Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award
Contact: Sean Johnson – Texas A&M Kingsville
Sports Information Director – 361-593-2870 (office)

Presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club
December, 2007
Grand Valley State’s Brandon Barnes Wins Gene Upshaw Award.


   Kingsville, Texas – Grand Valley State (Mich.) offensive lineman

Brandon Barnes was named the 2007 recipient of the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award, given annually to the top lineman in NCAA Division II football.

Don Harris, past President of the Manheim Touchdown Club, Announced the winner of  the award at the Valero Cactus Bowl banquet Thursday night.

Barnes earned Associated Press and Daktronics First-Team All-American plaudits for the second straight year. Brandon was the top vote getter among offensive linemen on the 2007 Daktronics All-American Team. Barnes has earned eight All-American honors during his career at GVSU.  He was a two-time GLIAC Offensive Lineman of the Year award winner and a three-time First-Team All-GLIAC honoree.  Barnes became the first offensive lineman to earn four All-GLIAC honors during his career.  The Lakers had a 40-game winning streak snapped in this year’s NCAA Division II semifinals.  Grand Valley was 12-1 this season and during his four years the Lakers went 50-4 with two NCAA DII National Championships and three GLIAC titles.

   The award is named after former Texas A&I and Oakland Raiders star and Robstown, Texas, native Gene Upshaw.

Upshaw, currently the Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association, is the only NFL player to play in Super Bowls in three different decades and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Junior or senior offensive and defensive linemen from any of the 150 football playing members of the NCAA Division II are eligible to win the award which is administered by the Manheim Touchdown Club of Manheim, Pa., and is voted on by Sports Information Directors from all football playing NCAA Division II schools.

Other finalists for the award included Heath Benedict (Newberry), Mike Butterworth (Slippery Rock), Ben Hochstein (Nebraska-Omaha), Kurt Kissner (Mesa State), Kurt Kutscher (Henderson State), Tim McCutcheon (California, Pa.) and Nathan Young (Abilene Christian).

Barnes is among 84 players that will participate in Friday night’s Valero Cactus Bowl, the only Division II all-star game in the country.

Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at Javelina Stadium and will be televised live on Fox Sports Southwest.