Day named finalist for Upshaw Award for nation’s best lineman

From Sports Information

Carson-Newman All-SAC center Kevin Day (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.) can add another tally to a long list of postseason accomplishments.  Day has been named a finalist for the Upshaw Award for Division II’s best lineman as selected by DII sports information directors. 

“It’s great to be considered and to be mentioned with all those other guys,” Day said. “There are a lot of talented players in the Division II world.  It’s a pretty big honor.  I’m humbled and excited about it.”

Day and Valdosta State’s Ryan Schraeder are the two finalists from Super Region II.  They both take to the field as opponents in Saturday’s DII quarterfinal.

With Day as center this season, the Eagles lead Division II in rushing with 380 yards/game.  The tally is the best among all divisions, save for the FCS, where Georgia Southern can boast a 391 yards a game average.  However, the Eagles do lead all divisions in rushing touchdowns scored with 50. 

Day, who is generously listed at 6-0, 270 pounds, said the Eagles have done this despite being undersized up front.

“It shows a lot about how good our coaches are,” Day said. “We’ve accepted the fact that we’re never going to have the inches, pounds or have the split-seconds over anyone else.  Yet our coaches continue to put us in a position to be successful, it’s just up to us to execute.  To put guys that aren’t exactly running 4.3s or 4.4s in positions to score is a tribute to just how good they are.”

Day has helped to lead an offensive line that has started the same five players (Alex Taylor, Robby Ignagni, Day, Lucas Mathis and Sherrod Mitchell) in every game except the opener against Glenville State. 

“They are animals out there,” Day said. “They are big, fast and strong, but everyone we go against is usually bigger, faster and stronger.  It helps me a lot knowing I have Luscas and Robbie beside me, and then Alex and Sherrod out there on the tackles.  Believe it or not, even the tackles make it easier on me.  I don’t know if I make their jobs any easier, but they make my life a lot easier.”  

The winner of the Upshaw Awards will be announced Dec. 17.  The winner of the award receives a guaranteed opportunity to play in the East/West Shrine Game, which is one of the top college football all-star games and is held on Jan. 19, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.