Football quartet earns NFF Hampshire Honor Society laurels

April 05, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State football offensive lineman Brian Gaia, punt returner Gregg Garrity, punter/holder Chris Gulla and long snapper Tyler Yazujian were honored for their accomplishments in the classroom when they were named to the National Football Foundation’s 2017 Hampshire Honor Society.

In order to be considered for membership in the Hampshire Honor Society, a player must be a starter or significant contributor in his last year of eligibility who maintains a cumulative 3.20 grade point average or higher throughout the course of his undergraduate study at an accredited NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, or an NAIA college or university.

Gaia was the leader of the Nittany Lions’ offensive line that broke records for total offense, scoring and passing yards in 2016. He graduated in May 2016 with a degree in business management and recorded a 3.32 cumulative GPA. Gaia claimed four Academic All-Big Ten selections throughout his career. On the field, Gaia earned honorable mention All-Big Ten from the conference coaches & media panel. He was named to the Pro Football Focus National Team of the Week following his performance at Indiana (11/12) and was on the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week after his showing at Rutgers (11/19). Gaia won the Dick Maginnis Memorial Award (outstanding offensive lineman) and was honored with the Captain's Award at the annual Nittany Lion Football Banquet.

Garrity graduated in December with a degree in advertising and public relations with a 3.54 cumulative GPA. He garnered Academic All-Big Ten honors this season. The third-generation Nittany Lion was named the Ridge Riley Award Winner (senior for "sportsmanship, scholarship, leadership and friendship") at the annual Nittany Lion Football Banquet. Garrity appeared in nine games, primarily as a punt returner. He averaged 8.0 yards per punt return in 2016.

Gulla graduated in December with a degree in finance with a 3.59 cumulative GPA. He earned three berths on the Academic All-Big Ten team durig his career. He served as the holder on placements over the last two seasons. He held for the nation’s most accurate kicker & Vlade Award winner Tyler Davis, who was 62-for-62 in extra points and 22-of-24 on field goals, in 11 games in 2016.

Yazujian was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American with a berth on the first team this season after a second team bid in 2015. He is the 16th student-athlete in program history to be a two-time Academic All-American. He has a 3.85 grade point average in IST – security and risk analysis and is slated to graduate with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in May. Yazujian is a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and three-time Academic All-Big Ten choice. He is a seven-time Dean’s List selection and has two perfect 4.0 GPA semesters. He has handled all of the long snapping duties each of the last three seasons.

With his reliable snapping, kicker Tyler Davis is off to the best kicking start in program history, hitting 21-of-22 career field goal attempts and all 41 extra point tries. Davis broke the school record earlier this season with 18 consecutive field goal attempts made.

Last Updated April 07, 2017