KINGSVILLE -- ACU senior left tackle Tony Washington has been selected as a national finalist for the 2009 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award.
Washington and Northwest Missouri State offensive guard Brett Grozinger are the two national finalists from Super Region Four. The Super Region Four electorate consisted of NCAA Division II sports information directors from colleges and universities in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, Lone Star Conference and Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
Washington and Grozinger will join the top two selections in the other three Super Region competitions on the eight-player national ballot to determine the sixth annual winner of the Upshaw Award.
The reigning Upshaw Award winner is former Wildcat center Sam Collins, who started an ACU program-record 46 straight games from 2005-08. Collins was the first ACU player to win the award, which is named for the lateTexas A&I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) all-America, who played for the Oakland Raiders and was later enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Upshaw also served as the executive director of the National Football League Players' Association beginning in 1983 until his sudden death in August 2008.
Washington is a two-time first team all-Lone Star Conference selection, and two-time LSC South Division Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was an all-region and all-America selection in 2008 and in line for both of those honors in 2009. he was a pre-season all-America selection by Consensus Draft Services.
Washington has also been invited to play in both the Texas vs. the Nation and East-West Shrine all-star games.
Washington, a 6-7, 305-pound senior from New Orleans, La., was narrowly selected as the top choice over Grozinger, 35-33. Washington was tabbed as the top choice on six of 14 ballots. He grabbed one second place vote and four third place votes.
He helped the Wildcats earn an NCAA Division II playoff berth where they won their first-round match up against Midwestern State before falling in the second round to Northwest Missouri State. He was tabbed as a first team all-american by both Daktronics and d2Football.com last season.
Grozinger, a 6-4, 280-pound senior from Chillicothe, Missouri, helped lead the Bearcats into the quarterfinals of the playoffs where they will take on Central Washington in the Super Region Four championship game on Saturday. He earned first team all-MIAA honors for a team that is second in the nation in scoring and fourth in total offense.
West Texas A&M senior defensive tackle Eugene Sims finished third in this
year’s Upshaw Super Region Four voting with 23 points, while Texas
A&M-Kingsville senior offensive guard Markeith Wesley finished fourth with