PELLA — Central College defensive lineman Danny Samson, senior from Baxter, was named Iowa Conference football defensive MVP and was joined by five teammates as first-team all-conference, with three others earning second-team honors and two more honorable mention.
Samson, a former standout for Collins-Maxwell/Baxter, is the 15th Dutch football player in school history to earn league MVP honors, dating back to Vern Den Herder in 1970. The MVP was a single award from 1968-2009, before being separated into offensive and defensive awards beginning in 2010. Samson is Central’s second defensive MVP (Shane Wong, 2010) since the additional designation
“Danny had an exceptional year,” coach Jeff McMartin said. “Every year he’s been here he’s gotten better and the pinnacle was this season. I am very happy for his success and Danny would be the first to credit his teammates and the entire defense. You have to play well as a team and as a unit to have individual success and our defense played very well.”
Samson, who is 5-11 and 255 pounds, led the conference with 11.5 sacks over 10 games (1.15 per game), four more than the next closest competitor, for a total of 73 yards lost. He led the league in tackles for loss with 21.5 for 96 yards, 3.5 more than the runner-up. Samson was also tied for second in fumbles recovered with two.
Additionally, he recorded three of Central’s 11 blocked kicks—the second most blocks by an NCAA team.
Samson was twice named to the D3football.com team of the week (Oct. 2, Oct. 23) and conference defensive player of the week (Sept. 29, Oct. 20). He was a 2012 first-team selection, as well.
Joining Samson on the first team was running back Josh Osborn (junior, Burlington)—the only Dutch player on the offensive team—defensive back Eric Larson (junior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS), linebacker Mike Young (senior, Country Club Hills, Ill., Hillcrest HS), fellow defensive lineman Jack Shipley (senior, Tipton) and kicker Kevin Sheldon (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS).
Second-team honorees include offensive lineman Travis Hook (senior, Grundy Center), defensive back Jake Edleman (senior, Mechanicsville, North Cedar HS) and linebacker Keith Rush (senior, Griswold).
Honorable mention distinction went to defensive lineman Spencer Matlock (senior, Naperville, Ill., Waubonsie Valley HS) and defensive back Jason Breon (senior, Anamosa).
The Dutch finished the season with a 6-4 overall mark, the school’s 50th winning season since 1961. Central was 4-3 in league play, part of a four-way tie in third place.