Cox wins `Scholar' award

`Tremendously honored,' McDonogh standout earns $4,000 prize

High school football

March 09, 2006|By MIKE FRAINIE | MIKE FRAINIE,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

You could tell that McDonogh's Kelley Cox was a little uncomfortable when the spotlight hit him last night during the introduction of the 95 athletes being honored by the Baltimore chapter of the National Football Foundation at Martin's West.

By the end of the night, however, Cox was basking in the glow as winner of the chapter's Scholar Athlete of the Year award.

The senior defensive end/linebacker, who is headed to Brown University next fall to play football, won a $4,000 award. Four other regional winners (Greg Zingler of Severna Park, Garth Grove of North Harford, Travis Fales of Atholton and Sheldon Bell of City) each won $1,500.

"This is an unrivaled privilege," Cox said. "I'm tremendously honored to be picked out of a group as distinguished as this one."

The award, given to the top student-athlete from football-playing high schools in the Baltimore metropolitan area, has been given annually by the chapter since 1964. It is based on football and academic accomplishments and leadership skills.

Cox said that of all his emotions, the one that was the most prevalent was surprise.

"I really didn't think I would win," he said. "I get as nervous as the next guy and when I got up there I just didn't know what to say."

The senior said he doesn't see himself as a role model, but he hopes others can learn from his example.

"I owe a lot to my mom," said Cox, who was the Eagles' team captain. "She pushed me academically and checked to see if my homework was done -- and done right. If it wasn't, I did it again. On top of that, I had tremendous teachers at McDonogh who encouraged me."

Cox said the recognition was great, and the money didn't hurt, either.

"I'm getting some aid from the government and a partial scholarship from Brown, but I still have to pay for some of my education," he said. "I don't come from a wealthy family, so this will sure come in handy."

Zingler, who has been accepted to the Naval Academy, summed up what many of the honored players were feeling.

"Winning an award like this is an unbelievable experience," Zingler said. "There are a lot of people who have supported me -- like my parents -- and this is my chance to recognize them. They were always there for me; I just did the easy part."

In addition to the awards, Archbishop Spalding offensive lineman Adam Higuera was recognized for scoring a perfect 2,400 on the SAT.

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