Courtesy Siena Heights Athletic Department
CHICAGO, ILL. (11-21-22) – The Mid States Football Association released their conference honors with 31 Siena Heights Saints being selected for their work on the field and in the classroom.
The Siena Heights defense was highlighted on the first team honors. As a group, the defense finished the year as the 8th best team in the NAIA in yards per game, they were the 5th best team in rushing yards per game, and they were 7th in total sacks, all marks were the top in the MSFA. The Saints also rated 29th in points per game and 31st in in passing yards per game.
Linebacker Kole Murlin highlights the honorees, he was selected as the MSFA Mid-East Defensive Player of the Year for the 3rd year in a row.
Murlin started all 10 games and led the team with 114 tackles on the season, earning double digit tackles in seven of the Saints’ ten games on the season. Eleven of Murlin’s tackles went for a loss this season, amounting to 48 yards lost. He had 5.5 sacks on the year amounting to 31 yards lost, he broke up one pass, had one forced fumble, and recovered one fumble as well. Murlin’s average of 11.4 tackles per game are the 4th highest mark in the NAIA this year.
Murlin becomes the first ever three-time winner of the MSFA Player of the Year Award for either offense or defense. This season, he was named MSFA Mideast Defensive Player of the Week on October 24th for his efforts on October 22nd against Lawrence Tech. He led the Saints with 13 tackles that day, had two sacks, and three tackles for loss. That was his fourth time winning the player of the week award.
Murlin’s 114 tackles are the most in a single season in SHU history, eclipsing his previous two marks of 112 tackles in 2021 and 111 tackles in 2019. His 55 solo tackles also set a single season SHU record, eclipsing the previous high of 50, set in 2013. Murlin’s 11 tackles for loss are the 6th highest single season mark in SHU history as well. Murlin’s 48 TFL yards are the 9th highest mark in single season SHU history now.
Murlin caps off a historic career for the Saints. He holds numerous career records for the Saints, including tackles (415), solo tackles (163), assisted tackles (252) and fumble recoveries (5). He is tied for second with 33.5 tackles for loss, third in tackle for loss yardage (126), tied for third in forced fumbles (4), fifth in sacks (11.5) and tied for 6th in sack yardage (64). During Murlin’s stellar career, the Saints’ defense was the top defense in yards per game in the MSFA during the 2020, 2021, and 2022 seasons. As the anchor of the Saints’ defense, during his career, the defense held opponents to an average of 252 yards per game.
Head Coach Matt Kohn said:
“We’ve had a lot of great football players come through our football program but none that have made the impact of Kole Murlin. His statistics on the field speak for his production and the impact he was able to make in games. However, who he is as a person, as a leader and the positive impact he was able to make on his teammates is unprecedented.”