Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University senior kicker Wyatt Ford (Montague) has officially been chosen as a national finalist for the 2017 Fred Mitchell Award presented to the nation's most outstanding kicker. It marks the second consecutive year in which Ford has been among the nation's finalists for the prestigious honor.
The announcement was made by the Fred Mitchell Award Committee and the award is presented to the top placekicker on the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, NAIA and NJCAA level who excels on and off the football field.
This year's award recipient will be named on Dec. 11.
Ford, who was named to the Fred Mitchell Award Watch List Of Excellence for his performance in both September and October of this season, is among only six Division II kickers on the list of 13 national finalists and the only placekicker from a GLIAC school.
The 13 national finalists hail from schools in eight different states and the list includes four seniors, six juniors and three sophomores. A total of six are from FCS schools with one from Division III in addition to the six from D2 institutions.
Nominations for the award are submitted by sports information directors across the country and evaluated by a Blue-Ribbon Awards Committee. The award is named for Fred Mitchell, who was a record-setting place-kicker and Hall of Famer at Wittenberg University, who also was a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
Ford was nearly perfect during the 2017 campaign as he has converted all 51 of his 51 PAT tries and made 11-of-14 (79%) field goals for the Bulldogs. He converted two field goals and accounted for eight points while making the go-ahead extra point with 15 seconds remaining in FSU's thrilling 28-27 rivalry win over Grand Valley State on Oct. 21 at Top Taggart Field. He also ranked as the team's leading scorer with 84 total points this year and was among the top placekickers in the country. Ford garnered All-GLIAC recognition and was the GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week this year.
A four-year letterwinner, Ford served as FSU's primary placekicker each of the last two years after serving as the Bulldogs' kickoff specialist at various times the previous two campaigns. He was a member of the Bulldogs' back-to-back GLIAC Championship squads in both 2014 and 2015 and helped FSU to back-to-back national quarterfinal appearances his final two years, including a semifinal run in 2016.
Besides being an award finalist, Ford was also recognized as a CoSIDA Division II Academic All-District honoree for his efforts both on the field and in the classroom during his collegiate career along with being a three-time GLIAC All-Academic Team selection.
During his FSU career, Ford has also joined the football squad in a wide range of community service projects including the annual "Big Event" city-wide cleanup effort, helping incoming freshman move into campus residence halls as part of "Bulldogs In Action" and reading to children in classrooms during "March Is Reading" month. Last weekend, the Bulldogs also welcomed a young wheelchair-bound individuals during the "Coaches To Cure MD" initiative.
Ferris State finished the 2017 season with an 11-2 overall record. FSU's 11 wins this season marks the fourth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs have achieved the feat, which represents the first time in school history in which FSU has done so over four-straight years.
This fall, the Bulldogs also made their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs and reached the national quarterfinal round for the second-straight year after making a D2 National Semifinal appearance last season.