The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame released a list on Wednesday of 1,161 student-athletes who have already earned their undergraduate degrees and will be playing college football this fall while pursuing second diplomas. Seven players from Southern Illinois were on the list, which was the fifth-most among FCS programs.
The seven fifth-year seniors at SIU who have undergraduate degrees are fullback Jaylon Graham, safety Julian Hylton, wide receiver Darrell James, running back Jonathan Mixon, wide receiver Matt Quarells, quarterback Sam Straub and offensive tackle Bryce Wagner.
“The National Football Foundation takes great pride in its role as a leading voice in the promotion of the scholar-athlete,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “And highlighting the more than 1,100 student-athletes who have not only earned their undergraduate degrees but are now pursuing additional diplomas sends a powerful message about the doors that college football opens. This list allows us to showcase those individuals who have truly taken full advantage of the opportunities created by college football.”
Publishing a list of the graduates playing college football represents the latest addition to the NFF’s list of initiatives designed to promote the scholar-athlete ideal, dating back to 1959 and the launch of the highly prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. The NFF has distributed more than $31 million in scholarships, including $11.3 million to 841 individuals via the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and another $21 million through its nationwide Chapter Network.