FOOTBALL: Zollie Kaplan named finalist for D-II lineman of the year award

Nov. 23—MANHEIM, Pa. — Bemidji State football's most dangerous pass rusher is up for one of the biggest awards in the country.

Zollie Kaplan is a finalist for the prestigious Gene Upshaw Award, which recognizes Division II's Senior Lineman of the Year. Kaplan is one of nine offensive and defensive linemen to be considered for the award.

The award is voted on by the nation's Division II sports information directors. All nominees must be seniors or graduate players/transfers.

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Kaplan was an All-NSIC First Team selection this year after helping the Beavers to a share of the conference's championship. He's currently third in Division II with 14.5 sacks this season and tied for seventh with 20.5 tackles for loss.

Kaplan has also totaled 26.0 sacks in his career, which is 0.5 sacks shy of tying Jay Hanson for the most in program history.

The other finalists for the award are: defensive end D.J. Adediwura of Slippery Rock; offensive tackle Joey Fisher of Shepherd; offensive tackle Nicolas Melsop of Delta State; offensive guard Dalton Simpler of West Florida; offensive tackle Quinton Barrow of Grand Valley State; defensive end Elijah Green of Northwest Missouri State; defensive end Caleb Murphy of Ferris State; and offensive center Matt Armendariz of Colorado School of Mines.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 5. The winner will also receive an invitation to participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas.