Dec. 19, 2008
ROME, Ga. – Carroll (Mont.) College senior linebacker Owen Koeppen has been honored as the 2008 Rawlings-NAIA Football Player of the Year, announced tonight (Dec. 19) from Rome, Ga., site of the 53rd Annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship. The announcement was made at the Banquet of Champions held at the Rome Forum. The 6-2, 235 lb., education major becomes the second Carroll athlete to be named to this prestigious honor. Quarterback Tyler Emmert, who engineered two of the five national title runs, won the award in 2003 and 2005.
“I want to thank my family, coaches and teammates for supporting me,” said Koeppen. “It is great for them being here and being a part of me and my football career.”
On the year, he stands with a team-leading 105 total tackles (73 solo), his third straight year of over 100 stops. He has 9.0 sacks, 13.5 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and three passes defended. Earlier this week, he was named to the 2008 AFCA-NAIA All-America Team. He was just one of two players to repeat as an All-American, being named back in 2007.
The Florence, Mont., native ranks 25th in the country in sacks per game (0.700). He is an integral part of a Saints defense to rank fourth nationally in rushing defense (75.3 yapg) and fifth in scoring defense (14.1 papg).
Owen is the ninth player to receive the NAIA Player of the Year honor since the award was first presented in 1997. He becomes just the second player on the defensive side of the ball joining 2006 recipient Brian Kurtz of St. Francis (Ind.), who also was a linebacker.
No. 1 Carroll battles with No. 2 Sioux Falls (S.D.) in the National Championship tomorrow (Dec. 20) from Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga. Kick-off is set for 12 p.m. EST with the game televised live on CBS College Sports Television.
Rawlings-NAIA Players of the Year:
1997 – Bo Hurley, Findlay (Ohio)
1998 – Jack Williams, Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
1999 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.)
2000 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.)
2001 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.)
2002 – Nick Kortan, Sioux Falls (S.D.)
2003 – Tyler Emmert, Carroll (Mont.)
2004 – Cory Jacquay, St. Francis (Ind.)
2005 – Tyler Emmert, Carroll (Mont.)
2006 – Brian Kurtz, St. Francis (Ind.)
2007 – Chad Cavender, Sioux Falls (S.D.)
2008 – Owen Koeppen, Carroll (Mont.)