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Gaither’s Reece honored with NFF award

Posted Apr 14, 2012 by Bill Ward

Updated Apr 14, 2012 at 06:42 PM

Gaither senior defensive end Mikhail Reece, who will attend Yale University next fall and play on the Bulldogs’ football team, was named the overall winner of the National Football Foundation Tampa Chapter’s Scholar-Athlete scholarship at the DoubleTree Hilton this week.

The 6-foot-4, 245pound Reece, a captain last season for the Cowboys, received a $2,000 scholarship from the Tampa chapter of the NFF, a national organization associated with the NFL and the College Football Hall of Fame.

“I’m extremely proud of Mikhail and all he has accomplished for our program,” said Gaither coach Jason Stokes. “He’s one of these kids who always does the right thing on and off the field and leads by example. We’re going to miss his influence.”

Reece complied 87 tackles, two fumble recoveries and 5.5 sacks last year for the Cowboys, who reached the third round of the Class 7A playoffs before losing to perrinial power Lakeland. In the classroom, he carried a 6.1 grade point average, Stokes said.

Since 1969, the NFF have honored the top scholar-athletes football players in the county, as well as an overall winner. Reece was Gaither’s first winner. In recent years, Plant has dominated the award, producing four of the last six winners. In 2006 Panthers standout David McCarthy became the first player from Florida to win the national award.

The NFF also presented the Sam Bailey Award Scholarship for the player who “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” Earning that scholarship was Hillsborough High offensive lineman George Blake, the 5-foot-2 player who was featured last season by the Tampa Tribune.

This year, Plant had seven players on the NFF’s scholar-athlete list, the most ever from one school in a single season in the 44-year history of the award. The complete list includes:

Reggie Barnes - Berkeley Prep; Charles Dees - Armwood; Zach Dyer - Tampa Catholic; Nicholas Fabrizio - Durant; James Few - Plant; Christian Hardegree - Berkeley Prep; Neil Mac Innes - Chamberlain; Drew Madhu - Plant; Alec Maughan - Tampa Catholic; Kieran Pettus - East Bay; Mikhail Reece - Gaither; Tate Rogers - Plant; Nathan Shienle - Plant; Mike Tate - Plant’ Brandon Teeling - Armwood; Grant Van Aman - Plant; Bryce Walker - Jesuit; Keith Weeks - Newsome; Patrick Wright - Plant.

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