Big Rapids, Mich. - A pair of Ferris State University standout All-America student-athletes have been named the recipients of the Dean Davenport "Bulldog of the Year" Award as junior quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit/Cass Tech) of the national runner-up football squad and junior outside hitter Allyson Cappel (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) of the championship women's volleyball program were tabbed as the 2018-19 award winners.
They were selected in voting conducted by the Bulldog head coaches and selected FSU Athletics Department staff members.
Both individuals were recognized as the school's top male and female student-athletes, respectively, for their accomplishments this past season. In 2018-19, both Campbell and Cappel claimed All-America accolades while leading their respective teams to championship success. The 2018 Harlon Hill Trophy winner as the nation's top football player, Campbell earned the distinction for the first time while Cappel repeated as the female award recipient, becoming only the 11th student-athlete in school history to receive the honor multiple times.
"Jayru Campbell and Allyson Cappel are outstanding choices as the Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year Award recipients this year and both are extremely deserving," said FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger. "They both were outstanding representatives of their respective programs, our department and the university.
"Allyson had a decorated fall season by being chosen as an All-American and the conference player of the year while leading our volleyball program to both its fifth consecutive GLIAC regular-season and tournament championships," he added. "Meanwhile, Jayru ranked as the top Division II football player in the country by receiving the Harlon Hill Trophy and led an outstanding team to the national championship game while tying for the most wins in the history of D2 football. We congratulate them on earning the prestigious Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year Awards."
The Dean Davenport "Bulldog of the Year" Award, which was reinstated in the 2002-03 season following a seven-year absence, is presented annually to the most outstanding Ferris State male and female student-athlete. Award criteria consists of strong athletic achievements (must be a letterwinner and achieve outstanding athletic accomplishment), strong individual character and leadership achievement.
The award was renamed in honor of former Ferris State Athletics Director Dean Davenport, who served in the position from 1979-93. During his tenure at Ferris, Davenport was instrumental in the planning of the FSU Sports Complex, the growth of women's intercollegiate athletics, the emergence of Ferris' NCAA Division I men's ice hockey program and the development of the athletics scholarship program. He also led the athletics department to 14 consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President's Cup Championships. Davenport also played a key role in helping found many of the department's key major annual awards.
Campbell's selection marks the 15th time a Bulldog football player has been honored as a winner of the Dean Davenport "Bulldog of the Year" Award. He's the first football honoree since former two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winning quarterback Jason Vander Laan claimed the honor in both 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Meanwhile, Cappel is among 16 volleyball participants to claim the honor and it represents the fourth consecutive year in which a volleyball student-athlete has been awarded the distinction, following in the footsteps of former Bulldog All-Americans Megan Vander Meer and Stephanie Sikorski in 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively, before she won the award for the first time last year.
The other student-athlete nominee finalists for the 2018-19 Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year Award were Cody Stilwell (Track & Field), DeShaun Thrower (Football/Basketball), Carley Dubbert (Women's Soccer), Katie Etelamaki (Track & Field/Cross Country) and Paige Kortz (Softball).
Campbell, who led the Bulldogs to the NCAA Division II National Championship game for the first time in school history last fall under head coach Tony Annese, joined Vander Laan (2014-15) as the second-ever Ferris State athlete to claim the Harlon Hill Trophy as the nation's top player. He also became only the fourth-ever player from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) to win the honor and the third FSU player to claim the honor as the country's most outstanding player in the last five years.
A consensus first-team All-American and the National Offensive Player of the Year, Campbell led Ferris State to a NCAA record-tying 15 victories in 2018. The junior quarterback from Detroit topped all NCAA Division II quarterbacks in rushing with 1,460 yards while throwing for 2,931 with 27 touchdowns. The GLIAC Player of the Year accounted for a national-best 49 touchdowns for the 15-1 Bulldogs. FSU also won both the GLIAC and Super Region Three Championships this year with Campbell at the offensive controls in his first season on the field for the Bulldogs.
Cappel guided the Bulldogs to both a fifth-straight GLIAC Regular Season Championship along with a fifth consecutive GLIAC Tournament title under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm this past fall. She was chosen as the GLIAC Player of the Year for the second-straight season and earned American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America laurels for the third consecutive year, becoming only the second FSU volleyball player in school history to earn AVCA honors three times in her collegiate career.
Cappel tallied a team-leading 417 kills along with 408 digs, 50 blocks and 23 aces as FSU's most versatile weapon. The three-time all-league honoree helped guide FSU to a 27-5 overall record and the Bulldogs went a perfect 16-0 in the GLIAC, which represented their first unblemished mark in league action since 1990. Cappel posted 28 double-figure efforts in kills this season and tallied 10 digs or more in 25 outings. Ferris State made its eighth consecutive NCAA Volleyball Tournament bid while also becoming the first squad in league history to capture five-straight crowns.
The selections of the Dean Davenport "Bulldogs of the Year" wrap up the postseason awards for FSU. Earlier this week, the Bulldogs announced the selections of photographer and supporter Kevin McDermott as the Pete Peterson Pride Award recipient and Bulldog Softball student-athlete Jackie Kirkpatrick as the Jimmy Swears Courage Award winner. In addition, senior captain Carley Dubbert of the women's soccer squad received recognition as the Willie Bouyer Leadership Award recipient.
"We're honored to be able to present these year-end awards and extremely pleased as an athletic department to be able to honor our outstanding student-athletes and people with awards named after individuals who have played such a big part in the history and tradition of Bulldog Athletics," said Weisenburger.
Bulldog of the Year Recipients:
2018-19 - Jayru Campbell (Football) and Allyson Cappel (Volleyball)
2017-18 - Zach Hankins (Men's Basketball) and Allyson Cappel (Volleyball)
2016-17 - Zach Hankins (Men's Basketball) and Stephanie Sikorski (Volleyball)
2015-16 - Jason Vander Laan (Football) and Megan Vander Meer (Volleyball)
2014-15 - Jason Vander Laan (Football) and Samantha Johnson (Women's Track & Field/CC)
2013-14 – CJ Motte (Men's Ice Hockey) and Anna Rudd (Women's Track & Field/CC)
2012-13 – Kyle Bonis (Men's Ice Hockey) and Anna Rudd (Women's Track & Field/CC)
2011-12 – Taylor Nelson (Men's Ice Hockey) and Tina Muir (Women's Track & Field/CC)
2010-11 – Justin Keenan (Men's Basketball) and Tina Muir (Women's Track & Field/CC)
2009-10 – Justin Keenan (Men's Basketball), Eric Lilleboe (Men's Golf), and Tina Muir (Women's Track & Field/CC)
2008-09 – Jake Visser (Football), Mikinzie Stuart (Women's Track & Field/Cross Country)
2007-08 – Jake Visser (Football), Rachel Folcik (Women's Basketball), and Becky Hoffman (Women's Golf)
2006-07 – Mike Klobucher (Football), Rachel Folcik (Women's Basketball), and Kristie Smilanich (Women's Soccer)
2005-06 – Dennis Springs (Men's Basketball), Jenny Irwin (Women's Cross Country and Women's Track & Field)
2004-05 – Carlton Epps (Men's Basketball), Karla Fairbanks (Women's Volleyball)
2003-04 – Derek Fudge (Football), Lucy DeMartin (Women's Basketball)
2002-03 – Chris Kunitz (Men's Ice Hockey), Kathryn Bobbie (Women's Golf)
1995-96 – Bill Love (Football), Theresa Luciow (Softball)
1994-95 – Bill Love (Football), Shelli Gaul (Women's Track & Field)
1993-94 – Ed Philion (Football), Kathy O'Connor (Women's Volleyball & Women's Basketball)
1992-93 – Monty Brown (Football), Jodi Raab (Women's Basketball)
1991-92 – Dan Hutcheson (Wrestling), Monica Ferguson (Women's Cross Country/Track & Field)
1990-91 – John DePourcq (Men's Ice Hockey), Karen Volkers (Women's Volleyball)
1989-90 – Paul Cochran (Men's Track & Field/Football), Karen Volkers (Women's Volleyball)
1988-89 – Jarvis Walker (Men's Basketball), Penny Bailey (Women's Track & Field/Cross Country)
1987-88 – Dave DenBraber (Football), Patty Theis (Women's Volleyball)
1986-87 – Brad Morris (Wrestling), Patty Theis (Women's Volleyball) and Karen Kramer (Women's Basketball)
1985-86 – Scott Kelly (Baseball), Patty Theis (Women's Volleyball)
1984-85 – Paul Jungck (Wrestling), Sharon Sanders (Women's Volleyball)
1983-84 – Terry Schumacher (Wrestling), Leigh Feenstra (Women's Volleyball)
1982-83 – Bruce Faccio (Football), Monta Ware (Women's Basketball) and Linda Spicer (Women's Volleyball)
1981-82 – Tim Smelser (Wrestling), Vicki Williams (Women's Basketball)
1980-81 – Rick Baillergeon (Men's Basketball), Terri Fraser (Women's Volleyball & Women's Basketball)
1979-80 – David Sall (Football), Roxanne Abramouski (Softball)
1978-79 – Tim Herman (Men's Basketball), Sharon Lipinski (Women's Basketball)