter – Yorktown High School – Arlington,
The five scholar-athletes will be honored during the NFF’s
Annual Awards Luncheon, presented by Sprinturf, on Tuesday,
December 4, 2007, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
First bestowed in 1991, the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete
Award has become one of the most competitive and sought after
high school honors in the country. Criteria for the award include
but are not limited to academic achievement, athletic accolades
and community involvement.
“With the National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards, the
NFF annually strives 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
nominees make us all proud, and their contributions both on and
off the field set the standard for their peers to follow, and I
thank Sprinturf for joining us in our efforts to promote what these
With more than one million student-athletes playing high school
football each year, the NFF chapter network, comprised of 120 chapters
with 12,000 members, annually reviews the credentials of players
from more than 4,800 high schools Each chapter analyzes countless
local candidates for their academic achievement, athletic performance
and exemplary leadership, and collectively the chapters annually
award 2,500 deserving student-athletes with more than $800,000
in annual scholarships. From this group of 2,500, a national committee
selects five individuals for the recognition as NFF National High
Also at the NFF Annual Awards Luncheon, presented by Sprint,
five exceptional individuals, selected for their extraordinary
dedication and efforts in fulfilling the NFF’s mission, will
be honored as the recipients of the 2007 NFF Chapter Leadership
Awards. Later that evening, the NFF will hold its 2007 Annual Awards
Dinner, celebrating the organization’s 60th Anniversary.
The evening will be highlighted by the induction of 14 of college
football’s greatest legends in to the College Football Hall
of Fame. Additionally, several awards will be bestowed that evening,
including the Gold Medal, the Distinguished American Award and
more than $300,000 will be granted to the 15 recipients of the
NFF’s highly prestigious National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
For more information about the lunch or dinner, please call 800.486.1865
or visit www.footballfoundation.org.
Burrillville High School - Harrisville, Rhode Island
Rhode Island Chapter
A standout in the classroom as well in the arena of athletics,
Ryan Coffey truly exemplified the phrase “student-athlete” during
his highly successful career at Burrillville High School.
Compiling an impressive 4.2 grade point average on a 4.0 scale,
Ryan, ranked second in his class of 199. His work in the classroom
earned him an AP Scholar Award, the Rensselaer Medal, the prestigious
Bausch & Lomb Science Award and the Harvard Book Award. Vice
president of his senior class, he was a member of the National
Honor Society, the Student Technology Association and the Dead
Poet’s Society. Additionally, Burrillville High School named
him their Most Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year and the
school’s Most Outstanding Spanish and English Student.
On the gridiron, Ryan’s competitive sprit produced similar
accolades to his classroom exploits. A 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds
offensive tackle and defensive end was a First-Team All-District
and First-Team All-State selection during his senior campaign.
A member of Providence Journal All-State football team, he complied
49 solo tackles, six sacks, and two blocked kicks in 10 games his
A three-time All-League Academic Team member, The Providence Gridiron
Club honored him as Team MVP. An all-round athlete, Coffey became
a staple on Burrillville hockey team as a four-year starter and
on the baseball team as a three-year starter, earning Gatorade
Rookie of the Year Award on both squads and All-Division again
in both sports his senior year. In his senior year, he led the
baseball team to the state championship as the tournament’s
“Ryan tore his ACL in his junior year, and after sevens
months of rehabilitation he was back on the field,” said
Rhode Island Chapter President Emo DiNitto. “This speaks
volumes about his determination and tenacity. Ryan is in the top
five of all the Golden Dozen scholar-athletes that we have recognized
in the past 20 years.”
Despite his busy schedule of class work and athletics, Ryan found
time for additional extracurricular activities. As a senior he
acted, sang and danced in the school’s annual Christmas Play.
He served as a waiter for church dinners at the St. Joseph’s
Church and volunteered for the Technology Student Association’s
Senior Ball. Ryan also held several jobs during his high school
career, including delivering newspapers, serving as a dishwasher
and member of the wait staff at a local retirement center and working
at a local Subway restaurant.
The energetic Coffey currently attends Wesleyan University in
Middletown, Conn., and is playing football for the Cardinals.
Klein Oak High School - Spring, Texas
Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter
Barton Dear symbolizes everything right about high school athletics.
His reputation for sportsmanship, competitive energy, drive for
academic excellence and a deep desire to give back to his school
and his local community, created a record that simply defined him
as the best in the South Region.
A leader in the classroom, Barton’s 5.39 grade point average
on a 4.0 scale, ranked him fifth in a strong class of 501 students.
He placed first in the State of Texas Math Team competition and
he personally finished second in the District Science Competition
and fourth in the District Calculator Competition. A National Merit
Award Winner, Ryan placed third in the Woodmen of the World Life
Award for Outstanding Proficiency in American History. He was a
finalist in the District Academic Octathalon.
As a 5-foot-11 and 215-pound linebacker for the Klein Oak football
team, Dear established himself as a leader in every way possible.
A team captain and three-year varsity starter, Ryan earned Player
of the Week honors on several occasions. He was named to the First
Team All-District squad as a senior as well as a Semifinalist for
the Kiwanis Sports Hero Award. Dear’s prowess on the gridiron
extended to other sports, earning him All-District honors in Lacrosse
and landing him accolades as the Interscholastic Hockey League
Defensive Player of the Month on one occasion.
“Bart has always gone above and beyond our requirements
and has displayed an excellent attitude,” stated Klein Oak
head football coach David Smith. “He is truly dedicated to
every challenge he takes on.”
Barton Dear’s accomplishments are not limited to athletics
and academics. He also devotes a great deal of time to his community.
He volunteered at The Tomball Abandoned Animal Rescue, the Habitat
for Humanity, and helped handicapped children play baseball.
While currently tackling a challenging class workload at Notre
Dame, Barton continues to stay competitive in the field of athletics.
He participates in the intramural sports of tackle football, hockey,
lacrosse and boxing.
Auburn High School – Auburn, Washington
King County (Seattle, Wash.) Chapter
Rated by many experts as one of the top quarterback prospects
in the nation during his career at Auburn High School, Kellen Kiilsgaards
success extends far beyond the football field.
During his high school graduation commencement, Kellen claimed
the Auburn Elite Faculty Achievement Award. This prestigious award
requires two-thirds vote of the staff and is only given to a graduating
senior who has brought honor to self and school, reaching beyond
the bounds of community and the state. He ranked tenth in a class
of 354 while compiling a 3.95 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
Kellen also received the Washington State University Regents Scholar
As a two-way star for the Auburn High School football squad, Kiilsgaard
was chosen to Prepstar’s All-American Team. During his senior
campaign, the QB threw for 1,020 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed
973 yards and another 23 touchdowns, leading his team to the state
semifinals and a 12-1 record. At free safety, he notched 57 tackles
and four interceptions. He also kicked 56 of 59 extra points while
maintaining a 39.7 punt average.
The Associated Press named him All-State First-Team quarterback
and All-State First-Team defensive back. The 6-foot-3 and 220 pound
Kiilsgaard earned Player of the Year honors from The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
and The Tacoma News Tribune. The News Tribune and the Auburn Reporter
also choose him as the Male Athlete of the Year. He finished his
remarkable career as his school’s all-time leader in almost
every offensive category.
Kiilsgaard also excelled baseball, earning All-State First-Team
honors and spots on The Seattle Times and The Tacoma New Tribune
All-Area baseball squads. Kellen became the first high school athlete
to hit a homerun at Mariners Safeco Stadium and was also selected
to throw out the Ceremonial First Pitch at a Mariners game.
Excellence in the classroom and in athletics only tells part of
Kiilsgaard’s story. Recently, he stepped into the realm of
hero, swimming to rescue a 250-pound man and his 7 year-old daughter
from choppy seas while vacationing in Maui, Hawaii. He received
the Hometown Hero Award from the City of Auburn; was recognized
by the Red Cross; and has been nominated for a Carnegie Medal for
his gallant actions. He also mentors a “Little Brother” as
part of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.
“The greatest Student-Athlete is the one that can excel
in the classroom and set an example of behavior and citizenship
for all students to follow,” says Auburn High School Principal
Paul Harvey. “Kellen is that kind of student and he has not
forgotten his responsibilities as a student and that he is part
of a community that is much larger than he is, and he has handled
all of it with poise and humility.”
Kellen is currently attending Stanford University on a full athletics
scholarship while a member of the Cardinal football team. His father,
Kjel, played linebacker at the University of Idaho in the early
70s. His grandfather, Carl, played in the NFL for the Chicago Cardinals
and was the 61st pick in the 1950 NFL draft.
Shawnee Mission West High School – Overland Park, Kansas
Sunflower (Topeka, Kan.) Chapter
The top football player in the State of Kansas, a superlative
student and a leader in his community, Blake Lawrence truly represents
the best-of-the-best in the Midwest Region.
On the gridiron, Lawrence led his Shawnee Mission West squad to
the Kansas State 6A title game as a senior. During his senior campaign,
he played both safety and linebacker on the defensive side of the
ball and quarterbacked the Vikings on offense. In 2006, he accumulated
60 tackles, a pair of sacks and three interceptions on defense
while on offense he completed 68-of-131 passes for 1,329 yards
and 15 touchdowns, while throwing just three interceptions. He
also rushed for 483 yards on 71 carries and 15 touchdowns on the
The 6-foot-2 and 220 pound Lawrence was named the State of Kansas
Gatorade Player of the Year and earned All-State and All-Metro
honors from The Kansas City Star. More than ten state publications
selected him as the state’s defensive player of the year,
including The Johnson County Sun, The Topeka Capital Journal, and
The Wichita Eagle. Lawrence also earned spots on the PrepStar All-American
squad and Max Emfinger’s All-American team.
An exceptional student, Blake had an impressive 4.35 grade point
average on a 4.0 scale. He graduated in the top 10% of his class
of more than 500 students and was a National Honor Society Member.
He claimed a Kansas University State Scholar Award and was listed
in Who’s Who Among American High School Students.
Passionate about helping others, Lawrence found time to give back
to his school and his community. He served on his school’s
Student Council Executive Board and was chairman of the local blood
drive. Selected by his peers and administrators, he participated
in the UniTown’s Cultural Awareness and Diversity program
and worked as a Leadership 20/20 Member and Peer Presenter. Lawrence
also volunteered as a basketball coach and referee with Special
Olympics and as an event assistant for Big Brothers and Big Sisters
of Greater Kansas City.
“We are obviously proud of what Blake has accomplished in
high school, and we know that he will continue to succeed in college,” said
Sunflower (Topeka, Kan.) Chapter President Gerry McGuire. “Blake
truly defines what the phrase “scholar-athlete” is
Blake’s older brother, Tyler, is currently a member of the
University of Kansas football team and earned recognition in high
school by the Sunflower Chapter as a scholar-athlete in 2006.
Currenlty, Lawrence attends the University of Nebraska on an athletics
scholarship, playing linebacker for the Cornhuskers and majoring
in Business (Marketing/Advertising).
Yorktown High School – Arlington, Virginia
National Capital Region Chapter
Yorktown High School’s Matt Stotler displayed a passion
for excellence that has allowed him to succeed on the highest level
in academics, athletics and as a leader in the community.
Valedictorian of a class of 355 students, Stotler maintained a
4.16 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. A member of the National
Honor Society, he won his school’s Academic Excellence Award
and claimed the Yorktown’s Sportsmanship and Excellence Award,
a highly prestigious award and the highest honor that a Yorktown
High School student can achieve. Sponsored by the school principal,
the honor is based on nine character traits, all of which Stotler
more than embodied.
A captain on the football team, Stotler played both tight end
and defensive end, earning All-League, All-District, All-County
honors in 2005 and 2006. His senior year, he amassed 12 sacks and
18.5 tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-5 and 215-pound Stotler also
received the Virginia High School League Academic Excellence Award.
Stotler also earned three letters in wresting; eight in track
and one in rifle. Captain of the wrestling team, he was the National
District Champion at the 215-pound weight class, posting a 34-4
record with 30 pins in 2007. As a member of the Yorktown track
team, Stotler was a Northern Region qualifier in the 110m hurdles,
high jump and discus.
Extracurricular activities and community involvement also kept
Stotler extremely busy. He participated as a member of the Madrigal
singers, served on the school newspaper staff and volunteered 12-16
hours a month with Crosslink International assisting in maintaining
inventory, stocks, and preparing medical supply donations for shipment
to third world countries. An accomplished pianist, Stotler performed
recitals at the Sunrise Retirement Home as well as running bingo
night for the residents.
“Matt Stotler is a top student, a top athlete and a top
human being,” said Yorktown High School Counselor Margaret
Brennan. “He is intelligent, he works very hard, he’s
highly disciplined and he possesses self awareness and self confidence.
It is no exaggeration to say that Matt is respected by everyone,
including peers and adults, in the Yorktown community.”
Stotler currently attends Columbia University and playing defensive
end for the Lions.