By Kyle Serba Deputy Athletics Director for External Affairs North Carolina Central University
DURHAM, N.C. – Stats Perform has announced North Carolina Central University sophomore punter Juan Velarde as one of 15 FCS finalists for the 2022 FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award.
Named after the late school teacher and wife of legendary Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson, the eighth annual award is presented to an FCS student-athlete who excels not only on the playing field and in the classroom, but in the community and beyond.
Velarde, a resident of Anderson, South Carolina, is a junior in the classroom and he boasts a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) as a business administration major with a concentration in entrepreneurship at NCCU. He is a member of the University Honors Program and the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society. He also earned the NCCU Football Eagle Excellence award for having the highest GPA on the team, was a recipient of the 2022 University Scholar-Athlete Award by the National Football Foundation’s Bill Dooley Chapter, and was honored as a member of the 2022 Academic All-District® Football Team, selected by College Sports Communicators.
Velarde participates in numerous clubs and organizations, including the NCCU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee Student-Athlete Connection Group and The National Society of Leadership and Success.
In the community, Velarde served as a tutor and motivator with Latino/Hispanic youth through El Centro Hispano, and has volunteered with the Durham Farmer Foodshare, W.G. Pearson Elementary Food Pantry support, Bone Marrow Drive, Day of Champions Backpack & School Supply Drive, and Durham CROP Hunger Walk.
Velarde ranks third in the MEAC in punting with an average distance of 41.6 yards per punt. He has boomed four punts more than 50 yards, including a long of 55 yards, and has placed 12 out of 30 punts inside the 20-yard line.
The recipient will be announced on Dec. 12. He will be honored at the FCS National Awards banquet on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the national championship game. NCCU senior defensive lineman Jessie Malit earned the award in 2020.
Also at the national banquet, Stats Perform will present the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year) and Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year).