MANHEIM, Pa. - University of Minnesota Duluth left guard Garth Heikkinen has won the 2012 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club.
Heikkinen, a team captain for the Bulldogs, helped Minnesota Duluth finish 10-2 with a NSIC Championship. The 6-4, 315-pound senior, became the first four-time All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) honoree in the program's 80-year history.
"Garth Heikkinen was one of eight terrific finalists for this year's Gene Upshaw Award" said Don Harris of the Manheim Touchdown Club in a statement. "The All-America honors continue to pour in for him. When you look at Garth's performance and what he was able to accomplish this past season at Minnesota Duluth, it is easy to see why he was chosen as our award winner. At 6-4 and 315 pounds, he certainly has all the ability and the tools to get to the next level. I extend my congratulations to him and his family for an outstanding career. We wish him the best."
As a recipient of the Gene Upshaw Award, Heikkinen receives a trophy in the likeness of Upshaw and an automatic invitation to participate in the East/West Shrine Game held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. and the NFLPA All-Star Game held in Carson, Calif. Both games are scheduled for Jan. 19.
The Upshaw Award is presented annually to the top NCAA Division II junior or senior offensive or defensive lineman in the nation. Sports information directors from each of the football-playing Division II institutions comprise the voters.
Some information used in this story was provided by the Manheim Touchdown Club.