The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame announced that freshman Will Hefley III of The University of Tulsa was one of five recipients of the 2015 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Award that will be presented in December.
So who is Will Hefley III?
The 6-foot-5-inch quarterback from Little Rock, Arkansas, made a name for himself in high school. In his senior season at Pulaski Academy, Hefley led the state with 4,897 passing yards and 62 touchdowns. He was named Little Rock Touchdown Club 5A Offensive Player of the Year and the Farm Bureau 5A Arkansas Offensive Player of the Year. He was also named the MVP of the Arkansas 5A State Championship game.
Hefley accomplished plenty on the field while in high school but he was equally if not more impressive off of it. He had a 4.2 GPA and scored a 31 on the ACT. He was also active in helping his community and volunteered at the Little Rock marathon whenever he could.
Hefley has experienced much success yet remains humble and focused on football.
“Football is definitely a big part of my life. I’m a harder worker and a better time-manager because of it,” Hefley said. “Competition and winning are very important to me; football is just everything to me.”
Hefley gives a lot of credit to his success to his high school head coach Kevin Kelley. Kelley has become well known for his innovative style of coaching of almost never punting and always kicking onside kicks after scoring.
“My high school coach Kevin Kelley taught me so many valuable lessons from football that I can use in my life everyday,” Hefley said.
Hefley is always looking ahead at his next challenge and sets his goals accordingly. He is a redshirting this season but that has not changed his mindset on what he wants to accomplish at The University of Tulsa.
“The next goal I am striving for is to be the starting quarterback.” Hefley said. “I want to start. And then from there I’ll make some new goals.”
Striving to be the best motivates Hefley to work extremely hard but recently he’s had another source of motivation. About a month ago Hefley’s friend and athletic trainer, David Wood, passed away.
“My good friend and athletic trainer for about eight years committed suicide about a month ago. He’d been having some trouble for a while and that hit me pretty hard,” Hefley said. “He always told me that he’d be at my games one day and I know that he’s still going to be watching. I’m working and doing a lot of this for him and trying to make him proud.”
During the past 24 years, 105 student-athletes have been recognized as NFF National High School Scholar-Athletes, and this year Hefley will be a part of the 25th class of honorees. From more than 1.1 million student-athletes, Hefley and the other finalists were selected to receive this honor. Hefley will be representing the NFF Arkansas Chapter and the Midwest region at the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
“I can’t wait to hoist that trophy. It’s such an honor to even have my name mentioned in the same sentence as some of the past winners of this award,” Hefley said. “It’s going to feel incredible to stand there with that trophy. I just can’t wait.”
Hefley is pre-med and studies biology. After football he plans to become an orthopedic surgeon like his father.