BOSTON -- Bates College senior Mark Upton was awarded the 71st Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award, the fourthest oldest award in college football, by the Gridiron Club of Boston on Thursday.
The "Swede" was first given in 1946 for "exceptional achievement in sportsmanship, academics, and athletics," and is preceded only by the Heisman, Maxwell and the Gridiron Club's own George "Bulger" Lowe award among college football accolades, according to the club.
Upton (Winthrop, Mass.) is Bates' first-ever recipient of the Swede, which is given annually to one player from a Bowl/Championship Division player and one player from Divisions II or III. Upton joins University of Connecticut punter Justin Wain as this year's Swede awardees.
Upton will be honored as part of an all-star slate of players, coaches and officials at the Gridiron Club's annual Bob Whelan College Football Awards Night on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at the Marriott Hotel in Burlington, Massachusetts. The "Bulger" award, known as "New England's Heisman Trophy," will go to UConn wide receiver Noel Thomas and Boston College defensive end Harold Landry.
Upton, an All-NESCAC First Team Defense selection in both 2014 and 2015, finished his senior season with a career-high 87 tackles, the third-most in the conference, and a career-high seven sacks, the second-most in the conference. He ends his career with 272 tackles, including 37.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, and eight forced fumbles. A politics major and rhetoric minor, Upton carries a 3.56 cumulative grade point average.
Earlier this season, Upton was named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy for scholar-athletes.
Bob Whelan College Awards Dinner (The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston)