Jake Visser & Erik Schumacher Among Recipients Of Meijer-Sponsored Awards

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Academic All-Americans
Ferris State defensive linemen Erik Schumacher (left) and Jake Visser (right) are among the inaugural recipients of the GLIAC Commissioner's Awards

Two Ferris State University football players, junior tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) and senior end Erik Schumacher (Lake Isabella/Beal City) were honored Thursday (Jan. 10) as fall 2007 recipients of the inaugural Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Commissioner's Awards for Academic and Athletics Excellence in an announcement made by the league office.

The awards, sponsored by Meijer, Incorporated, will be presented after the fall, winter, and spring athletics seasons to six male and six female student-athletes that excel both in the classroom and on the fields of play. The awards were announced in conjunction with the release of the GLIAC Fall All-Academic Teams in which 585 student-athletes were honored for their efforts.

Besides Visser and Schumacher, the other male student-athletes honored included Vince Cashdollar (Ashland), Nick Gurica (Hillsdale), Chris Hammer (Grand Valley State) and Mark Nicolet (Hillsdale). The six female student-athletes included Melissa Bartlett (Hillsdale), Rebecca Heintzman (Mercyhurst), Rachelle Malette (Wayne State), Amy Palmgren (Michigan Tech), Katy Tafler (Grand Valley State) and Lynsey Warren (Ashland).

“These 12 student-athletes exemplify the NCAA Division II philosophy of balance between academics and athletics by excelling in both areas,” stated GLIAC Commissioner Tom Brown. “Our conference, along with Meijer Incorporated, feel that it is important to recognize these hard working student-athletes for their outstanding performances in the classroom and on the field of play.

"The GLIAC would like to thank Meijer for their generous sponsorship of the 2007 Commissioner’s Awards and for helping us acknowledge the exceptional accomplishments of this group.”

Visser and Schumacher both previously earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team along with ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV First Team recognition this year.

On the field, Visser was tabbed as a 2007 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches’ All-America Team selection as well as a 2007 Daktronics All-America Second Team pick along with being chosen to the Associated Press Little All-America Second Team.

This season, 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. In 34 career contests, Visser has compiled 290 tackles (154 solos) with five fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and four pass deflections. He also has 38.5 tackles for loss resulting in a negative 165 yards. Visser is presently seventh on Ferris State's all-time pass sacks leaders list with 20.0 total for a negative 125 yards. He received 2007 first-team All-Northwest Region accolades by Daktronics, Inc., 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 this season's league leaders in tackles for loss, Visser also ranked sixth in total tackles (9.6 tpg.).

Visser, who was tabbed as both a 2007 Street & Smith's Division II Preseason All-America First Team selection and D2football.com Preseason All-America Second Team pick along with being named to the 2007 Lindy's College Football Preview All-Division II Preseason All-America Second Team, was a 2006 honorable mention All-America selection by both D2Football.com and Don Hansen's Football Gazette. The 2006 All-GLIAC First-Team lineman finished second among Ferris' 2006 tackles leaders with 86 stops (52 solos) as an 11-game starter. He earned team Most Valuable Player Award honors for the 2007 campaign. A history education major, Visser claimed GLIAC All-Academic Team laurels for the third time this year.

An All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection for the second-straight year, Schumacher ranked fifth among the squad's leaders this season with 59 total tackles, which includes 32 solo stops. He had a team-leading 6.5 sacks for a loss of 35 yards. His 12.5 tackles for loss ranked second on the team this season. In addition, he had four quarterback hurries, a team-best four forced fumbles, two blocked kicks and one fumble recovery this campaign.

In his career, the senior team captain posted 156 total tackles, 28.0 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in his 44 games at FSU. Schumacher was listed 10th (0.36 pg.) nationally in forced fumbles along with 76th in pass sacks (0.6 pg.) this season, according to the final (Dec. 15) NCAA-II National Statistics. He ranked tied for second in forced fumbles (0.36 pg.) and tied for seventh in sacks (0.59 pg.) among the GLIAC's overall leaders this year. A four-time (2004-07) GLIAC All-Academic Team member, Schumacher was the defensive recipient of Ferris' Rich Currie EPEP (Every Player, Every Play) Award following the conclusion of the 2007 campaign. He's an accountancy major at FSU and a three-time (2005-07) FSU Dean's Academic Award honoree.

The Bulldogs' 6-5 overall record this season represented the program's eighth winning campaign in 13 years under head coach Jeff Pierce and marks the 13th time in the last 19 years the Bulldogs have finished above .500 for the year. FSU was an even 5-5 in GLIAC action this campaign as the Bulldogs won their final two games of the season in thrilling fashion.

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