FERRIS' JAKE VISSER HONORED AS FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICA PICK
Bulldog Senior Named To Two Different All-America Teams
Click Here For The AFCA All-America Release PDF
Click Here For The Daktronics All-America Release PDF
The postseason honors continue to roll in for Ferris State University senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville), who today (Dec. 10) was named to both the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and Daktronics All-America First Teams in respective announcements made by both organizations.
The 2008 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Jack McAvoy Award winner for character and leadership on and off the field, Visser claimed AFCA All-America First Team honors for the second consecutive year. He was the only repeat selection from last year on the AFCA team consisting of both 11 offensive and defensive players along with three special teams picks. Visser was the only player from a GLIAC school named on the defensive side of the ball and among only three league players on the entire team along with Ashland quarterback Billy Cundiff and Grand Valley State offensive lineman Bill Eisenhardt.
A total of 12 Ferris players have now been named to the AFCA All-America team a combined 14 times, which ties for fifth most all-time among NCAA Division II schools. This year marks the sixth consecutive season a Bulldog player has achieved AFCA All-America First Team status. Former linebacker Kevin Myers was a two-time honoree in 2003 and 2004 followed by wide receiver Carlton Brewster in 2005, linebacker Mike Klobucher in '06 and Visser each of the last two campaigns.
The AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team is comprised of players from NCAA Division II institutions. The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all four of its divisions. Visser and Myers are the only Bulldog players in school history to twice be named to the AFCA team. In addition to Visser, Myers, Klobucher and Brewster, Ferris' impressive list of AFCA All-America picks also includes flanker Clarence Coleman (2001), kicker-punter Doc Proctor (1999), defensive tackle Kelly Chisholm (1996), quarterback Bill Love (1995), tailback Tyree Dye (1994), defensive tackle Ed Philion (1993), outside linebacker Monty Brown (1992), and running back Chuck Evans (1976).
Additionally, Visser received Daktronics All-America First Team accolades this year in voting by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) members after he previously claimed second-team All-America laurels from Daktronics a season ago. Visser was one of three conference players on the Daktronics team and was joined by Grand Valley State's Eisenhardt along with defensive lineman Dan Skuta. GVSU offensive lineman Sam Allen was a second-team pick as was Saginaw Valley State linebacker John Jacobs.
The Daktronics team is sponsored by Daktronics, Inc., an acknowledged world leader in scoring, timing and programmable display systems for virtually every sport at every level of competition. Visser is FSU's first Daktronics All-America First Team selection since Clarence Coleman achieved the status in both 2000-01 and joins both Coleman along with linebacker Mike Brooks as the only Bulldog standouts to twice achieve some form of Daktronics All-America recognition. A total of 17 FSU players have attained All-America laurels from Daktronics & CoSIDA a combined 20 times since they began announcing All-America teams in 1993. Visser, Coleman (2000-01), Kelly Chisholm (1996) and Bill Love (1995) are the only Daktronics First Team All-America representatives in school history.
Last week, Visser was tabbed as the 2008 Daktronics Super Region Three Defensive Player of the Year and chosen 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 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 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 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.