John Grace Is CFL Defensive Player Of Year

AMAZING GRACE (from the Calgary Stampeder Football Organization): The Calgary Stampeder Football Club in conjunction with the CFL announced today that Linebacker John Grace has been named the CFL Defensive Player of the Year. This is the first time Grace has received the award. Last year Grace was nominated as the Western Division Most Outstanding Defensive Player and the Stampeders' nominee for Most Outstanding Player.

Grace finished the 2005 season recording 76 defensive tackles, which was second for the Stampeders and sixth in the CFL. In addition, Grace had eight special team tackles, eight quarterback sacks, three fumble recoveries, three pass knockdowns, and six tackles-for-loss, all of which was tied for first on the team. Also, Grace recorded two interceptions, one of which went for a touchdown, and had one forced fumble.

Grace was named CFL Player of the Month for September, as he recorded 19 tackles, four quarterback sacks, one pass broken up and one interception return for a touchdown in four games. He was also named Player of the Week for his performance against the Edmonton Eskimos on September 9th (Canadian Labour Day). In that game, Grace was able to bring Ricky Ray to the ground on three different occasions recording three quarterback sacks, two defensive tackles and one special team tackle.

Grace was a captain of the 10th-ranked, 13-0 Thundering Herd team that defeated No. 25-ranked BYU in the 1999 Motor City Bowl to cap the undefeated season, after winning Marshall's third consecutive Mid-American Conference title in three years at the I-A level. He led the Herd in tackles in 1998 with 135 (98 solo), when Marshall finished 12-1 and won the first bowl in MU history with a 49-28 pasting of Louisville in the second-ever Motor City Bowl. Marshall was 25th-ranked at the end of the '98 season. He also led Marshall in tackles-for-loss in both 1998 (14-for-minus 55 yards) and in 1997 (14-for-minus 60 yards), when Marshall recorded a 10-3 season in the first year in I-A football, winning the initial MAC title over Toledo and losing in the Herd's first bowl in a half-century to the SEC's Ole' Miss Rebels by a score of 34-31.

As a freshman for the Herd, Grace and the Herd posted a perfect season of 15-0 in Marshall's final season in I-AA football. Marshall wons its second National Championship in Coach Bob Pruett's first season, beating Montana 49-29. Grace finished his career ranked sixth all-time at Marshall in tackles, recording 414 tackles between 1996 and 1999. He is in his sixth season in the Canadian Football League since leaving Marshall.


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