Brandon Dixon, Adam Greene, Brady Orem and Marc Badger all are very good football players. But this group of seniors can do so much more, and they were recognized for those talents Wednesday night.
They were selected as regional winners at the 50th Annual Scholar Athlete Awards Dinner at Martin's West. Each received a $4,000 scholarship from The Greater Baltimore Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
The dinner was originally scheduled for March 6, but it was pushed back two weeks because of a storm forecasted forthat night. Now reaching the half-century mark, the event has given out scholarships totaling more than $365,000.
Dixon, an offensive lineman and linebacker at Catonsville, is headed to the University of Chicago where he'll participate in track and field. He ranks in the top five percent of his class and scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT.
"It's just amazing," Dixon said of the honor. "There's so much talent out here. I'm humbled just to be here."
Greene is headed for Maryland after twice being voted the consensus All-State kicker. The Broadneck senior ranks third in his class and is a Carson Scholar — and he even sang the national anthem at the start of Wednesday's dinner.
Despite all of his qualifications, Greene couldn't stop shaking his head afterwards.
"I was completely shocked when they said my name," Greene said.
Orem, an offensive lineman at Franklin, earned a spot in the Crab Bowl All-Star game this fall and is headed to play at Rochester next year.
He's also on the Indians' indoor and outdoor track teams and serves on the Academic Advisory Board for Baltimore County Schools.
"I definitely thought my chances were slim," Orem said. "I'm blown away. I had no idea."
Badger was a running back at Fallston and is going to play lacrosse at Richmond next year.
He ranks in the top five percent of his class and is a member of the National and French Honor Societies. Like the other three local winners, Badger also couldn't believe his name was called.
"I'm really proud and humbled to be picked," Badger said. "It's a great honor."
Brunswick's Blaine Price was the only non-local regional winner.
In addition to the players, Gilman, Dunbar, River Hill and Middletown each were presented with team awards.
Gilman earned the A. Paul Menton Award, given annually to the top-ranked football team in the Baltimore area. Dunbar, River Hill and Middletown all took home the Ben Eaton Sr. Championship Awards for teams that won state titles in 2012.
Also, Khari Murphy of South River was presented with the annual Courage Award. This is the fourth year for this honor, given through the local National Football League Former Players Chapter.
Murphy battled through a number of health obstacles off the field, and his story clearly touched the audience.
"Hard work can pay off," he said softly.