FSU'S JAKE VISSER EARNS ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA ACCOLADES
Senior Standout Claims ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team Honors For Second-Straight Year
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For the second consecutive year, Ferris State University senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) has been honored as a ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America College Division First Team selection, according to a recent announcement.
Visser, who previously also earned 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV First Team recognition for the second year in a row, was one of only two players from a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) institution at any position on the Academic All-America first or second team along with Michigan Tech receiver Keith White. He was among four defensive linemen from across the country recognized as a first-team pick.
The college division consists of all schools outside of the NCAA Division I level. Student-athletes must have reached at least sophomore status academically, maintain a 3.3 cumulative grade point average and also be a starter or key reserve for their team to be nominated for Academic All-America consideration. The voting was conducted by CoSIDA members.
This year marks the 57th anniversary of the Academic All-America program, which was founded by CoSIDA in 1952 to recognize collegiate student-athletes for their outstanding achievements in the classroom and on the playing field. Over the years, the program has grown into one of the most recognized and prestigious collegiate scholar-athlete awards nationwide, honoring student-athletes from all NCAA championship sports. This season marks ESPN The Magazine's fifth year of sponsoring the Academic All-America program, which was formerly endorsed by both GTE and Verizon.
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 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 American Football Coaches Association 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 this season. It represented the program's ninth winning campaign in 14 years under head coach Jeff Pierce and marks 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 this campaign.
Since the program’s inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America® honors on more than 14,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA covering all NCAA championship sports.
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