Shane Zackery joins Northwestern's Patrick Ward (left) and NIU's Nabal Jefferson (right) as NFF Mental Toughness Award winner
Shane Zackery joins Northwestern's Patrick Ward (left) and NIU's Nabal Jefferson (right) as NFF Mental Toughness Award winner
Football - Thu, Feb. 21, 2013

Westchester, Ill. – Saint Xavier University senior wide receiver Shane Zackery (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) was honored by The National Football Foundation (NFF) Chicago Metro Chapter earlier this week when he received the Chapter's Mental Toughness Award Monday evening in Westchester, Ill.  Zackery was one of three local collegiate football players to receive the award joining Northern Illinois defensive tackle Nabal Jefferson and Northwestern University offensive tackle Patrick Ward.  Last December, Zackery became the first football player in SXU history to be named one of 15 finalists for the 2012 NFF's National Scholar-Athlete Class and made the trip to New York City to be honored at the 55th Annual NFF Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Zackery, a business management major with an emphasis in marketing and finance, becomes the first student-athlete in the 20-year history of the Saint Xavier University football program to receive the Mental Toughness Award.  He carries a 3.727 cumulative grade-point average and is a two-time CoSIDA College Division First Team Academic All-America (2011 & 2012) as well as a two-time Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete (2011 & 2012).  Zackery also helped SXU win the 2011 NAIA Football National Championship finishing the game with nine receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown.  This past season, Zackery led the Cougars in receptions (80), receiving yards (1,122) and touchdowns (13).  He also has coordinated team activities for Saint Xavier's annual "Service Day" and volunteered his time to help host a free football clinic for underprivileged kids in conjunction with a local Salvation Army Community Center in Chicago.

"What more can I say about Shane that has not already been said," said SXU football coach Mike Feminis.  "When it comes to character, he is one of the best young men I have ever coached.  He is a true inspiration to young athletes everywhere that you can find success both on the field and in the classroom if you work hard and learn to balance your time.  Shane has been a pleasure to coach over these past four years and deserves all the accolades he receives."