Photo Courtesy: AState Athletics
JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - Ryan Aplin, a two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year who completed his senior season on the Arkansas State football team in 2012, was named one of 10 finalists Thursday for the "Star of Tomorrow Award" as announced by the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Crain Automotive Team.
The award is presented annually to the top college athlete from either an Arkansas-based college or university or an out-of-state school if that athlete is from Arkansas. This year's presentation will be held during the Hall of Fame's induction banquet on the evening of Friday, March 8, at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. The award will be given for accomplishments during the 2012 calendar year.
A panel of media representatives determines the 10 finalists each year. The selection of each nominee is weighted as follows: 60 percent based on athletic performance, 20 percent based on academic performance and 20 percent based on community involvement.
Once the 10 finalists are selected each year, the winner is determined using the following formula: 25 percent based on a public vote, 25 percent based on a vote by dues-paying members of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, 25 percent based on a vote by members of the Arkansas sports media and 25 percent based on a vote by Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees. The public can vote by visiting www.arstaroftomorrow.com.
Aplin led Arkansas State to a 10-3 overall record, its second straight Sun Belt Conference championship and a 17-13 victory over No. 25 Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, helping A-State gain national respect with 28 votes in the final AP Top-25 and 13 in the USA?Today Coaches Poll. He led ASU to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history, its first bowl victory since 1970 and to its first win over a top-25 ranked opponent since joining the FBS in 1992.
The Tampa, Fla. native completed his four-year career with over 25 combined single game, season and career school records and as the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in career total offense, passing yards and completions. He closed out his senior campaign ranked No. 3 in the nation in career total offense, No. 5 in career completions, passing yards and touchdowns responsible for and No. 11 in career passing touchdowns among active players.
His senior season alone, Aplin ranked 17th in the nation in passing efficiency and 25th in both total offense and passing yards.
He is one of just two players in the history of the Sun Belt Conference to be named its Player of the Year twice. Additionally, he was the 2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl Player of the Game, the 2011-12 Sun Belt Conference Male Student-Athlete of the Year, a three-time First Team All-Sun?Belt Conference selection, and an eight-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week.
Aplin was one of 10 players in the nation named a 2012 Senior CLASS Award finalist and was also recognized as a Second Team All-America choice by the Senior CLASS Award. He was named to the 2012 Manning Award, Walter Camp, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Senior Bowl Watch lists. Earlier this year, he was honored as the Little Rock Touchdown Club's Arkansas State Player of the Year for the third straight time.
Aplin earned his bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from Arkansas State University in December of 2012 with a cumulative GPA of 3.364. He was a member of the Athletics Director Honor roll eight different semesters and also recognized on the Chancellor's List twice and Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List six times.
Aplin has been an active worker and organizer of Special Olympic events since his high school career. He also has organized and help publicize March of Dimes fundraisers, both as a direct result of having a close family member (sister) affected by Smith-McGinnis Syndrome. Aplin has visited hospitals on numerous occasions, including LeBonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and the USA?Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile, Ala.
"Ryan Aplin is not only everything you could ask for in a student-athlete, he is an amazing person who makes others around him better," said Arkansas State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir. "He has been a leader on the field, in the classroom and in the community, and I know he will be a tremendous ambassador for Arkansas State University in the future. He is the type of person that deflects praise to others and shoulders criticism, often showing character and maturity beyond his years. I am certain that Ryan will be successful and impact lives in a positive manner no matter where his future leads him because he is already a 'star of today.'