Courtesy of Lakeland University
PLYMOUTH, Wis. -- Lakeland University senior Michael Whitley (Vidalia, La.) has added one more award to a fine career as he has been named an American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NCAA Division III All-American for the 2017 season.
Whitley was named the quarterback on the AFCA All-American second team, the loftiest national honor for a Muskies football player in nearly 30 years. He's the first Lakeland player to receive AFCA All-American honors since Jeff Ogiego was named to the NAIA Division II All-America Second Team as a punter in 1989.
The award adds to a bucketful of honors for Whitley, who also was recently named to the D3football.com all-North Region second team as a quarterback. Whitley was a second team all-region selection behind only Chase Burton of Franklin (Ind.) College, who also was the coaches' first team All-American at quarterback.
Whitley is the 16th Lakeland football player to receive postseason All-America honors and the first since David Benton and Ryan Van De Loo both were named to the D3football.com and Don Hansen's Football Gazette teams in 2005.
He adds to a list of awards this season that includes the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Offensive Player of the Year award, first team all-NACC recognition, plus three times being named the NACC's Offensive Player of the Week. For his career, he also was a three-time NACC Offensive Player of the Year as well as an 11-time NACC Player of the Week, both honors unprecedented in conference history.
Whitley received postseason honors after a superb senior year that ranked among the very best in Division III until an injury late in the year kept him out of Lakeland's final 1 1/2 regular season games and left him hampered in the team's playoff loss to UW-Oshkosh.
He finished the season completing 276 of 430 passes for 3,124 yards and 32 touchdowns, and also rushed for 387 yards and seven touchdowns. Whitley led the NACC in completions, completion percentage (64.2%) and total offense (351.1 ypg) and was second in passing yards and touchdowns. He also tied for third in the conference in rushing TDs.
"Michael had a magical senior season to cap off a terrific four-year career," said Lakeland Head Coach Colin Bruton. "He was our leader and the guy that made everything work on our record-setting offense. Michael has embodied everything you want in a student-athlete, on and off the field. He is truly deserving of any accolade bestowed upon him."
Whitley also is among the Division III leaders in completions/game (5th), total offense (6th), points responsible for per game (6th) and total (8th), passing yards/game (10th), passing touchdowns (10th) and passing yards/game (10th). His completions and total offense totals both also ranked second-best in a season in school history, and he also had the third-most passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season ever for a Muskie. Whitley closed out his Lakeland career second all-time in total offense (10,915), passing yards (9,225), passing touchdowns (91) and completions (731).