DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke football team had five players selected for membership in the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame’s Hampshire Honor Society. Representing the Blue Devils were Gabe Brandner, Austin Davis, Bryon Fields Jr., Evan Lisle and Alonzo Saxton II.
Duke’s five selections were tied for fourth among all Power 5 conferences, trailing only Arkansas (9), Auburn (7) and Stanford (6). Duke has now placed at least four players on the NFF Hampshire Honor Society in six of the last seven seasons.
The NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which is celebrating its 12th year, is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college careers. An all-time high 1,251 players from a record-tying 302 schools qualified for membership.
“We are pleased to see another record number of athletes honored by the Hampshire Honor Society this year,” NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell said. “Over the past decade, it has become a powerful vehicle for schools to recognize their college football players who have distinguished themselves both academically and athletically, and we congratulate the schools and each of these young men for their commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives.”
Brandner, a three-year starter at left tackle, picked up his second NFF honor as he was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy in September. Brandner is a three-time Academic All-ACC pick and two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District III honoree. The Blythewood, S.C., product was also the recipient of a 2018 ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Award, a postgraduate scholarship worth $5,000. Demonstrating his commitment to not only athletics and academics, but also community service, Brandner was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and was a semifinalist for the Wuerffel Trophy during 2017 season. On the field, Brandner became just the third Blue Devil to start in two bowl victories, joining linebacker Ben Humphreys and wide receiver T.J. Rahming. Brandner graduated from Duke in May, 2017 with a degree in evolutionary anthropology with a minor in chemistry and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in liberal studies.
Davis was a two-year starter at center and was elected as one of four team captains for the 2017 campaign. A native of Mansfield, Texas, Davis was a two-time Academic All-ACC pick and earned third team all-league accolades in 2017. He was on the field for 1,987 career snaps, helping Duke to 28 wins over four seasons and three bowl game appearances. Davis graduated from Duke in December, 2016 with a degree in political science and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in liberal studies.
Fields Jr., a four-year letterwinner at cornerback became just the 11th Blue Devil to receive four Academic All-ACC citations. In 52 games with 39 career starts, Fields Jr. registered 181 total tackles, 5.0 TFL, 1.0 quarterback sack, six interceptions, 21 pass breakups, two caused fumbles and one fumble recovery. He set the Duke career record with four INT returns for TDs and also ranks 11th in interception return yardage (139) and 13th in PBUs. The Charlotte, N.C., native returned two interceptions for scores in 2017, tied for the most in a year in program history. Fields Jr. graduated from Duke in December, 2016 with a degree in economics and minor in Spanish and is currently pursuing a master's degree in political science.
Lisle lettered in the 2017 season at Duke after transferring from Ohio State. The Centerville, Ohio, product was an Academic All-ACC pick in his one season as a Blue Devil, starting all 13 games at right tackle. Lisle was a four-year member of the football program at Ohio State from 2013-16, lettering two seasons and helping Ohio State to a 23-3 record with Associated Press national poll finishes of No. 4 in 2015 and No. 6 in 2016. He graduated from Ohio State in December, 2016 with a degree in consumer financial services and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in management studies.
Saxton II received four letters and a pair of CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District III accolades as a safety. The three-time Academic All-ACC honoree appeared in 46 career games (28 starts), registered 194 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, eight pass breakups, five quarterback pressures, three caused fumbles, three fumbles recovered and two interceptions. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Saxton II started the final 20 games of his career and turned in most impactful year as a senior including a career-high 15 tackles against Florida State. Saxton II was one of just 13 Blue Devils in program history to play in two bowl wins, helping Duke capture the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl and 2017 Quick Lane Bowl. He is a theater studies major with a minor in education.