Zach Allen, the former New Canaan High School star and reigning state Gatorade Player of the Year, on Wednesday was named one of five national recipients of the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award.
Allen is currently a freshman playing at Boston College.
According to the press release, “Each recipient is selected as the best of the best from his region of the country at the high school level. The five honorees, who are now playing college football after graduating high school in 2015, are being recognized solely for their accomplishments in high school.
“It means a lot,” Allen said in a telephone interview. “Academics and athletics really are the main focus in my life, and to be recognized for excellence in both is really great. I couldn’t have done it without my family, my coaches and my teachers.”
The other honorees are Kenneth Brinson Jr., from Marist School in Atlanta; William Hefley from Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark.; Jelani Robers from The Gilman School in Baltimore and Josh Rosen from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif.
“It’s one thing to have a Division I player that’s very good, but to have a kid have the academic grades he has and do it in the classroom as well as on the field, that’s one in 100,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “To see him come on and have an effect on every game he played since his sophomore year, that’s special. He’s special.”
Allen was named to the All-FCIAC team and All-State by both the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and The Walter Camp Foundation. He is New Canaan’s leader in career and single-season sacks. He also led the Rams to the FCIAC title his junior year and state championships the past two seasons.
Allen was a member of the National Honor Society. He also served on the New Canaan High Captains Leadership Council and as a philanthropy liaison for the Service League of Boys. He was a member of the Future Business Leaders, and he served as a mentor for the New Canaan 7th-grade football team. An active member in the community, Allen volunteered with the American Diabetes Association and Multiple Myeloma Race for Research.
Allen is currently studying finance at Boston College, and he has appeared in every game this season at defensive end for the Eagles.