Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University senior center Jake Daugherty (Big Rapids) was recently named the runner-up for the 2017 Gene Upshaw Award presented to the nation's most outstanding Division II offensive or defensive lineman presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club.
Daugherty finished the nationwide voting with 216 total points and trailed only Slippery Rock (Pa.) standout Marcus Martin, who finished with 341 points in winning the prestigious honor. The two were among eight national finalists and 44 total nominees from across the country for the honor.
Daugherty received one first-place vote and second-place votes on 25 percent of the ballots. Sports information directors from the football-playing Division II institutions comprised the voters.
A hometown product, Daugherty was the lone candidate from a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) school among the national finalists. He was one of four of the eight finalists to help lead his team to the NCAA Division II Playoffs this season.
The award is named after the late Gene Upshaw, who was not only an All-Pro lineman for the Oakland Raiders, but later served as the executive director of the NFL Players Association for 25 years. Upshaw, a former standout offensive lineman at Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M Kingsville), was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 in his first year of eligibility.
A preseason All-America candidate, Daugherty was a 2016 Gene Upshaw Award nominee as the top lineman in the country and was a two-time All-Super Region honoree as a leader on one of the nation's top offensive lines.
The three-time All-GLIAC pick also claimed GLIAC All-Academic Team recognition three-straight years and has been highly-active in various campus and community activities throughout his time as a member and leader on the FSU football team. He was also a role model to many of the youth in the Big Rapids area thru his endeavors such as reading to schools, teaching the game and more.
This year, Daugherty helped lead the Bulldogs to their fourth consecutive NCAA Division II Playoff appearance. FSU reached the D2 National Quarterfinals for the second consecutive campaign.
Daugherty, a Big Rapids native, was a three-year starter and two-time All-American to date for the Bulldogs who served as a team captain last fall as FSU reached the NCAA Division II National Semifinals for the second time in school history. Earlier this year, he was named to the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team for his efforts on and off the field.
Last year, Daugherty helped the Bulldog offense generate a school-record 563 total points and a program all-time best 7,190 yards of total offense in 2016. As the squad's starting center, he helped pave the way offensively as quarterback Reggie Bell led all signal callers in the country in rushing yardage during the regular-season, marking the fifth-straight year a Bulldog QB had accomplished the feat. Daugherty claimed All-America accolades for the second time in his collegiate career during FSU's historic postseason run.
This season, Daugherty helped the Bulldogs finish the recent 2017 campaign with an 11-2 overall record. FSU's 11 wins this season marked the fourth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs had achieved the feat, which represents the first time in school history in which FSU had done so over four-straight years.
As part of this year's senior class, he also helped the Bulldogs achieve a 45-7 overall record over the past four years with four playoff appearances, two conference championships, two national quarterfinal berths, a semifinal game appearance and a super region championship.