FSU’s Vander Laan up for Detroit Free Press Michigan Athlete of the Year

BIG RAPIDS — It’s been a banner year for Ferris State junior quarterback Jason Vander Laan after completing one of the most memorable seasons in FSU history.

The Bulldog signal caller, who became the first FSU player in school history to win the Harlon Hill Trophy last Friday as the most outstanding player in Division II, caught the attention of many people this season with his record-breaking year leading the Bulldogs back to the playoffs for the first time since 1996.

ON THE LIST: Ferris State junior quarterback Jason Vander Laan (15) is one of 10 athletes up for the Detroit Free Press’ 2014 Michigan Athlete of the Year Award. (Pioneer file photo)

ON THE LIST: Ferris State junior quarterback Jason Vander Laan (15) is one of 10 athletes up for the Detroit Free Press’ 2014 Michigan Athlete of the Year Award. (Pioneer file photo)

Vander Laan has now caught the attention of the Detroit Free Press as the publication has chosen VanderLaan as one of its 10 nominees for its 2014 Michigan Athlete of the Year award among college and professional atheltes in the state.

Vander Laan joins Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate, Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez, Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, former Michigan State guard Gary Harrisformer Michigan guard Nik Stauskas and Olympic figure skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White in the field of athletes fans can vote for at www.Freep.com.

This season, Vander Laan piled up a team-leading 1,466 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns while completing 183-of-275 passes for a career-high 2,381 yards and 30 touchdowns.

He ranked as the nation’s top rushing quarterback at all levels and was among the top signal callers in the country in passing efficiency (177.8) along with points responsible (300).

The play of Vander Laan helped Ferris State have the second-best total offense in Division II (524.8 ypg) this season on the way to a school-record 559 total points.

Vander Laan also etched his named in the Bulldog record book multiple times this season, breaking the previous program records for total offense and career rushing yards.

The junior was named the GLIAC Player of the Year and was won similar awards from several publications and organizations this offseason.

He also became just the third GLIAC player ever to win the Harlon Hill Trophy, joining Grand Valley State’s Curt Anes (2002) and Wayne State’s Joique Bell (2009), who currently plays for the Detroit Lions.

Leave a Reply