Visser Honored As Nation's Top Scholar-Athlete

GLIAC Commissioner Dell Robinson, Jake Visser, Carma Burcham and Tom Kirinovic are shown at Saturday's presentation (Photo by Sandy Gholston)
GLIAC Commissioner Dell Robinson, Jake Visser, Carma Burcham and Tom Kirinovic are shown at Saturday's presentation (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University Athletics Department and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) officially honored Bulldog football alum Jake Visser on Saturday (Feb. 6) for being chosen as the 2008-09 National "Scholar-Athlete of the Year".

Visser was recognized at halftime of FSU's men's basketball victory over defending NCAA Division II National Champion Findlay inside Jim Wink Arena. 

FSU Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic and Coordinator of Records & NCAA Carma Burcham were on hand for the awards presentation along with Commissioner Dell Robinson of the GLIAC, who presented the Coopersville native with a plaque commemorating his accomplishment.

"This award is really great and mean's a lot to me," Visser said. "You put a lot of work into being able to earn something like this and a big part of winning something like this is we have a great support system at Ferris.

"It's really nice to get these kinds of awards to accept not just on my behalf, but also for Ferris State University and for the GLIAC."

Visser earned the honor as the national male recipient of the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (CCA) award last fall for the 2008-09 school year.  His recognition marked the second time in the last three years the FSU football program has had a student-athlete chosen as the National "Scholar-Athlete of the Year" at the NCAA Division II level regardless of sport.

The award is presented by Disney’s Wide World of Sports and the DII Conference Commissioners’ Association and it is one of the nation's most prestigious honors which combines athletics and academic excellence.

"This is a wonderful honor for Jake, our program and the university as he was selected over regional winners, from all sports, from throughout the entire country," said Kirinovic. "He is a very deserving individual of this prestigious recognition."

Visser previously was honored as the male recipient of the GLIAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for the 2008-09 athletics season and was also chosen as the Midwest Region winner of the Division II award before advancing to the national ballot.  He joined former linebacker Mike Klobucher, who was recognized as the recipient of the same honor for the 2006-07 season,as the second Bulldog football player in the past three years to receive one of the highest forms of recognition in collegiate athletics.

Additionally, Visser also became only the third student-athlete from a GLIAC-member school to receive the honor in the 10-year history of the award, joining Klobucher and former Lake Superior State women's basketball player Alice Duesing.

"This is an extraordinary accomplishment for Jake, Ferris State University and the entire Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference," said Robinson.

The 6-2 Visser signed a priority free agent contract and took part in training camp last summer with the National Football League's (NFL) Houston Texans. A 2009 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Postgraduate Scholarship winner, Visser was also honored as the school's Dean Davenport "Bulldog of the Year" Award recipient for the second-straight season and chosen for membership in the National Football Foundation's (NFF) prestigious Hampshire Honor Society.  He was a three-time All-GLIAC honoree and earned both first team All-America and Academic All-America plaudits during his FSU playing career.