Each spring, The Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation hosts an event to acknowledge the accomplishments of scholar-athletes from six counties, 23 high schools, and two colleges. Students come dressed to the nines, in hopes of winning the respective scholarships given by the National Football Foundation. While any acknowledgment made on this night is an honor to these student-athletes, the biggest award of the night is the Jack Stephan Top Scholarship Award. This year, the recipient of this award was The Hun School’s very own Ian Franzoni ’20 -- one of three raiders to ever win this award since its inception in 1962.
Ian was nominated for this award by head football coach, Todd Smith. After the nomination, the process of finding the best recipient was not something that the National Football Foundation took lightly. Before being chosen as the winner of this award, Ian’s character on the field, in the classroom, and as a leader was discussed multiple times by the scholarship committee. The recipient of the award must be a true triple threat - a scholar, a leader, and an athlete.
“The National Football Foundation is as good as it gets in college and high school football,” Coach Smith said. “I knew I would nominate Ian for this award since his first practice at Hun. This award is given to the best scholar-athlete in the area and Ian’s leadership, athletic talent, and performance in the classroom made him deserving.”
For Ian, winning this award was merely just a dream he had as an eager 9th grader joining the football team. Fast forward four years and he now holds the title of being one of three football players to ever win this award in the history of The Hun School. Ian follows in the footsteps of Mark Savidge, who won this award in 1964 and Richard Ziegler who won in 1970.
“If you take a look back on the list of the past winners there are some extremely intelligent and well respected athletes who have won the award,” he said. “ To be held in the same regard as some of those people is something I am very proud of.”
Ian attributes his growth as not only an athlete but a student and a leader to the School and the faculty that have helped him in every aspect of life along the way.
“Over the past few years, there have been countless faculty members, coaches, and peers who have helped me achieve my goals,” Ian said. “My whole high school career has been a huge learning experience for me. As captain, Coach Smith looked to me many times to be a leader who motivates and holds players accountable. From an academic standpoint, the faculty has always supported me as a student. Having people like this who believed in me and pushed me to my fullest potential ultimately helped me win this award.”
Coach Smith described Ian as the “future measuring stick for all Hun football captains,” as his work ethic raised the bar for everyone on the team. Coach Smith noted that and Ian’s drive, to make himself into the best possible football player he could, paid off in a much higher regard.
In the fall, Ian will be attending Brown University to play football and plans to take advantage of Brown’s open curriculum to study business and possibly psychology. While he will miss the Hun football team greatly, he has a few words of advice for his fellow teammates.
“To my teammates, my advice is that they take advantage of every opportunity they receive, not just on the field, but in every aspect of life,” Ian said. “On the field, no matter what role you play, it’s important to prepare tirelessly so that when the right opportunity presents itself, you are able to capitalize on it. Same mentality goes for academics. And lastly, hold yourself accountable and be responsible, we have to recognize that being a Hun student is an honor and we don’t want to jeopardize that.”