Colorado State University-Pueblo – Darius Allen
NAMED AS 2014 GENE UPSHAW AWARD WINNER
Presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club
MANHEIM, Pa. – For the second year in a row, Colorado State University-Pueblo defensive end Darius Allen has been named the recipient of the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club, projected coordinator Don Harris announced on Monday.
The Upshaw Award is presented annually to the top NCAA Division II junior or senior offensive or defensive lineman in the nation. Sports information directors from each of the football-playing Division II institutions comprise the voters.
As a recipient of the Gene Upshaw Award, Allen receives a trophy in the likeness of Upshaw and recognition at the Manheim Touchdown Club’s annual banquet in May. The winner of the award receives an automatic invitation to participate in the East/West Shrine Game and the NFLPA All-Star Game. Both games will be played on January 19.
Allen was named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) and Daktronics Super Region 4 Defensive Player of the Year. A two-time AFCA All-America selection, Allen helped his ThunderWolves advance to the NCAA Championship game after its fourth consecutive RMAC Championship. In the regular season, Allen totaled nine sacks, 14 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His defense ranked fourth nationally in scoring and sixth in sacks. In three postseason games, Allen has five sacks, eight tackles for loss, forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble and totaled 21 tackles (14 solo). Allen is only the second player to be a two-time winner of the Gene Upshaw Award, joining Grand Valley State’s Mike McFadden, who won the award in 2005 and 2006.
Allen received a first-place vote on 43 percent of the ballots. None of the other seven finalists earned more than five first-place votes. Allen’s 349 points out-distanced runner-up Joe Ray, the right tackle from Lenoir-Rhyne. Minnesota State offensive tackle Chris Reed placed third, and PSAC West Defensive Player of the Year Julian Howsare of Clarion placed fourth. Tusculum defensive end Caushaud Lyons placed fifth, followed by Devin Benton of Southwestern Oklahoma State, Justin Zimmer of Ferris State and Corey Tucker of Slippery Rock.
Five of the eight finalists played for teams that reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs. Allen’s ThunderWolves and Reed’s Mavericks play for the NCAA Division II Championship on Saturday. Allen’s team won a 10-7 defensive battle against West Georgia in the semifinal. Allen totaled seven tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble in the game.
“With all of the talent at the Division II level the SIDs saw fit to award Darius with this award for the second time. That speaks volumes to his ability as a football player. We would like congratulate Darius on winning the “Gene Upshaw Division II Linemen of the Year Award” for the second year in a row and look forward to seeing him in May.”
“Darius has been double and triple teamed all season, but I feel he is playing better than he did last year,” said CSU-Pueblo head coach John Wristen. “Being the Gene Upshaw Award winner last year, he has brought a lot of positive attention to our program at a national level.”
Allen is the 11th recipient of the award named in honor of former Texas A&I (now Texas A&M Kingsville) University and NFL All-Pro offensive lineman Gene Upshaw. Upshaw, a 1987 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, served 25 years as the executive director of the NFL Players Association until his death in 2008.
Gene Upshaw Award finalists have achieved success at the highest level. Previous winner Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock, 2010) as well as 2013 finalist Matt Armstrong (Grand Valley State), and 2012 finalists David Baas (Missouri Western State), Manase Foketi (West Texas A&M), Ryan Schraeder (Valdosta State) and Ryan Jensen are all currently on NFL rosters.
Don Harris, Manheim Touchdown Club
(Suite310@aol.com – 717-940-1786)
Ethan Hulsey, Gene Upshaw Award National Coordinator
(firstname.lastname@example.org – 717-872-3100)