Football and Footballer are Ferris Athletes of the Year

BIG RAPIDS — A pair of exceptional student-athletes from Ferris State University who led their respective teams to championship success last year have been named recipients of the Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” award for the track and field season. 2021-22 as Senior Women’s Football All-American Bri Rogers (Livonia) and Senior National Champion Football Quarterback Jared Bernhardt (Lake Brantley, Fla.) earned the prestigious honor.

They were selected in a vote conducted by the Bulldog’s head coaches and some FSU athletic department staff.

Both individuals were recognized as the school’s top female and male student-athletes respectively for their accomplishments over the past season. In 2021-22, both student-athletes earned All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) honors and consensus honors in all regions among their many other accomplishments.

“We are thrilled to honor Jared Bernhardt and Bri Rogers as the 2021-22 Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year award winners,” said FSU Athletic Director Steve Brockelbank. “Both are extremely deserving of this exceptional recognition and led their respective teams to championship seasons last year. We had an exceptional group of nominees overall.”

The Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” award, which was reinstated in the 2002-03 season after a seven-year absence, is awarded annually to Ferris State’s most outstanding male and female student-athlete. The award criteria consist of strong athletic achievement (must be a letter winner and achieve outstanding athletic achievement), strong individual character, and leadership achievement.

The award was renamed in honor of former Ferris State athletic director Dean Davenport, who served in the role from 1979 to 1993.


During his tenure at Ferris, Bernhardt’s selection marks the 17th time a Bulldog Football student-athlete has been honored as the winner of the Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” award. Meanwhile, Rogers is the second women’s soccer player in school history to claim the accolade.

Other student-athlete finalists nominated for the 2021-22 Dean Davenport Bulldog of the Year Award were Walt Kelser (men’s basketball) along with Paige Kortz (softball), Adrienne Anderson (women’s basketball) and Katie O’Connell (volleyball).

Rogers concluded her Bulldog career as one of the most successful in program history and was honored as the 2022 recipient of GLIAC’s prestigious Pat Riepma Graduate Scholarship and was recently named a nominee for the NCAA Women’s Award. of the Year. She capped her remarkable football career at Ferris State by becoming the second Bulldog in program history to earn All-America honors. Last fall, Rogers had 10 goals and two assists, helping lead FSU to a 15-3-4 overall record, which included a 9-2-4 second-place finish in the conference. The Bulldogs also captured the program’s first-ever GLIAC Tournament championship, ending Grand Valley State’s 14-year title streak, and qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament for only the second time in the franchise. program history.

A team captain for three years, Rogers earned All-GLIAC first-team honors in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 (spring and fall). She ended her career with 28 goals scored. A United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American (2019, 2021), a United Soccer Coaches Player of Distinction (2021) and a two-time recipient of the GLIAC Commissioner’s Award, Rogers is currently enrolled at Ferris State College of Pharmacy, where she is developing new targets for anti-cancer drugs. In 2021, she received the prestigious FSU William Bouyer Award for Leadership. Rogers served as chair of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for two years and was a member of the organization for four years. She has also served as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Pharmacy and the Lambda Kappa Sigma Professional Sorority.

Rogers wrapped up a stellar college career by being named to two All-America teams last season, becoming the second All-America pick in Bulldog Soccer history. She was named to both the United Soccer Coaches All-America and Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) All-America Third Team, as announced by the respective organizations. Additionally, she was selected as a United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American for FSU for the second time. During Rogers’ Bulldog career, Ferris State made its first two NCAA Tournament appearances in program history and also won the program’s first regular-season and GLIAC Tournament championships during its time in the program. program.

“Bri is an exceptional person and may go down as the greatest female soccer player in Bulldogs history,” said FSU head coach Greg Henson. “She was a tremendous leader for our program and one who will be sorely missed. Her awards and accolades speak for themselves and we are thrilled that she crowned her career by being chosen to receive this honor.”

Meanwhile, Bernhardt made the most of his lone season as a Bulldog, leading FSU to the first NCAA Division II national championship and a perfect 14-0 record last fall. The senior Bulldog player left a lasting impression in his only season of college football after a stellar four-year career as one of the nation’s top lacrosse players at the University of Maryland, where he won the Tewaaraton award as the country’s best performer in the spring. from 2021. He signed a priority free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and is currently competing for a roster spot when training camp opens in pre-season.

Last fall, Bernhardt rushed for a team-best 1,421 yards on 159 attempts, ranking as one of the nation’s top rushers while scoring 26 touchdowns during FSU’s national championship campaign. Additionally, he threw 87 of 123 (70.7%) for 1,322 yards and 11 scoring en route to winning GLIAC Player of the Year honors.

Bernhardt ranked among the nation’s top point guards for the Bulldogs and guided Ferris State to the school’s third straight GLIAC championship ahead of one of the most dominant playoffs in Division II history. the NCAA. He was named GLIAC Player of the Week five times last fall and also won the D2Football.com National Player of the Week laurels after scoring seven touchdowns in his Ferris State debut. His game helped the Bulldogs lead the nation last season in both scoring and all-out offense.

“Jared was the ultimate competitor and left a huge mark on Bulldog Football,” said FSU head coach Tony Annese. “He deserves recognition and did an outstanding job leading by example last fall. He was a spectacular player on the pitch and an even better person off the pitch.”

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