December 11, 2012
The Knox College Prairie Fire football team's defensive stopper, senior linebacker Mike Hendrick, is the recipient of a prestigious national honor.
A secondary education major, Hendrick has been named to the 25-player 2012 American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' All-America team. He is Knox College's first AFCA All-American, and the only player from the Midwest Conference on this year' AFCA Division III All-America team.
Because honorees are chosen exclusively by football coaching staff, the AFCA squad is considered the "premier" All-America team, according to Knox athletic director Chad Eisele, the Prairie Fire's head football coach for the past three seasons.
The AFCA has selected an All-America team every year since 1945. A total of five teams are chosen for each AFCA division. Members of the AFCA Coaches' All-America teams receive a plaque commemorating their selection.
Hendrick played in 2012 D-3 Senior Classic in Salem, Virginia on December 7, which featured many of the best senior football players in the country. Named to the South team, Hendrick had five tackles, including two for a loss, as the South defeated the North 37-21.
Hendrick, a graduate of Freeburg High School in Smithton, Illinois, said in an interview earlier in the season that he was an average high school football player who drew very little interest from college recruiters.
After seeing limited action in his first year at Knox, Hendrick developed significantly his sophomore season. During his junior and senior years, he became one of the most feared defensive players in the Midwest Conference.
Hendrick was also named to the 2012 All-Midwest Conference First Team defense after leading the league with 133 tackles, the third-most in the nation, and 13.3 tackles per game. He was selected to the D3football.com 2012 All-West Region Team Third Team defense and Beyond Sports Network's 2012 Honorable Mention All-American team as a linebacker as well.
In 2011 Hendrick led the nation with 157 tackles -- which is also a school record --- as well as tackles per game with 15.7. He received an NCAA statistical champion plaque for being the top tackler in Division III. Hendrick was named in 2011 All-Midwest Conference First Team defense, D3.football.com All-West Region Second Team defense, and BSN All-American Second Team defense.
Besides the record for total tackles in a season, Hendrick owns four other Knox football all-time marks -- most tackles in a game (26), solo tackles in a game (14, twice), solo tackles in a season (81), and solo tackles in a career (200).
Hendrick, who finished second all-time with 373 tackles in his career, is the first Knox football All-American since Tighe Burke in 2008-09. A defensive end, Burke was selected to the Associated Press Little All-America third team.