Courtesy of Ferris State Athletic Communications
GLIAC -- Ferris State University senior quarterback Travis Russell (Grand Rapids/West Catholic) has been chosen as the 2019 recipient of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) Jack H. McAvoy Award, which is presented annually to a GLIAC football player who best combines outstanding character and leadership on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
The award is named for former Hillsdale College director of athletics and head football coach, Jack McAvoy, who was instrumental in the founding of the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC), now known as the GLIAC.
Russell becomes the fifth Ferris State player to claim the coveted award and the first since former standout defensive tackle Jake Visser in 2008. FSU's five total honorees also include linebacker Mike Klobucher (2006) along with tailbacks Mo Harris (1999) and Chris Pulliams (1996). The five award recipients are the most of any school in the conference since the award was established in 1996 when Pulliams was selected.
Russell has been a leader for the Bulldogs both on and off the field throughout his collegiate career. A four-year letter winner, Russell returned for his senior campaign this fall after earning his FSU degree last spring. The four-time GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team honoree has helped FSU to a 60-7 mark in his five seasons in the program and is 11-1 as a starting quarterback for the Bulldogs.
“Travis is extremely deserving of this award and has been an outstanding representative of our program both on and off the field throughout his collegiate career,” said FSU head coach Tony Annese. “He’s as good of a person as there is in college football and returned for his senior year this fall after graduating because he cared so much and wanted to be around his teammates one more year. We’re elated to see him recognized as this year’s Jack McAvoy Award recipient and he’s a very deserving person.”
The standout student-athlete graduated from Ferris State with a 3.73 grade point average in marketing sales with a finance minor and was the NCAA's Elite 90 Award recipient a year ago for holding the highest grade point average in the national championship game. Off the field, he's also been a member of the Newman Center catholic outreach group, active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and participated in "March Is Reading Month" at local elementary schools the past four years in addition to his other civic activities.
Russell's also assisted with "Angels In Action" serving children who are hungry and took part in two different spring break mission trips to South Carolina to serve people whose homes had been destroyed due to hurricanes in 2017 and 2018. Russell is a two-time nominee for the AFCA Good Works Team and was also a candidate for the 2019 Campbell Trophy awarded to the nation's top scholar athlete.
This week, Russell and the Bulldogs will host Central Missouri in the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs on Saturday (Nov. 30) at Top Taggart Field. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (ET). Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at StarTickets.com or call (231) 591-2888 for additional information or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.