The athletic teams at Hillsdale College take pride in not having to compromise academic success to achieve athletic success - 10 conference championships in the past 14 months proves that - and on an individual basis, Jay Rose is a leader in that philosophy.
Rose, a senior linebacker on the Charger football team, was named the recipient of the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award by the Michigan Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
The NFF Scholar-Athlete Award was first established back in 1959. Players who earn this honor must be in their final season of college football playing eligibility, carry a minimum grade point average of 3.2 and exemplify outstanding football ability with leadership and citizenship counting strongly in the criteria.
In 2018, Rose turned in his finest season as a Charger, leading the team with 113 total tackles, most by any Hillsdale player in the past five years. A team captain, Rose was a premier player on a defense that led the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in fewest points allowed per game. He led Hillsdale to the 2018 G-MAC championship and was a key contributor in the team advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs for just the second time in school history. Rose was named First-Team All-Conference and racked up 13 tackles-for-loss.
But that tells just part of his story. Rose arrived on Hillsdale's campus in the Fall of 2014 ready to play right away as a true freshman. He started at linebacker throughout that season and was an impact player from day one. But an injury cost him the entire 2017 season, and his playing future was very much in doubt, even through Spring Football of 2018.
But Rose never quit rehabbing, working tirelessly away from the field to get himself ready for a welcome, if unexpected fifth year with the program. He returned healthy and was a devastating presence at linebacker. He had terrific closing speed to the ball and smartly led the defense as one of the nation's best when opposing teams reached the red zone. He found ways to contribute in every area, forcing and recovering fumbles, intercepting a pass and breaking up two passes during the season.
Off the field, Rose carries a 3.43 overall grade point average and will graduate from Hillsdale majoring in physics and applied mathematics.