FERRIS' JAKE VISSER RECEIVES NCAA POSTGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP
Bulldog Senior Football Player Earns Prestigious NCAA Award
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The honors keep coming in for former Ferris State University defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville), who recently was named as one of the winners of the prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Postgraduate Scholarship.
Visser, who concluded his Bulldog football eligibility last fall, will receive a one-time, non-renewable grant of $7,500 to continue his education. The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition. Each sports season (fall, winter and spring), there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 scholarships available for women.
A professional football prospect, Visser was among only two student-athletes from any fall sport in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) to earn the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, joining Grand Valley State women's soccer standout Katy Tafler. He's also only the second student-athlete in FSU history to receive such distinction following former women's basketball player Debbie Killips, who became the school's first recipient of the award in 2001-02.
Recently, Visser added to his impressive list of postseason accolades by being tabbed as a first-team All-American by D2football.com and Don Hansen's Football Gazette. He was also named to the Associated Press Little All-America First Team, making him a consensus first team All-America choice by every source covering Division II football.
Previously honored as an American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and Daktronics All-America First Team pick, Visser competed in the annual NCAA Division II All-Star Game, the 2009 Valero Cactus Bowl, in January in Kingsville, Texas. The 2008 GLIAC Jack McAvoy Award winner for character and leadership on and off the field, Visser claimed AFCA All-America First Team honors as a senior for the second consecutive year. He was also recognized as Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Commissioner's Award for Academic and Athletics Excellence honoree for the second time.
As a senior, Visser was also chosen as the 2008 Daktronics Super Region Three Defensive Player of the Year and among the national finalists for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award after being chosen as Super Region Three's Co-Winner of that honor. He received the most first-place votes nationally for the Upshaw Award and finished third overall in the final voting process. He also received Daktronics Super Region Three First Team laurels, making him a three-time Daktronics First Team All-Region pick.
A two-time (2007 & 2008) ESPN The Magazine College Division Academic All-America First Team selection, Visser capped off an outstanding career by being named among the 24 candidates for the 2008 Harlon Hill Award, which is annually presented to the top collegiate player at the Division II level. He was the only offensive or defensive lineman from across the nation to make the list. Visser attained all-conference accolades for the fourth-straight year which included first-team recognition for the third year in a row and was voted the GLIAC's Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2008 for the second consecutive campaign.
This past season, Visser led the Bulldogs with 105 total tackles (56 solo), 16.0 tackles for loss (-71 yards) in addition to 7.5 sacks (-54 yards), two fumble recoveries, four blocked kicks and a forced fumble in 11 contests. He also notched his first career touchdown with a 34-yard interception return at Hillsdale (Nov. 1). The returning All-America pick and two-time (2007-08) team Most Valuable Player Award recipient finished the year ranked third among the GLIAC leaders in tackles for loss (1.45 pg.), third in sacks (.68 pg.) along with seventh in total tackles (9.5 tpg.).
Visser concluded his Ferris career ranked sixth on the school’s career tackles chart with 395 total stops. He also placed fourth on the FSU all-time sack leaders list with 27.5 sacks and tied for first place with seven career fumble recoveries. Prior to this season, Visser was tabbed as a consensus preseason All-America selection by numerous publications, including Lindy's College Football Preview which chose him as its Division II Preseason Defensive Player of the Year following a memorable junior campaign in which he attained All-America First Team honors both on the field and in the classroom.
As a junior in 2007, Visser earned first-team All-America recognition from D2football.com, the AFCA and Don Hansen's Football Gazette. He was also named to both the Daktronics All-America Second Team squad and the Associated Press Little All-America Second Team. Visser claimed ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team honors in addition to being one of inaugural fall recipients of the GLIAC Commissioner's Award for Athletics and Academic Excellence a year ago.
In 2007, Visser tallied the squad's second-highest tackles figure (106) and led the squad in tackles for loss with 14.5 for minus 62 yards, which ranked fifth in the conference. He also had a team-best nine quarterback hurries along with 5.5 sacks for a loss of 41 yards. The team Most Valuable Player Award recipient received 2007 first-team All-Northwest Region accolades for the second consecutive year and was tabbed as the GLIAC's Defensive Lineman of the Year after earning all-conference first team laurels for the second year in a row. Along with placing fifth among last season's league leaders in tackles for loss, Visser also ranked sixth in total tackles (9.6 tpg.).
The Bulldogs registered their fifth winning season in the last six years with a 6-5 overall record in 2008. It represented the program's ninth winning campaign in 14 years under head coach Jeff Pierce and marked the 14th time in the last 20 years the Bulldogs have finished above .500 for the year. FSU was an even 5-5 in GLIAC action during the '08 campaign.
The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated. An equitable approach is employed in reviewing each applicant's nomination form to provide opportunity to all student-athlete nominees to receive the postgraduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race. In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.
Candidates for the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship are screened by regional selection committees and the winners are selected by the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee. To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must have an overall grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale). Eligibility was restricted to student-athletes at NCAA member institutions, who in their final year of competition, performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport for which they were nominated. The student-athlete must have behaved, both on and off the field, in a manner that brought credit to the student-athlete, the institution and intercollegiate athletics. The student-athlete also must intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a full-time or part-time graduate student.
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