DALLAS – Gallaudet University football seniors Ryan Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.), Nicholas Elstad (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Mike Hantge (Hutchinson, Minn.), Peter Leccese (North Bellmore, N.Y.) and Adham Talaat (Springfield, Va.) were named to the 2014 National Football Foundation (NFF) Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 grade point average (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 eight-year history of the program.
Gallaudet was one of two schools in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) to have an honoree, as fellow ECFC member Mount Ida had one student-athlete, Michael Babich, selected. Gallaudet is one of only 61 schools with five or more honorees and were tied with the likes of Northwestern University, Rutgers University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, and University of Oklahoma. Achieving the most honorees was the University of Rochester (N.Y.), one of the Bison's opponents last year, who had 13 honorees. Gallaudet had more honorees then any school in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), who only had 11 total honorees from 14 teams.
Bonheyo, Elstad, Hantge and Talaat were all senior co-captains for the 9-2 Bison, who won its first ECFC championship and made its first NCAA tournament appearance last season.
Gallaudet now has eight honorees to be selected to the NFF Hampshire Honor Society as they join Caleb Hinton (2012), Kevin Berrigan (2013) and Denton Mallas (2013).
"These five student-athletes have worked hard during their time here at Gallaudet University to be role models in the classroom and on the field," said Gallaudet coach Chuck Goldstein. "This is a great honor for these seniors as they complete their outstanding careers wearing the buff and blue and representing Bison Nation. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors after college."
Bonheyo is a four-year letter winner in football and was named to the ECFC All-Academic Team in 2012. This past season he played in 10 games for the Bison at running back. He ran the ball 101 times for 560 yards, with nine rushing touchdowns, and caught seven balls for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
Elstad is a four-year letter winner in football. He was named to the ECFC All-Academic Team two consecutive years (2011-12) and was a 2013 CoSIDA Football Academic All-District First Team (District 2) award winner. This past season, Elstad was a senior co-captain and played in 11 games at defensive back, gaining 41 tackles and three interceptions.
Hantge is a four-year letter winner in football and was named to the ECFC All-Academic Team two consecutive years (2011-2012). This past year at full back, Hantge played in 10 games and rushed for 241 yards on 54 carries with one touchdown.
Leccese is a three-year letter winner in football and was named to the ECFC All-Academic Team in 2012 and 2013. This past season he played in 10 games at defensive back, gaining 10 tackles and three pass breakups.
Talaat is a four-year letter winner in football. He is Gallaudet's first student-athlete to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in consecutive years and be a repeat honoree. Talaat was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America first team, the first in school history, this past fall and was a second team honoree in 2012. He is also a CoSIDA Football Academic All-District First Team for District 2 (2012, '13). He was named to the ECFC All-Academic Team three consecutive years (2011, '12, '13). He was Gallaudet's first-ever Gagliardi Trophy finalist last season and a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award. This past season for the Bison, Talaat played in 11 games at defensive end, racking up 26 tackles, five sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss.
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."
About The Hampshire Foundation
The Hampshire Foundation is the charitable arm of The Hampshire Companies, a privately-held, fully-integrated real estate firm that has over 50 years of hands-on, cycle-tested experience in acquiring, developing, leasing, repositioning, managing, financing and disposing of real estate. Learn more at www.hampshireco.com.
About The National Football Foundation
Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.