Fifth-year senior defensive end set the Big Ten single-season record with eight forced fumbles.
EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ Michigan State fifth-year senior Jonal Saint-Dic has been named one of eight finalists for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, presented annually since 2002. The other finalists are San Diegoâ€™s Eric Bakhtiari, Penn Stateâ€™s Maurice Evans, Ohio Stateâ€™s Vernon Gholston, Virginiaâ€™s Chris Long, Indianaâ€™s Greg Middleton, Oregonâ€™s Nick Reed and South Floridaâ€™s George Selvie. The 2007 recipient will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Michigan State fifth-year senior has been named one of eight finalists for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, presented annually since 2002. The other finalists are San Diegoâ€™s Eric Bakhtiari, Penn Stateâ€™s Maurice Evans, Ohio Stateâ€™s Vernon Gholston, Virginiaâ€™s Chris Long, Indianaâ€™s Greg Middleton, Oregonâ€™s Nick Reed and South Floridaâ€™s George Selvie. The 2007 recipient will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
The award is named in honor of the former Miami (Fla.) three-time All-American. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Hendricks recorded 327 career tackles and was named United Press Internationalâ€™s College Lineman of the Year in 1968. He spent 15 seasons in the National Football League and played in 215 consecutive games, while making eight Pro Bowl appearances and earning All-Pro honors four times. Hendricks, nicknamed "The Mad Stork," also won four Super Bowl rings. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
The 6-1, 255-pound Saint-Dic ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 18th (tied) in the NCAA in sacks (10 for 75 yards), averaging 0.83 per game. His 10 sacks rank sixth (tied with Greg Taplin, 2003; Julian Peterson, 1998; and Kelly Quinn, 1983) on Michigan Stateâ€™s single-season chart.
Saint-Dic also ranks among the conference (tied for sixth) and national (tied for No. 37) leaders in tackles for loss (14.5 for 85 yards), averaging 1.21 per game. In addition, he leads the NCAA in forced fumbles (8).
A Midseason All-America selection by CollegeFootballNews.com (first team), SI.com (second team) and Phil Steele (fourth team), Saint-Dic earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the leagueâ€™s media panel.
Through 12 games, he ranks second on the Spartan defense in production points with 196. Saint-Dic has registered 47 total tackles, with 14.5 of those resulting in losses (31 percent).
"Jonal Saint-Dic has an uncanny ability to strip the ball away from people," Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio said. "Earlier this season, he became the all-time leader in Big Ten history in forced fumbles, and thatâ€™s a tremendous accomplishment.
"Jonal plays with a high motor every day, and he comes to practice ready to work. Heâ€™s been both a great leader for this team and a great representative for this football program. Heâ€™s certainly most deserving of this recognition."
"This is a great honor, especially when you look at the names of the other players listed as finalists," Saint-Dic said. "Across the country, there are a number of defensive ends that have had great individual seasons.
"Iâ€™m thankful that Coach Dantonio and my defensive line coach Ted Gill believed in me and gave me opportunities to showcase my talents. We have a great scheme that puts me in situations to make plays by utilizing my speed off the edge.
"I think our entire defensive line has played well this season, and with the kind of season Ervin Baldwin has had, defenses canâ€™t just focus on me. During the second half of the season, many of our opponents have been forced to mass protect (the quarterback)."
He made six tackles against No. 15 Michigan, with two resulting in losses (7 yards) including a 3-yard sack.
Saint-Dic set the Big Ten single-season record with his eighth forced fumble against top-ranked Ohio State, breaking the mark previously held by Penn Stateâ€™s Michael Haynes (7 in 13 games in 2002). The fumble came on a 7-yard sack in the third quarter that SirDarean Adams picked up and returned 25 yards for a score as the Spartans pulled within 24-14. His eight forced fumbles rank as the second-best single-season total in NCAA Bowl Subdivision history, trailing only Louisvilleâ€™s Elvis Dumervil (10 caused fumbles in 2005).
In MSUâ€™s 52-27 victory over Indiana, Saint-Dic forced a fumble while recording a 9-yard sack in the third quarter that Ervin Baldwin scooped up and returned 12 yards for a touchdown.
The Elizabeth, N.J., native recorded a career-best 10 tackles (3 solos, 7 assists), including one for a 2-yard loss, in Michigan Stateâ€™s 48-41 overtime loss to Northwestern.
He recorded at least one sack in four consecutive games (vs. Bowling Green, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Wisconsin), tying the school record held by Courtney Ledyard (1996 vs. Louisville, Eastern Michigan, Iowa and Illinois) and Julian Peterson (1999 vs. Ohio State, Northwestern, Penn State and Florida).
Late in the first quarter while recording an 11-yard sack against Wisconsinâ€™s Tyler Donovan, Saint-Dic forced his sixth fumble of the season, breaking MSUâ€™s single-season record of five previously held by Rob Fredrickson (1993) and Broderick Nelson (2001). He was credited with four tackles and three quarterback hits against the ninth-ranked Badgers.
He compiled a career-best 35 production points in Michigan Stateâ€™s 31-14 victory at Notre Dame, registering four tackles including two for losses (18 yards). Early in the second quarter, Saint-Dic sacked Notre Dameâ€™s Jimmy Clausen for a 17-yard loss while stripping the ball from him and recovering the fumble at the Irish 14. Four plays later, Brett Swenson converted a 27-yard field goal as the Spartans built a 17-7 lead.
Saint-Dic shared Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors (with Ohio Stateâ€™s linebacker James Laurinaitis) after recording five tackles, including three for losses (13 yards), and forcing two fumbles in MSUâ€™s 17-13 victory over Pittsburgh. Two of Saint-Dicâ€™s three tackles for losses resulted in sacks (11 yards). He accumulated 34 production points against the Panthers. It marked the second-straight week that Saint-Dic recorded at least two sacks and forced two fumbles. With MSU leading 14-13 with 4:04 to play, Saint-Dic stripped the ball from Pittâ€™s T.J. Porter on a reverse that Ogemdi Nwagbuo recovered at the Panther 22. Five plays later, Swenson connected on a 23-yard field-goal attempt to extend MSUâ€™s lead to 17-13 with 2:54 remaining.
Despite being a last-minute scratch from MSUâ€™s starting lineup against Bowling Green, Saint-Dic enjoyed one of his most productive games in a Spartan uniform, recording four solo tackles including a career-best three sacks (17 yards). His three sacks tied the sixth-best single-game total in Spartan history. Overall, MSU produced seven sacks against the Falcons â€“ its highest single-game total since registering eight sacks against Northwestern in 1999. Saint-Dic tallied 32 production points against the Falcons, forcing two fumbles and registering three quarterback hits.
Born in Haiti, Saint-Dic impressed his teammates with his relentless pursuit of quarterbacks in practice, earning himself the nickname "Sackmaster." He has recorded 13 career sacks (116 yards) and his 10 career forced fumbles rank as the seventh-best total in NCAA Bowl Subdivision history.