Klein Collins’ Bryson Powers wins Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award

November 17, 2016 GMT

The term “student-athlete” was coined in 1964 by Walter Byers – the inaugural executive director of the NCAA – and, in its purest sense, describes a young person striving to serve two masters: athletics and academics.

Most student-athletes struggle, to some extent, with the dual burdens placed on them by the rigors of competing on the field and in the classroom, but some thrive exceptionally under the twofold obligations.

Bryson Powers, senior quarterback at Klein Collins and Harvard commit, exemplifies the best of both worlds, and Wednesday – at a Galleria luncheon – the Houston Touchdown Club, the Houston charter of the National Football Foundation, honored him as the 2016 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

According to the Houston Touchdown Club’s website, the award signifies success across a wide spectrum of categories, including academics, athletics and citizenship.

Klein Collins head coach Drew Svoboda, reflecting back on the event Thursday, said that the occasion was a special one.

“Pretty neat deal downtown at the Galleria,” Svoboda said. “That was a big deal. That doesn’t happen much – one guy per year in the city of Houston.”

The list of finalists included 25 nominees, and Powers earned top honors, along with a $1,500 scholarship. Manvel senior offensive lineman Logan Tonini took home second place, with Eisenhower senior safety George Nyakwol finishing third.

Finishing first among 25 of the city’s best student-athletes is an incredible honor, but Powers earned it and then some, says Svoboda.

“He’s very deserving of the award,” Svoboda said. “He’s got his priorities in line. His time management, his work ethic, all this stuff that, many times, teenagers struggle with, he’s already got a pretty good grasp on it.”

Powers, a leader for his team on and off the field, is a uniquely mature and level-headed student-athlete, per Svoboda, and the signs are many and varied.

“His overall grasp on reality is best illustrated when you see that he turned down multiple Division I football scholarships to places like Tulsa, and really good football programs, to go to Harvard, where football’s not the emphasis,” Svoboda said. “But he knows that when he’s 22, 23 years old that he’ll have a degree from Harvard University. For an adult to look at it, it’s a no-brainer. Harvard turns down thousands of valedictorians every year. That just shows the grasp he has on reality.”

Powers was instrumental in guiding the Tigers to a district title this season, going 7-0 in 15-6A play, but Svoboda says that his positive influence on the team extends well beyond what takes place between the lines, standing as an example of how to manage that sometimes-precarious balance between athletics and academics to the other players on the Klein Collins roster.

“When one of your best players takes care of his business on and off the field, there’s so much credibility already there because of his ability to play football,” Svoboda said. “It definitely helps. I’m just really proud of Bryson. It’s been good having him around.”

Powers joins a long line of distinguished winners, most notably 2007′s winner, Stratford quarterback Andrew Luck, now the signal-caller for the Indianapolis Colts.