On Monday (Nov. 19) afternoon, Ashland University senior defensive end James Prater Jr. was announced as a finalist for the 2018 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award.
Last week, Prater Jr. was named the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year. This past season, he was second in the GLIAC in sacks (9½) and tied for third in tackles for loss (15), and finished runner-up on the team with 65 total tackles (27 solo). He also broke up four passes.
Prater Jr. is Ashland's all-time leader in tackles for loss (46), and is tied for ninth all-time on the Eagles' sack list (22½). In his final two seasons alone, Prater Jr. racked up 19½ sacks, 38½ tackles for loss, 128 total stops and 12 pass breakups.
The 2018 Gene Upshaw Award winner will be announced on Nov. 28. The award is presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club and voted on by the nation's NCAA Division II sports information directors. Two finalists advance from each of the four NCAA Division II super regions – Prater Jr. advanced to the finals from Super Region 3.
The award recipient has an invitation to participate in front of professional scouts and coaches at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Jan. 19 in St. Petersburg, Fla., and televised on NFL Network. The winner also will be recognized at the Manheim Touchdown Club's annual banquet in May.