DETROIT â€“ Michigan State senior center fielder Brandon Eckerle was named the Michigan Male College Athlete of the Year at the Detroit Athletic Club Awards Monday night in Detroit.
The Michigan College Athlete of the Year award is presented to a student-athlete that performs at a high level athletically and academically, makes an impact in his/her community, and demonstrates leadership and sportsmanlike behavior. As part of her honor, the DAC will donate $2,500 to the Michigan State athletic department.
Eckerle joins Drew Stanton (2007), Jeff Lerg (2008) and Allyssa DeHaan (2010) as previous Michigan State winners of this prestigious award.
The Durand, Mich., native is having a career year at the plate, leading the Big Ten with 74 hits and ranking second with a .381 batting average. He also ranks among the top 10 leaders in the conference in several other statistical categories, including on-base percentage, total bases and stolen bases. He is currently third in MSU history with 238 career hits (MSU career record: 245).
In the classroom, Eckerle maintains a 3.98 GPA in general business administration with an emphasis in pre-law, and was named a third-team Academic All-American in 2010. He garnered first-team Academic All-District honors in 2011 and is now eligible for Academic All-America honors this season. He officially earned his bachelorâ€™s degree following the spring semester, which completed last week.
Eckerle is highly respected by his teammates and was named team captain for the 2011 season. He is looked upon highly not just by the baseball team and coaching staff, but all student-athletes at Michigan State, as he is a three-year member of the Michigan State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Eckerle was MSU's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2010.
Eckerle is also one of the most involved Michigan State student-athletes in the community. He has participated in several community-outreach activities, including a student-athlete food drive, Special Olympics, Fall into Fitness, Chuck A Puck, which is a fundraiser for Children's Cancer, and the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Give Thanks Walk. He has also been baseball's three-year team leader for Teams for Toys, in which the team adopts a family for the holidays.
Eckerleâ€™s achievements have also been recognized nationally, as he was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Loweâ€™s Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in SchoolÂ®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.