By Monday afternoon, Jason Vander Laan’s phone and social media accounts had tapered off to a manageable roar. Ferris State’s record-setting quarterback could almost get back to football and school and unfinished business.
Vander Laan is well known already — All-American, Harlon Hill Trophy recipient, NCAA Scholar-Athlete. But his profile elevated several notches last weekend when he became the career leader for rushing yards by a quarterback, in all divisions. That earned him a shoutout from the ESPN Gameday crew and a subsequent interview on SportsCenter, along with various regional and national mentions.
“Sunday was definitely the biggest day, with Twitter and Facebook and other things,” Vander Laan said Monday. “Stuff was blowing up all day. It was hard to just relax. But it’s calmed down a little bit now.”
Vander Laan’s 161 rushing yards in a win against Ohio Dominican last Saturday gave him 5,218 for his career, breaking the record held by Wofford’s Shawn Graves (5,128) from 1989-92.
He figures to add to his total as the unbeaten Bulldogs (6-0), ranked fourth in this week’s Division II coaches’ poll, host No. 17 Michigan Tech (5-1) Saturday at noon in Big Rapids, Mich.
Vander Laan, a four-year starter, is the conductor of an offense that’s fourth nationally in scoring (45.3 ppg), third in total yards (543.5 ypg) and ninth in rushing (278 ypg). He is fifth nationally in total offense, averaging 388.2 yards per game. He has accounted for 25 touchdowns, rushing and passing.
“He’s incredible to coach,” Ferris State coach Tony Annese said. “He’s a gift; he really is the perfect kid to coach. He’s never concerned with himself. It’s always about the team. He sets the record on Saturday and Sunday we’re in film session, and he graded poorly in a couple areas. You tell him about it, he just takes it all in. He’s always focused on trying to get better.”
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