Northwest Missouri State junior safety Myles Burnsides (Maryville, Mo.) has been named the Defensive Player of the Year as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). It’s the first All-America award for Burnsides and the first national player of the year award handed out to any Bearcat.
Burnsides leads Northwest (13-1) with six interceptions this season and his 65 tackles rank third. He’s the only Bearcat to register double-digit tackles in a game this year, which he’s accomplished twice. He’s also blocked a kick, forced a fumble and executed a successful fake punt for the Bearcats, who take on Minnesota-Duluth for the national championship this weekend.
In addition to Burnsides, junior running back LaRon Council (Kansas City, Mo.), senior offensive lineman Jeremy Davis (Fort Neches, Texas) and junior defensive lineman Sean Paddock (Bettendorf, Iowa) were first-team picks at their respective positions. Senior wide receiver Kendall Wright (Sulphur Springs, Texas) earned second-team honors as a return specialist.
Northwest’s four first-team choices led the nation. North Alabama and Abilene Christian, which saw their seasons end against the Bearcats this postseason, each had three honorees.
Council enters Saturday’s championship three touchdowns shy of the NCAA’s single-season record. He’s rushed for 1,640 yards this season – good for third in Division II – and scored 36 touchdowns.
Paddock leads the Bearcats with six sacks and 12 tackles-for-loss this season. His 47 tackles ranks sixth on the team. He’s also forced three fumbles, recovered four, blocked a kick and has 11 quarterback hurries.
Wright is Northwest’s leading receiver with 62 catches for 780 yards and five touchdowns this year. He’s averaged nearly 12 yards per punt return and nearly 24 yards on kick returns this season.
Click here for the list of Division II honors .