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Rawlings-NAIA National Football Player of the Year Announced

December 18, 2015
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By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Morningside senior quarterback Ryan Kasdorf has been named the 2015 Rawlings-NAIA National Football Player of the Year, announced Friday night as part of the NAIA Banquet of Champions. The event was held at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, site of the 60th annual NAIA Football National Championship.

“I want to thank all my teammates,” said Kasdorf. “This is truly a team award. It’s an honor and a privilege to win this.”

Kasdorf is the second student-athlete from Morningside to win the award, joining former teammate Kyle Schuck, who won the award in 2013. He is the 11th quarterback to receive the honor since its establishment in 1997.

The Newhall, Calif., native led the Mustangs to a 12-2 record, including a 9-0 mark in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), en route to a fifth-consecutive league title and fourth-straight appearance in the NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS) semifinals. Morningside, which owns the NAIA’s longest active playoff appearance streak at 12-straight, lost to Southern Oregon, 30-27, in the round of four on Dec. 5.

Kasdorf, a three-time All-GPAC First Team award winner and the 2015 conference player of the year, led the NAIA in pass efficiency (191.1), total offense (4,359) and total passing (3,953). He threw for more than 300 yards five times this season, including a season-best 459 yards against Doane (Neb.) on Nov. 14. Kasdorf completed 64.7 percent (242-for-374) of his throws with 45 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He tossed at least two touchdown passes in 11-of-13 starts this season.

A three-year starter, Kasdorf threw for 10.932 yards – second highest total in program history – and 121 touchdowns, while also running for 1,315 yards and 14 scores. He guided the Mustangs to a 33-6 record, including a 6-3 mark in the FCS, during his tenure with the club.

Kasdorf is the third award winner in the last four seasons from a team not participating in the NAIA Football National Championship. Eddie Eviston of Georgetown (Ky.), who claimed three-straight awards from 1999 – 2001, and Tyler Emmert of Carroll (Mont.) are the only repeat winners. Emmert received the honor in 2003 and 2005. Overall, there have been 16 offensive and two defensive players named to this exclusive club. Carroll linebacker Owen Koeppen (2008) was the last defensive player to win the award.

The 60th annual NAIA Football National Championship, presented by Waste Pro, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Marian (Ind.) and Southern Oregon are appearing in the contest for the second-straight year, which is the first time that the same two teams have met in back-to-back championship games since Carroll (Mont.) and former member Sioux Falls (S.D.) in 2007 and 2008. The City of Daytona Beach is serving as the host for the contest, which will be delivered nationally on ESPN3 at 6 p.m. EST. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST.

2015 Rawlings-NAIA National Football Player of the Year Nominees
Central States Football League – D’Vonn Brown, SAGU (Texas) (DL)
Frontier Conference – Nolan Saraceni, Montana Tech (RB)
Heart of America Athletic Conference – Mike Erpelding, Grand View (Iowa) (DL)
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference – Jake Curran, Kansas Wesleyan (QB)
Mid-South Conference East Division – Aaron Cooper, Kentucky Christian (LB)
Mid-South Conference West Division – Jacob Russell, Campbellsville (Ky.) (QB)
Mid-States Football Association Mideast League – Nick Ferrer, Saint Francis (Ind.) (QB)
Mid-States Football Association Midwest League – Tim Smith, St. Francis (Ill.) (DL)
North Star Athletic Association – Tray Boone, Dickinson State (N.D.) (RB)
The Sun Conference – Charles Fortis, Point (Ga.) (QB)

All-Time Rawlings-NAIA Player of the Year Award Winners
1997 – Bo Hurley, Findlay (Ohio), QB
1998 – Jack Williams, Azusa Pacific (Calif.), RB
1999 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.), QB
2000 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.), QB
2001 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.), QB
2002 – Nick Kortan, Sioux Falls (S.D.), RB
2003 – Tyler Emmert, Carroll (Mont.), QB
2004 – Cory Jacquay, Saint Francis (Ind.), RB
2005 – Tyler Emmert, Carroll (Mont.), QB
2006 – Brian Kurtz, Saint Francis (Ind.), LB
2007 – Chad Cavender, Sioux Falls (S.D.), QB
2008 – Owen Koeppen, Carroll (Mont.), LB
2009 – Lorenzo Brown, Sioux Falls (S.D.), QB
2010 – Jon Ryan, Sioux Falls (S.D.), WR
2011 – Chance Demarais, Carroll (Mont.), RB
2012 – Jimmy Coy, Saint Xavier (Ill.), QB
2013 – Kyle Schuck, Morningside (Iowa), WR
2014 – Austin Dodge, Southern Oregon, QB
2015 – Ryan Kasdorf, Morningside (Iowa), QB

Championship Information

NAIA Football Championship
Sports Rules - Football