Ferris State’s Edwards Wins Gene Upshaw Award

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State senior defensive end Austin Edwards was named the recipient of the 2019 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award on Wednesday.

Presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club, the awarded is presented yearly to the most outstanding NCAA Division II senior offensive or defensive lineman in the country.

“The only thing that exceeds Austin’s performance of the field is his attitude off of it – that includes his work ethic and humility,” Ferris State head coach Tony Annese said in a statement. “He cares about every one of his teammates. Austin has been such a great leader on our defensive line and his development over the past four years has played a key role in our continued and sustained success. He’s a dominating player at the line of scrimmage and really has played a big role in the success of our defense this year. We’re fortunate to have not only a great player, but such a great person as one of our team captains and leaders.”

With 49 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss, Edwards became the first defensive player this year to be honored as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year Award since 2005. As the recipient of the Gene Upshaw Award, Edwards also receives an automatic invitation to the East/West Shrine Game on Saturday, Jan. 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“We had a group of extremely talented finalists this year,” Gene Upshaw Award coordinator Zech Hess said in a release. “Austin’s production and dominance for a winning program like Ferris State clearly set him apart to the voters. We congratulate Austin and wish him the best of luck in the NCAA playoffs and as he pursues the next level of football.”

The award is named in honor of former Texas A&M Kingsville and NFL All-Pro offensive lineman Gene Upshaw. A 1987 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Upshaw spent 25 years as the executive director of the NFL Players Association until his death in 2008.

Edwards, who is the 16th recipient of the award, will receive the trophy at the Manheim Touchdown Club’s annual banquet in May.

Categories: Football