WMU News

Babin named MAC Defensive Player of the Year

Dec. 3, 2003

KALAMAZOO--In an announcement that comes as no surprise to anyone who saw him play this football season, Jason Babin of Western Michigan University has been chosen Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the second time.

Babin becomes just the seventh player in the league's 57-year history to earn the top defensive award in back-to-back seasons. He joins Bob Rowe (1965-66) as the only Broncos to achieve the feat. Other WMU recipients include Sean Mulhearn (1990), Mark Garalczyk (1986) and John Offerdahl (1985).

"In my years of coaching, I have never seen anyone stand out as a premier player like Jason did this
year," said WMU head coach Gary Darnell. "Jason was really a force in two ways, matching his high talent level with an outstanding level of effort."

Babin actually exceeded his All-America numbers from last season, finishing as the Broncos' top tackler (115) in 2003. The 6-4, 276-pound defensive end leads the nation in tackles for loss (2.75 per game) and ranks second in pass sacks (1.25 per game). Babin also paces the MAC with 33 tackles-for-losses and 15 sacks.

Babin's 2003 campaign featured many highlights. He recorded four or more TFLs five times, reached double-figure tackles five times, recorded three sacks against Ohio and four sacks versus Central Michigan. Against Connecticut, Babin generated five quarterback hurries. On more than one occasion, Babin used his 4.55 speed in the 40 to chase down running backs in the open field.

Babin proved to be a durable and versatile performer as well, taking part in 80 or more plays in six
games. He worked on three special team units (punt coverage, punt returns and "hands" kickoff return) and was a blocking back in the power-I formation.

A senior criminal justice major from Paw Paw, Mich., Babin compiled 299 tackles (202 solos), 75 TFLs, 38 sacks and eight forced fumbles in 47 career games. His TFL and sack totals are school records, and his 75 TFLs ranks second in MAC history.

As a result of his outstanding season, Babin has received invitations to attend the East-West Shrine
Game, Jan. 10, in San Francisco, the Hula Bowl Maui, Jan. 17, in Hawaii and the Senior Bowl, Jan. 24, in Mobile, Ala.

Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 269 387-4138, daniel.jankowski@wmich.edu

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