Greyhounds honored with GLVC year-end awards as Division II playoffs approach

The UIndy football team recently collected a host of postseason hardware from the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The GLVC-champion Greyhounds garnered four of the five major honors, as well as 26 all-conference nods.

The UIndy football team was one of 28 teams to qualify for the 2017 NCAA Division II Football Championship, marking its fourth postseason bid in the last six years. UIndy will host seventh-seeded Harding University Saturday, Nov. 18, with the kickoff set for 1 p.m. ET at Key Stadium. Ticket info here.

2017 GLVC MAJOR AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Year Freshman of the Year
Jake Purichia, QB, UIndy# Al McKeller, RB, UIndy
Defensive Player of the Year Coach of the Year
Austin Weltha, LB, McKendree Bob Bartolomeo, UIndy
Special Teams Player of the Year
Brad Schickel, K/P, UIndy

See a slideshow here.

Junior quarterback Jake Purichia had a breakout season for the Greyhounds on the way to being voted the 2017 GLVC Offensive Player of the Year. The Indianapolis native and Cardinal Ritter High School grad racked up more than 2,500 passing yards while leading the league in touchdown passes (28) and fewest interceptions (2). He heads into the postseason as the Division II leader in passing efficiency (191.7) and ranks third in the country in yards per attempt (10.3) and fourth in completion percentage (.701).

One of four team captains for the Hounds, Purichia also has six rushing TDs to his credit, tops among GLVC quarterbacks. He is the fourth Greyhound to be named the conference’s top offensive player since the league first began sponsoring football in 2012. He is also the only major award winner to be a unanimous selection.

Additionally, Purichia was named the team’s James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award recipient, and is now eligible to become one of UIndy’s two overall Spalding Sportsmanship Award winners, which will be announced later this school year.

Senior Brad Schickel was dubbed the GLVC Special Teams Player of the Year after showing proficiency as both place kicker and punter. The Louisville, Ky., product connected on 11 of 14 field goal attempts, including a career-long-matching 45 yarder versus Missouri S&T and a game-winning 30-yard try at Wayne State. His season field goal percentage of .786 leads the league, while his career mark of .830 is good for a UIndy record.

Schickel has arguably been an even more dangerous weapon as a punter. He regularly pins opposing offenses deep in their own territory, dropping more than half his punts inside the 20-yard line (19 of 37). UIndy has won Special Teams Player of the Year honors five times in the last six years.

Rookie running back Al McKeller is in the midst of one of the greatest freshman campaigns in program history. A graduate of local Lawrence North High School, McKeller burst on the scene with a 206-yard performance versus then-second-ranked Grand Valley State in the season opener. He has gone on to amass a total of 990 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the year, while his average of 6.7 yards per carry leads all GLVC players with at least 75 rushing attempts. McKeller is the first Greyhound to be tabbed GLVC Freshman of the Year since Derrick Bryant in 2013.

Head Coach Bob Bartolomeo picked up his fourth GLVC Coach of the Year nod. The eighth-year head man led the Hounds to their first undefeated regular season since 1953, while also setting new program marks for wins in a season (11), consecutive wins (15) and highest-ever national ranking (No. 5). The Hounds, who were picked fourth in the GLVC Preseason Poll, also captured their fifth GLVC crown in six years and will be making their fourth NCAA playoff appearance since 2012.

The 2017 All-GLVC list included a grand total of 26 UIndy honorees. The Hounds stockpiled 15 first-team nods, including five of the six unanimous selections in Jake Purichia (QB), Al McKeller (RB), Garrett Willis (WR), Alex Kimack (TE) and Ruben Holcomb (OL). Other All-GLVC First Team honorees included Jordan Bedan (OL), Clay Hadley (OL), Tuwan Payton(O-UT), Jacob Schmatz (DL), Lucas Rice (DL), Cole Sigmund (LB), Aeneas White (DB), Aaron Bruning (D-UT) and Brad Schickel (K & P).

Bedan garnered his fourth all-conference honor, becoming just the sixth-ever Greyhound to be an all-league performer all four years. Meanwhile, Schickel collected first-team honors as both a place kicker and a punter, and Payton was included on the first team at offensive utility while also garnering honorable mention as a kick returner. See below for the complete list of All-GLVC honorees.