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FOOTBALL: Zollie Kaplan named finalist for D-II lineman of the year award

Zollie Kaplan is a finalist for the prestigious Gene Upshaw Award, which recognizes Division II’s Senior Lineman of the Year. Kaplan is one of nine offensive and defensive linemen to be considered for the award.

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Bemidji State senior Zollie Kaplan (18) rushes the quarterback in a game against Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer
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MANHEIM, Pa. -- Bemidji State football’s most dangerous pass rusher is up for one of the biggest awards in the country.

Zollie Kaplan is a finalist for the prestigious Gene Upshaw Award, which recognizes Division II’s Senior Lineman of the Year. Kaplan is one of nine offensive and defensive linemen to be considered for the award.

The award is voted on by the nation’s Division II sports information directors. All nominees must be seniors or graduate players/transfers.

RELATED: Zollie Kaplan, man of many motivators, is leading Bemidji State on one last run

Kaplan was an All-NSIC First Team selection this year after helping the Beavers to a share of the conference’s championship. He’s currently third in Division II with 14.5 sacks this season and tied for seventh with 20.5 tackles for loss.

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Kaplan has also totaled 26.0 sacks in his career, which is 0.5 sacks shy of tying Jay Hanson for the most in program history.

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Bemidji State senior Zollie Kaplan (18) dives for a Winona State ball carrier during the second half in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

The other finalists for the award are: defensive end D.J. Adediwura of Slippery Rock; offensive tackle Joey Fisher of Shepherd; offensive tackle Nicolas Melsop of Delta State; offensive guard Dalton Simpler of West Florida; offensive tackle Quinton Barrow of Grand Valley State; defensive end Elijah Green of Northwest Missouri State; defensive end Caleb Murphy of Ferris State; and offensive center Matt Armendariz of Colorado School of Mines.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 5. The winner will also receive an invitation to participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas.

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Other times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

For questions about a staff report, call (218) 333-9796 or email news@bemidjipioneer.com.
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