Alex Lyons


Rice Freshman Wins National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award

Oct. 11, 2012

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced on Thursday that Rice freshman linebacker Alex Lyons is one of five winners of the 2012 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Award. The five winners were selected as the best of the best from their region of the country at the high school level. The five winners, who are now playing college football, are being recognized solely for their previous accomplishments in high school.

"The NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Awards 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 clearly place them among the most elite student-athletes in the country. Their contributions both on and off the field set the standard for their peers to follow, and we are extremely proud to highlight their accomplishments on our national stage."

"This is an outstanding accomplishment by an outstanding young man," Rice head coach David Bailiff said. "Alex is a tremendous example of a student-athlete who made a decision to be the best both in the classroom and on the field and earning this honor sets a great example for others to follow. We actually have two of the finalists for the South Region in our recruiting class, and with both Alex and J.T. Blasingame on our team, we have two young men who fully embrace the term student-athlete and what that can mean for their futures. Our entire team and our staff are proud of both of them and we're excited to know that Alex will represent Rice in New York at the awards luncheon in December."

Lyons, who is redshirting this fall, began his varsity career at DeSoto High School by earning District Newcomer of the Year honors as a junior. While helping the Eagles to a 21-5 record in his two years on varsity, Lyons garnered First Team All-District and First Team Academic All-State accolades. The two-time captain was named DeSoto's Linebacker of the Year and was placed on Tom Lemming's Linebacker List as a senior. Lyons completed his high school career with 430 tackles, 35 TFL and five sacks.

He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.91 GPA on a 5.0 scale while assuming a course load filled with multiple AP and honors courses. He won a UIL Scholar Award and was named the DeSoto High School Distinguished Scholar. Lyons received Student Outstanding Academic Recognition four times in high school while winning the President's Education Award and the Principal's Award in 2009. Lyons was a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society.

A letter winner in basketball and track and field as well, Lyons donated his free time as a tutor and with a summer food program. He also volunteered with the Dallas Housing Authority and the Peer Assistance and Leadership Program. Lyons served on DeSoto's student council and was named a class officer.

Joining Lyons as 2012 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Award winners are: Jesse Hiss, from Basehor, Kansas who is attending the University of Colorado; Ryan James, from Piscataway, New Jersey who is attending Lehigh University; Joshua Weeks, from Show Low , Arizona who is attending Brigham Young University and Sam Yules, from Providence, Rhode Island, who is attending Stanford University.

Selected from the 450,000 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 presented by Under Armour Tuesday, December 4, 2012, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. 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 121 outposts and more than 12,000 members, the NFF Chapter Network covers more than 4,800 high schools and 450,000 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 21 years, 91 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes, and this year's class creates a new total of 96 all-time honorees. Recent notable recipients include Andrew Luck (2008, starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts), Andrew Rodriguez (2008, winner of the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy and the 2012 AAU Sullivan Award), Jamal-Rashad Patterson (2009, a wide receiver at Stanford), Chris Prosinski (a former defensive back at Wyoming and now playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Bryant Browning (2006, a former offensive tackle at Ohio State and now on the developmental squad with the Carolina Panthers).

Five NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes have gone on to win NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards for their accomplishments in college. They are Bobby Hoying (1991, Ohio State and the 1995 William V. Campbell Trophy winner), Eion Hu (1993, Harvard), Giovanni Carmazzi (1995, Hofstra), Jon Stinchcomb (1998, Georgia) and Rodriguez. Other notable past recipients include Todd Helton and Drew Henson. Helton was honored in 1992 before playing quarterback at Tennessee, and he currently plays first base for the Colorado Rockies. Henson was honored in 1998 before playing quarterback at Michigan and his subsequent professional football and baseball careers.

For tickets to the NFF Annual Chapter Luncheon presented by Under Armour in New York on December 4, please contact Ron Dilatush at or by calling 972-556-1000. The five recipients of the 2012 NFF Chapter Leadership Awards will also be honored at the event for their extraordinary dedication and efforts in fulfilling the NFF's mission. They are Steve Bailey (Midwest Region from the Greater Cincinnati Chapter); Scott Brunette (South Region from the Middle Tennessee Chapter); Jack Girardi (West Region from Los Angeles Chapter); Dave Nixon (Northeast Region from the Joe Yukica/New Hampshire Chapter); and Greg Oliver (East Region from the National Capital (Va.) Chapter).

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