USD Sophomore Named Finalist For Fred Mitchell Award

VERMILLION, SD ( —South Dakota sophomore Will Leyland is one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award which celebrates excellence on the field and in the community.

Leyland is one of five finalists from the FCS level. Three hail from NCAA Division III and there is one each representing NAIA and NJCAA. The recipient will be announced in mid-December.

Leyland, who grew up in Souderton, Pennsylvania, is the only FCS kicker who has yet to miss a kick this season. He added two more field goals in Saturday’s win to improve to 12-for-12 on the year and is 36-for-36 on extra points. Highlights include a 50-yarder against top-ranked South Dakota State and a walk-off, 41-yard field goal to beat nationally-ranked Youngstown State.

Leyland has also contributed more than 1,000 hours of community service, many of which came in pursuit of becoming an Eagle Scout. His Eagle Scout project was for his local pool where he swam and coached the summer swim team throughout high school. It consisted of 250 unpaid man hours. The project restored the frames of seven, three-level benches.

The Fred Mitchell Award was first presented in 2009. Fred Mitchell is a long-timeChicago Tribune sports columnist who enjoyed a distinguished career as one of the nation’s first prominent small-college place-kicking specialists at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

Top 10 finalists

Lake Barrett, Wooster

Caden Bonoffski, William & Mary

Christian Casillas, DuPage

Matthew Cook, UNI

Jacob Laurent, Carroll

Will Leyland, South Dakota

Richard McCollum, Western Carolina

Kyle Ramsey, Abilene Christian

Landon Reeves, Ottawa

Michael Stack, Wisconsin-La Crosse