ROCKFORD, Ill. - Rockford University junior linebacker Jallen Bashford recently concluded a season for the ages, and he will now forever be remembered as a 2019 NCAA Statistical Champion. With the conclusion of the NCAA III football season this past weekend, Bashford officially became the 2019 NCAA Division III leader in total tackles.
"Jallen is the type of player who never gives up on a play and will make tackles all over the field," RU Head Coach J.T. Zimmerman stated. "He always seems to be around the ball, which is in part because of the preparation he puts in during the week. All of that hard work helps him know where the football will be and allows him to be in the right position on the field."
Bashford finished the 2019 season with an incredible 149 tackles, to average an astounding 14.9 tackles per game. His tackle totals were not only tops amongst all NCAA Division III football players, but they also broke both the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference and the Rockford University single-season total tackles records. Bashford's 149 tackles demolished both the previous NACC record of 126, originally set back in 2011 by Maranatha's Ethan Lane, and the previous RU record of 96, which was set in 2015 by Michael Watson.
"Jallen's competitiveness, work ethic, drive, and preparation all played a part in his outstanding season," Zimmerman said. "He is an excellent player, and he should be very proud of everything that he accomplished throughout the year."
Bashford was a model of consistency and the anchor of the RU defense this past year. He tallied double-digit tackles in each of Rockford's ten games. Additionally, he tied the RU single-game record, recording 19 tackles in three different games. Bashford was also involved in five turnovers: intercepting two passes, forcing two fumbles and recovering another.
"Jallen has become another coach on the field for us," Zimmerman remarked. "He has consistently gotten better every year because of how hard he works in the offseason, and we are excited to see what is in store for him next year."