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Hun's Ian Franzoni, Princeton's Frederik Otte to be honored at DelVal Scholars Dinner
3/8/2020 9:14 AM

It’s safe to say two of the high school football programs in Princeton had different degrees of success last fall, but the Hun School and Princeton High did have one thing in common — standout players who also excelled in the classroom.

And they will be recognized next month as the Raiders’ Ian Franzoni and the Little Tigers’ Frederik Otte are their schools’ honorees at the 58th Annual George Wah Scholar-Leader-Athlete Awards Dinner. The event will be held 4 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the Princeton Marriott and is sponsored by the Delaware Valley Chapter National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.

For ticket and ad information contact Ron Hoehn at 609-731-6610.

Other high school scholar-athletes who will be recognized and will receive a $1,000 scholarship are Michael Abelowitz (Ewing), Chris Hollander (Hopewell), Matthew Kildea (Lawrence), Louis Pasculli (Nottingham), Matthew Lambert (Steinert), Jazzir Merricks (Trenton), Major Wilbur (West Windsor-Plainsboro), Claude J. Vilfort (Lawrenceville), Lucas Johnson (Peddie), Rickey Eng (Pennington), Ryan Blanchard (Bordentown), Lucas Johnson (Peddie), Jayson Zane Emery (Florence), Dylan Farina (North Hunterdon), Kyle Reiss (Hightstown), Jacob Darby (Hamilton West), Chris McCrea (Allentown), Jack Devine (New Egypt), Connor Fitzsimmons (Hun) and Quentin Autry (Notre Dame).

Adult award-winners are Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (Robert F. Casciola Distinguished American), Heather Anderson, President and CEO of Special Olympics New Jersey (George O’Gorman Contribution to Amateur Football), Notre Dame’s Sean Clancy (Hang Johns Coach), Eugene Ferguson (Jack Millard Officials), Brian Caloiaro of the Northern Burlington Junior Greyhounds (Contribution to Youth Football), Casey Mann (Eunice Kennedy Shriver Champion), Michael “Sid” Holcombe (Tony Persichilli Meritorious Service) and Brian DeAngelo (Nick Gusz Good Guy).

Princeton University’s Andrew Griffin will receive the Judge Arthur Lane Scholar-Leader-Athlete, and The College of New Jersey’s Erik Graham gets the Earl H. Dean Scholar-Leader Athlete. Kole Briehler of the Hopewell Valley Youth Football Organization is the chapter’s Little Scholar winner.

Despite Princeton’s struggles this year, Otte provided strong leadership as a captain and completed his third straight year of playing on the varsity’s offensive line as a center and right guard. He earned the Coaches’ Award as a junior. Showing his athleticism, Otte is also a breaststroker/free stroker and serves as captain on the swimming team, and did the same in swimming at China’s Western Academy of Beijing. He was also a track standout and played rugby at WAB and was part of the Danish Championship Club swim team.

“Fred came to us as a sophomore after transferring in from Denmark; he was relatively new to the game, but was eager to be part of it,” Princeton coach Charlie Gallagher said. “Our coaching staff immediately recognized that Fred was going to be a positive contributor for the next several years. He had an optimistic attitude coupled with a desire to work hard and a helpful attitude.

“Fred became our starting center his junior year. He spent a lot of time in our weight room and contributed to recruiting players into our program. Fred made great strides in the summer before his senior year. He was all-in during our entire football offseason. He again anchored our offensive line at center, playing many special teams, and giving us valuable reps on the defensive line.”

The Denmark citizen has a grade point average over 3 and created the PHS Transfer Club, which helps new students outside the Princeton community adjust to the school by helping them make friends, showing them around school, and all the other intangibles a transfer must deal with. Otte is part of the PHS Green Team recycling program, volunteers at the Danish Church in Brooklyn and at Princeton’s PTO New Family Initiative, and helped with Operation Smile Club to raise funds for cleft palate surgery. He is also a member of the PHS Esports Club.

“Academically, Frederik is driven by his goals, an intellectual curiosity and a commitment to work hard,” PHS Counselor Paulo Velasco said. “Frederik runs his own business by selling rare sneakers and clothing on the Internet and recently used his own money to purchase a vehicle. He takes pride in earning what he has and this is indicative of his grit and true character.”

A three-letterman in football, basketball and track (previously baseball), Franzoni played varsity football for four years and was a starter for three at running back. He earned second-team All-New Jersey Prep and All-MAPL honors as an underclassman, and first-team honors in both as a senior when he was also named Prep Player of the Year. This past fall he was honored by the 12th Man TD Club and was named the Raiders’ MVP. Despite Hun playing just seven games, Franzoni amassed 1,178 rushing yards, 322 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

“I have had the privilege of coaching some of the all-time great football players in the history of this area, and Ian Franzoni is right up there with all of them,” Hun coach Todd Smith said. “In all of my dealings with Ian he has shown to be a young man of character, intelligence and talent. In his four years he displayed the leadership qualities and work ethic that every coach hopes for from his top players.

“In the biggest games of the year Ian showed up. No matter who the opponent was he never backed down. It was wonderful to watch the team gravitate around him. In our most crucial moments, they looked to Ian and he always delivered. Ian approaches life, football and school the same way. One day at a time, with a blue-collar mentality. Ian was often the best player to step on the field no matter who we played but it is without question that Ian is one of the greatest human beings off the field.”

In the classroom Franzoni has a GPA of 89 while taking several honors courses. He has won the William R. McQuade Scholar-Athlete Award, has been All-MAPL Academic in track and football and is this year’s Destination Athlete Scholarship Award winner. A four-year member of the honor role, Ian belongs to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club, is a Red Shield Society Tour Guide and a camp counselor for baseball and football.

“In the classroom, Ian has grown considerably since he first arrived at Hun,” said Davirah Timm-Dinkins, Hun’s Associate Director of College Counseling. “Harkness discussions have stretched him and have made him a more engaged student learner. Ian would say that class discussions have improved his overall communication skills.

“Ian is an active participant in the classroom who works well with his peers. The main word that captures Ian is charming. His smile makes spaces warmer and allows him to easily interact with those around him.”

Follow Rich Fisher on twitter @fish4scores

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