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Present by the Manheim Touchdown Club
January 6, 2006
GRAND VALLEY STATE’S MIKE McFADDEN
NAMED AS 2005 WINNER OF UPSHAW AWARD
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Mike McFadden, a junior defensive lineman on Grand Valley State University’s NCAA Division II national championship team, has been selected as the recipient of the 2005 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award, sponsored by the Manheim Touchdown Club.
A 6-foot-1, 255-pound native of Saginaw, Mich., and a graduate of Heritage High School, McFadden nipped University of South Dakota offensive lineman Brian Alderson; Bloomsburg (Pa.) University offensive lineman Jahri Evans; and Northwest Missouri State University defensive lineman Dave Tollefsonin an extremely close race for this year’s Upshaw Award.
McFadden is the second recipient of the Upshaw Award, which was presented in 2004 to Pittsburg State (Kans.) offensive lineman Nathan Baker.
The Upshaw Award winner is selected by the sports information directors of the 150 football-playing NCAA Division II institutions and is named in honor of the current Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association.
Gene Upshaw was a standout lineman at Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) before achieving All-Pro status six times during his 16-year career with the NFL Oakland Raiders. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, his first year of eligibility and has served as the NFLPA executive director since 1983.
McFadden’s efforts in his first three seasons certainly caught the eye of the former NFL standout for whom the Upshaw Award is named.
“I congratulate Mike McFadden on being the winner of this year’s Division II Lineman of the Year Award,” Gene Upshaw said. “He truly had a magnificent season.
“With a quarterback sack in 13 consecutive games this fall, he had to be an offensive lineman’s nightmare,” Upshaw added. “Opposing offensive coordinators had to know where he was at all times.
“I have to say, though, that I wasn’t real happy to see him have the kind of game he played against my alma mater in the 2003 (NCAA Division II) playoffs, when [Grand Valley State] beat Texas A & M Kingsville 31-3,” Upshaw continued. “You could see even then, as a freshman, that he had a very bright future ahead of him.”
Don Harris, president of the Manheim Touchdown Club, said “The Manheim Touchdown Club is very pleased with the announcement of Mike McFadden as this year’s Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award winner. Any time you have a junior as one of your eight finalists for this award, and then to win the award, you know that this individual is someone special.
“Our congratulations go out to Mike for an outstanding season,” Harris added. “We look forward to hosting Mike at our banquet in May.”
McFadden is a truly worthy recipient of the award as the nation’s top Division II lineman, according to his coach, second-year Grand Valley State boss Chuck Martin.
“We are extremely pleased that Mike McFadden is the 2005 recipient of the Gene Upshaw Award,” Martin said. “Mike is an outstanding young man and a great representative of Grand Valley State as a student-athlete.
“Mike was the key player in our defensive scheme for the 2005 season. He was a dominant player for us on the defensive line and enabled our defense to do so many different things because our opponents had to pay special attention to Mike,” said Martin.
Prior to receiving the Upshaw Award, McFadden was named as a consensus first-team All-America selection. He earned that elite status from the American Football Coaches Association, Daktronics, Inc. and D2Football.com.
McFadden was also named as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) “Defensive Lineman of the Year” and was a first-team all-conference selection.
He concluded his junior campaign as the national co-leader in quarterback sacks with 19 and was third in the nation in tackles for loss with 21.5 (-110 yards). He recorded at least one quarterback sack and tackle for loss in each of Grand Valley State’s 13 games last fall, a run that resulted in the Lakers winning their third national title in the last four seasons.
Despite playing the entire game with a hip flexor injury, McFadden recorded one QB sack (-7 yards) in Grand Valley State’s national championship-game win over Northwest Missouri State.
He recorded five tackles, four tackles for loss (-13 yards) and three QB sacks (-12 yards) in less than two quarters of action in the Lakers’ national semifinal win over East Stroudsburg (Pa.).
McFadden, the only junior among the eight national finalists for this year’s Upshaw Award, is currently tied for the GVSU career record for QB sacks with 29. His 2005 total of 19 set a school single-season record. He was the Lakers’ No. 2 tackler with 83.
Brian Alderson, the runner-up in this year’s Upshaw Award competition, is a 6- foot-5, 290-pound offensive tackle from Hartford, S.D.
Jahri Evans, the third-place finisher in this year’s Upshaw Award competition, is a 6-foot-4, 340-pound offensive tackle from Philadelphia, Pa.
Northwest Missouri State University’s Dave Tollefson, a 6-4, 270-pound defensive lineman from Concord, Calif., finished fourth in this year’s Upshaw Award balloting.
The other national finalists for this year’s Upshaw Award were Presbyterian College’s Marcus Brisbane, a 6-1, 267-pound offensive guard from Sumter, S.C.; Edinboro University offensive tackle Greg Bzorek, a 6-6, 330-pound native of Saxonburg, Pa.; Abilene Christian University defensive lineman Clayton Farrell, a 6-4, 275-pound native of Hallsville, Texas; and West Texas A&M University’s Pat McCoy, a 6-6, 335-pound offensive tackle from Fairfield, Calif.