Annual Honors Distributed Following Conclusion Of Spring Drills

D.J. Freeman
Sophomore back David Freeman was the recipient of FSU's Bulldog Award for his offensive play during spring drills (Photo Courtesy Sandy Gholston)

Ferris State University football head coach Jeff Pierce has announced the 2009 Bulldog football team's spring award winners upon the conclusion of the team's annual spring drills.

This spring represents the third consecutive year that the FSU spring football awards have been issued after they debuted in 2007. The honors will continue to be awarded on an annual basis and serve for recognition purposes only as no trophies or plaques are to be distributed to the recipients at this time.

Ferris State held its annual Crimson and Gold Spring Game on April 24 at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. The Gold/White posted a 40-23 win over the Crimson team in a controlled format.

Senior outside linebacker Chad Schoen (Woodhaven/Gibraltar Carlson) and sophomore offensive lineman Jake Hancock (Big Rapids) were named the recipients of the Most Improved Player for showing the most improvement in spring practice from the previous season. Hancock established himself as the starting center this spring heading into fall camp while Schoen had an outstanding spring and made big plays both during practices and the spring game, according to FSU defensive coordinator Duane Wilson.

The Bulldog Award went to senior linebacker Nick Butler (Midland) on defense and sophomore running back David Freeman (Westland/Wayne Memorial) on offense. The Bulldog Award is presented to both an offensive and defensive player who exemplifies and sustains tenacity along with intense play throughout spring ball. Butler, who has played behind a pair of all-conference linebackers in Mike Klobucher and Kevin Noe the last three years, brings an intensity and work ethic to the defensive unit. FSU offensive coordinator Matt McCarthy said Freeman found a home at running back this spring and impressed coaches with his ability to learn the position and make big plays.

The Newcomer Award, which is given to both an offensive and defensive player in their first year who makes the most progress in spring practice, was handed out to freshman back Dwayne Williams (Saginaw/Heritage) and freshman defensive end Jordan Morgan (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel). Williams established himself as a threat from the running back position and had the biggest play of the day in the spring game with a 57-yard touchdown run. Meanwhile, Morgan provided a consistent pass rush threat with his speed on the edge this spring and will enter fall camp as a starter at the position.

Sophomore quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) along with senior safety Chad Wilson (Howell) were named the winners of the Crimson and Gold Spring Game Players Award. The award honors both an offensive and defensive player who were selected as the most outstanding players in the annual spring gridiron contest. Schneider helped account for four touchdowns in leading the Gold/White team to victory in the spring contest as he ran for a touchdown, caught a TD pass and threw two more scoring completions in the outing. Wilson had an interception that lead to a touchdown in the game and played solid defensively throughout the contest.

Ferris State will kickoff its 101st season of varsity competition Saturday, Aug. 29, against the Tiffin (Ohio) Dragons in a 7 p.m. (EDT) non-conference contest at Top Taggart Field. The game will take place during FSU "Welcome Week" activities and be part of a true "Community Football Day" atmosphere as Big Rapids High School will also open its 2009 season versus Holton earlier in the day in the same facility and a rocket football contest will be part of the FSU halftime events.

The Bulldogs, who will play an 11-game regular-season schedule, open GLIAC action the following Saturday, Sept. 5, at home versus the Ashland Eagles with kickoff also set for 7 p.m. (EDT). The game will be part of the area's annual Riverdays Festival with the traditional Fireworks Night festivities taking place following the contest.

Ferris State registered its fifth winning season in the last six years with a 6-5 overall record in 2008. It represented the program's ninth winning campaign in 14 years under Pierce and marked 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 during the '08 campaign, which represented the program's 100th season of varsity competition.

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