Ferris Senior DT Chosen By Daktronics As Regional Defensive Player Of The Year

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Jake Visser Ferris State University senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) landed another prestigious postseason honor to his list as he was tabbed today (Dec. 3) as the 2008 Daktronics Super Region Three Defensive Player of the Year.

Visser, who was recognized earlier this week as a national finalist for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award after being chosen as Super Region Three's Co-Winner of that honor, also received Daktronics Super Region Three First Team laurels. He previously claimed Daktronics All-Northwest Region First Team accolades each of the last two campaigns, making him a three-time Daktronics First Team All-Region pick. Minnesota-Duluth's Ted Schlafke earned offensive player of the year honors as both regional awards were given to players from schools represented by the "Bulldog" mascot.

Grand Valley State dominated the regional first-team selections as eight Lakers were honored. No other team had more than three members on the first team. The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) totaled 23 players overall, including 13 first-team selections and 10 second-team individuals. Meanwhile, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) had 17 overall honorees with eight first-teamers while the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) tallied 13, but only three on the first team.

First team all-region honorees are now eligible for Daktronics, Inc., Division II Football All-America recognition. The announcement of those All-American teams is expected on December 9th, preceding the NCAA Division II Football Championship, which takes place Saturday, Dec. 13, in Florence, Ala. The team, which is voted on by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), 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.

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 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.

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