NEW YORK—From the more than 1.1 million high school football players across the country, Columbia first-year defensive back Blake Wooden is one of five football student-athletes named as a prestigious 2017 National Football Foundation Chapter Scholar-Athlete, the NFF & College Football Hall of Fame announced Wednesday morning. Wooden will be presented with the award during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon presented by Under Armour on Tuesday, Dec. 5 in New York City.


First awarded in 1991, the NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards have become one of the most prestigious high school honors in the country. Criteria for the award includes academic achievement, athletic accolades and community involvement. Each recipient is nominated from his local NFF chapter as the “best of the best” from his region at the high school level. The five student-athletes are being recognized solely for their accomplishments in high school.


Past recipients include current Indianapolis Colts and former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (2008), Army West Point linebacker and winner of the 2011 William V. Campbell Trophy Andrew Rodriguez (2008), current UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (2015), First Team All-MWC defensive back at Air Force Weston Steelhammer (2013), former Tennessee quarterback and retired Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (1992), former Michigan quarterback/professional football/baseball player Drew Henson (1998), former Ohio State quarterback and winner of the 1995 William V. Campbell Trophy Bobby Hoying and former Georgia and NFL offensive lineman Jon Stinchbomb (1998).


A native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., Wooden has seen action in each of Columbia’s first three games of the 2017 season, primarily on special teams. Currently enrolled at Columbia College, Wooden is described as an intense competitor on the field as well as in the classroom. The son of former NFL and Notre Dame football player Shawn Wooden, Wooden gained a reputation as a physical presence while playing safety for state power American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. A three-year letterman and team captain his senior year, he led the Patriots to a perfect 14-0 season and the Class 5A state championship in 2016, a 10-2 record and district title as a junior and was a member of the 2014 state title team as a sophomore. In the classroom, Wooden distinguished himself as an excellent role model, graduating with a weighted 5.56 GPA. A National Merit finalist his senior year, he was named the Class 5A Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the Junior Orange Bowl Scholar-Athlete of the Year. While earning AP Scholar with Distinction honors, he notched high honor student accolades during all four years of high school.


Amassing more than 326 community service hours, Wooden volunteered with Feeding South Florida, the pediatric oncology unit at Broward General Hospital and the Einstein Medical Center. A two-time captain and all-district selection in lacrosse, he was also a member of the National Honor Society, the Pre-Med Society and Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. Wooden was nominated from the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. NFF Chapter in the South Region.


For tickets to the Dec. 5 luncheon in New York City, please contact Ron Dilatush at or by calling 972-556-1000.


Complete information on the NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards can be found at this link.