Darren Thellen, the face of UMass’ upgrade to FBS football, has been named the university’s Male Athlete of the Year.
Thellen started all 12 games on the season and served as one of the team leaders for the squad in its first-ever year at the FBS level. Thellen set the tone for the Minutemen throughout the year and earned All-MAC Second Team from the Mid-American Conference and Third Team All-MAC by Phil Steele Magazine as a result of his strong play in the secondary. Thellen finished the year with 79 tackles – the second-most on the squad – and tallied three interceptions to help the Brockton, Mass., native finish his career as the program’s all-time leader in interception return yardage (256) on 10 picks.
Thellen’s senior campaign started off with a bang against the University of Connecticut. In a losing effort, Thellen tipped a thrown-away pass to Tom Brandt for an interception. ESPN took notice:
The Brockton native was recently invited to the New York Giants’ minicamp.
Not for nothing: Thellen was also named team MVP by the Maroon Musket.
While Thellen brought home the Athlete of the Year Award, the enture football senior class collectively took home the Inspirational Male Athletes of the Year.
Again, from UMassAthletics.com:
Despite being unable to qualify for the NCAA Playoffs or CAA Championship as juniors and not eligible to participate for the Football Bow Subdivision (FBS) postseason in 2012 as seniors, the UMass football senior class played with heart, passion and desire while at the same time they worked to build a strong foundation for the FBS era. Honoring the class with the Inspirational Male Athletes of the Year award symbolized the senior class’ dedication to working within the highest ideals of the University and its choice to stay at the University despite not being able to play in the postseason for two years.
Follow Bob on twitter: @BobMcGovernJr