SouthtownStar Athletes on Campus: Ferris State’s Jason Vander Laan wins grid honor
By Mike Walsh For Sun-Times Media November 30, 2012 10:12PM
Jason Vander Laan, Chicago Christian graduate and Ferris State quarterback. | Supplied photo
Updated: January 3, 2013 6:28AM
Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan recently was chosen the Freshman of the Year in football by the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the 2012 season.
The Frankfort resident directed the Bulldogs to their second season with seven or more victories in the last decade, which included Ferris State’s first win over rival Grand Valley State since 1999, 40-24 on Oct. 6, and the program’s first victory over divisional opponent Michigan Tech in 10 years 56-49 on Oct. 20.
Vander Laan, who prepped at Chicago Christian, established a GLIAC single-season record for rushing yardage by a quarterback as he ran for a Ferris State rookie record 1,338 yards on 247 carries and 16 touchdowns.
Vander Laan’s team-high rushing total helped the Bulldogs rank among the nation’s top 10 teams in both rushing offense and total offense as Ferris State shattered a school record with 3,364 yards on the ground and averaged 473 yards per game of total offense. He was 133-of-231 passing for 1,493 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Ferris State led the GLIAC in rushing and was second in total offense while facing one of the nation’s toughest schedules, according to the Massey Ratings.
Vander Laan, who redshirted last season, finished third in the GLIAC in rushing (121.6 ypg), fourth in total offense (257.4 ypg), sixth in scoring (9.1 ppg) and eighth in passing (135.7 ypg). He was 17th nationally in Division II in rushing yardage.
Vander Laan wasn’t the only Southland resident on Ferris State’s football team who was honored by the GLIAC for his efforts this season.
Senior defensive end Jordan Morgan, a Mount Carmel alum, led the league in sacks with 10½ for 46 yards in losses on the season. He also ranked second on the Bulldogs in tackles for loss with 14, for 52 yards.
Morgan added two forced fumbles, two quarterback hurries, a blocked kick and a fumble recovery while making 65 total tackles, including 35 solos. He wrapped up his career as the school record-holder in blocked kicks and finished third in total sacks.
Ferris State was 7-4 on the season, marking the second time in the past decade the Bulldogs have reached seven or more victories in a campaign.
Top of the charts
University of St. Francis senior Dana Wettergren (Oak Forest) was honored as the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s Libero of the Year in women’s volleyball.
Wettergren, who also was named to the All-CCAC First Team, ranked fourth in the conference in digs per set (4.9) and second in service aces per set (0.4). She also ranked eighth in the NAIA in total digs with 783. The Oak Forest resident also had a .964 success rate as a passer with 713 accurate passes and 27 errors.
The Saints finished the season 37-9, 18-1 in the CCAC. St. Francis won both the CCAC regular-season and tournament championships. The 2012 campaign marked the first time since 1999 the Saints captured both the CCAC regular-season and tournament titles in the same year.