Colorado Springs, CO – Coming off of a record breaking season, sophomore Kai Locksley of Iowa Western Community College has been named the 2017 Spalding® NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year. A dual-threat quarterback, Locksley earned first team All-America honors on Tuesday.
"This is an amazing blessing," Locksley stated regarding the postseason honor. "I am incredibly grateful. I could not have asked for a better support system and band of brothers at Iowa Western. Iowa Western took a chance and gave me an opportunity to reinvent myself and resurrect my career when I had fallen to rock bottom."
Locksley boasted one of the best seasons in Reiver history after guiding the team to an 11-1 record and a victory in The Graphic Edge Bowl. Locksley, a former Texas Longhorn, registered 40 total touchdowns on the year- 20 through the air and 20 on the ground, including a school record six rushing touchdowns in one game.
Locksley ranked in the top 10 in the NJCAA in completion percentage (66.4%), yards (2,238) and efficiency (157.7). The sophomore's 20 rushing touchdowns ranked third among all NJCAA rushers. Locksley set season-high numbers in completions, attempts, and yards in Iowa Western's final game of the season- a 36-19 victory over No. 5 Northwest Mississippi in The Graphic Edge Bowl.
Behind Locksley's dominant effort, the Reivers finished the season ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA postseason poll.
Head coach Scott Strohmeier praised Locksley for being more than just a football player. "Kai was the inspirational leader of this football team all year long," Strohmeier stated. "His statistics are proof of what he can do on the field but what he did off the field was amazing. He is a special talent but more impressive was his ability to lead an entire team with the way he prepared and carried himself every single day. Every great team needs a leader and Kai brought that the entire year."
Locksley added praise for his teammates and coaching staff and their ability to depend on one another at all times. Following the tragic death of Locksley's brother in September, the Washington, D.C. native relied heavily on his counterparts. "I could not have achieved anything without the staff and the guys rallying behind me and keeping me afloat through my brother's death and all the adversity I faced coming in to the junior college realm."
Locksley becomes the first Reiver to earn NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year honors since quarterback Jake Waters was honored in 2012.
About the Spalding® NJCAA Football Player of the Year Awards
Since 1990, the NJCAA Football Coaches Association has recognized the top football player in the country with the NJCAA Football Player of the Year award. The award was split into an offensive and defensive honor beginning in 2000. Spalding® partnered with the NJCAA in 2013 to become the title sponsor of both awards.
Spalding® in the Collegiate Football Market
Spalding® is currently the official football of the Arena Football League (AFL) – a distinction held since 2004. In the collegiate market, Spalding® is the official football of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (NCAA Div. I), the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (NCAA Div. I), the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (NCAA Div. II) and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NCAA Div. II). Spalding® is a trademark of Russell Brands, LLC.