December 14, 2007
By NAIA National Office
Dec. 14, 2007
HARDIN COUNTY (SAVANNAH), Tenn. - University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) Chad Cavender has been named the 2007 Rawlings-NAIA Football Player of the Year, announced today (Dec. 14) from Savannah, Tenn., site of the NAIA National Championship. Cavender is the second Cougar to win the award, following 2002 recipient Nick Kortan.
A 6-0, 185-pound senior quarterback from Redding, Calif., Cavender is 27-0 in his career as a starter. This season, Cavender is 238-for-349 passing (68.2 %) with 26 touchdowns and 3,293 yards. He is a threat on the ground finding the end zone eight times and posting 196 rushing yards (2.4 yards/carry). In national rankings, he is fourth in passing efficiency (163.8), ninth in total offense/game (262.8 yards) and 11th in passing yards/game (249.7 yards).
In perhaps one of the biggest games of his career, Cavender engineered the game-winning drive in the Cougars' semifinal win against Missouri Valley (Dec. 2). Starting from his own 1-yard line with just over three minutes remaining, Cavender went on to complete 8-of-13 passes on the drive for 80 yards. He rushed for the other 19 yards, including a 14-yard scramble on fourth-and-12 from the Missouri Valley 20-yard line. The Cougars, who have been ranked No. 1 in all 11 polls this season, defeated MVC 11-10.
A 2007 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America pick, Cavender transferred at the end of his sophomore season from Shasta Junior College in Shasta, Calif.
Cavender is the eighth player to receive the NAIA Player of the Year honor since the award was first presented in 1997. Two players - Eddie Eviston of Georgetown (Ky.) and Tyler Emmert of Carroll (Mont.) - are the only players to receive the honor in multiple seasons. Emmert grabbed the award in 2003 and 2005, while Eviston earned three straight honors between 1999 and 2001.
No. 1 Sioux Falls (13-0) takes on No. 2 Carroll (Mont.) (14-0) in the 52nd Annual NAIA National Championship from Jim Carroll Stadium tomorrow (Dec. 15). Kick-off is set for 12:05 p.m. CST with the game televised live on CSTV.
NAIA Players of the Year:
2007 - Chad Cavender, Sioux Falls (S.D.)
2006 - Brian Kurtz, St. Francis (Ind.)
2005 - Tyler Emmert, Carroll (Mont.)
2004 - Cory Jacquay, St. Francis (Ind.)
2003 - Tyler Emmert, Carroll (Mont.)
2002 - Nick Kortan, Sioux Falls (S.D.)
2001 - Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.)
2000 - Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.)
1999 - Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.)
1998 - Jack Williams, Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
1997 - Bo Hurley, Findlay (Ohio)