North Carolina Central Juan Velarde Named University Scholar-Athlete by NFF Dooley Chapter

By Maurice D. Williams Deputy AD for Strategic Communications North Carolina Central

Juan Velarde, a punter at North Carolina Central University, received one of the five Bill Dooley Chapter 2024 University Scholar-Athlete awards from the National Football Foundation on Monday.

Earning the distinction this year, along with Velarde, are Anthony Carter Jr. (NC State), DeWayne Carter (Duke), Rahjai Harris (East Carolina), and Christopher Holliday (North Carolina).

Velarde, a punter from Anderson, S.C., was a mainstay for the Eagles’ kicking game. During the 2023 season, he accounted for 51 punts for an average of 44 yards, totaling 2,042 yards on the season. He had 15 punts down inside the 20-yard line and eight kicks for 50 or more yards. He also handled kickoff duties, accounting for 2,691 yards and six touchbacks. Velarde excelled not only as a standout kicker but also in the classroom, graduating with a degree in business administration with a concentration in management in December 2023 and currently enrolled in the MBA program. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society, the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the University Honors Program, and the NC Governor’s Advisory Council for Hispanic and Latino Affairs (Economic Development, Subcommittee).

This was Velarde’s second time receiving the NFF Dooley Chapter-University Scholar-Athlete Award.

Past Recipients of the NFF Dooley Chapter’s University Scholar-Athlete Award

2023: Myles Berry, East Carolina University; Darius Joiner, Duke University; Davius Richard, North Carolina Central University; Asim Richards, University of North Carolina; Payton Wilson, North Carolina State University

2022: Ben Frye, Duke University; Sam Howell, University of North Carolina; Timothy McKay, North Carolina State University; Juan Velarde, North Carolina Central University; Jireh Wilson, East Carolina University

About the NFF Bill Dooley Chapter

On August 23, 1995, Bill Dooley, one of the winningest coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference history, invited athletic directors, coaches, and representatives from the University of North Carolina, Duke University, N.C. Central University, and North Carolina State University to join him and N.C. Governor Jim Hunt at the State Capitol Old Senate Chambers. It was at that meeting that the universities pledged their support to the newly formed NFFCHOF Chapter and its mission. In 2012, East Carolina University joined the chapter, and in 2014, the NFFCHOF Board of Directors unanimously voted to name the chapter after its founder.

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A lifelong sports fan and follower of HBCUs, Willie Alexander Hines is an expert on any sport with tremendous recall of history and newsmakers.