Morningside (Iowa) QB Trent Solsma named National Player of the Year

Morningside (Iowa) QB Trent Solsma named National Player of the Year

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Morningside (Iowa) quarterback Trent Solsma has been named the 2018 NAIA National Football Player of the Year, announced Friday evening as part of the NAIA Championship banquet. The event was held at Ocean Center, the banquet site for the 63rd annual NAIA Football National Championship.

Solsma has had a prolific career for the Mustangs, setting school career and season records in passing yards, total offensive yards and touchdown passes. This season has been Solsma’s best as he’s guided the Mustangs to a 14-0 record, a No. 1-ranking and its second appearance in the NAIA Football National Championship. Solsma has thrown for 5,097 yards, 68 touchdowns and just six interceptions during his senior season. He has completed 72.6 percent of his passes (366-504) and averages 364.2 yards per game, posting an efficiency rating of 199.7.

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Needless to say, the senior from Dakota Dunes, S.D., ranks atop the NAIA leaderboards in all those areas this season.

On Thursday, when asked about how he reflects on his record-setting and award-winning career, Solsma deferred to his teammates:

“I’m just most proud that we’re finally here, getting a chance to play for a national title,” Solsma said. “I’ve always been a team-oriented guy. A lot of people ask me about personal accolades, but it’s always been a team-first thing for me, and this has been our goal since I’ve been here.

“It’s been Daytona Beach or bust, and now here we are, at Daytona Beach, with a chance at a national title, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”

Solsma enters the national championship game with 13,739 career passing yards and 161 passing touchdowns. He holds the NAIA record for career passing touchdowns. Earlier this week, Solsma was named a 2018 AP All-American, AFCA All-American and an NAIA All-American, and he has been the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Offensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons.

Solsma was also named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his service to the community and is a cancer survivor.

Solsma becomes the third Morningside player to win the award in the past six seasons. In 2013, receiver Kyle Schuck won the award; in 2015, quarterback Ryan Kasdorf took home the honor. 

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 has been 19 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 63rd annual NAIA Football National Championship is scheduled for Saturday, December 15 at 6 p.m. EST in Daytona Beach, Fla., broadcast live on ESPN3. The City of Daytona Beach hosts the event at Daytona Stadium for the fifth-straight season. For fan and visitor information, including ticket details, click here.

2018 NAIA National Player of the Year Nominees

QB Jacob Bakken, Rocky Mountain (Mont.) – Frontier Conference

QB Sam Castronova, Bethel (Tenn.) – Mid-South Conference Bluegrass

LB Caleb Coe, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) – Mid States Football Association-Midwest

RB Joe Connor, Concordia (Mich.) – Mid States Football Association-Mideast

QB Hilton Joseph, Waldorf (Iowa) – North Star Athletic Association

QB Jaylen Lowe, Langston (Okla.) – Sooner Athletic Conference

DL Andreas Moeller, Evangel (Mo.) – Heart of America Conference South

RB Demarco Prewitt, Kansas Wesleyan – Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference

QB Shaefer Schuetz, Benedictine (Kan.) – Heart of America Conference North

RB Milton Shelton, Cumberlands (Ky.) – Mid-South Conference Appalachian

QB Trent Solsma, Morningside (Iowa) – Great Plains Athletic Conference

QB Will Tate, Ave Maria (Fla.) – Mid-South Conference Sun

Championship Information

NAIA Football Championship

November 23, 30, Dec. 7, 2019
Football Championship Series
Campus Sites

December 21, 2019
Eddie G. Robinson Stadium
Ruston, La.