It’s been a good – make that great – nine days for Virginia senior linebacker Micah Kiser.
Monday, Oct. 30 – Named one of 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s best linebacker at the collegiate level.
Wednesday, Nov. 1 – Named one of 13 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the best scholar-athlete in the nation. It is often called the “Academic Heisman” and Kiser is the fifth UVA player to be a nominee for the award along with Gary Cuozzo (1962), Tom Burns (1994), Tiki Barber (1996), and Stephan Phelan Jr. (1997). Burns won in 1994. As part of being named a finalist, Kiser already received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Saturday, Nov. 4 – Virginia earns bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011 and the first time in his career by defeating Georgia Tech ,40-36.
Kiser jumped on Twitter to express his excitement for the team’s bowl eligibility milestone.
GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE! LOVE THIS TEAM AND WHAT WE STAND FOR. NEVER OUT OF THE FIGHT!!! #NewStandard 🎳
— Micah Kiser (@kiser_rollin) November 4, 2017
Monday, Nov. 6 – Named ACC Linebacker of the Week for the second time this season after his performance in that win. He piled up 18 tackles, the most by any ACC player this season that matched his career high. UVA held GT to just 220 rushing yards, 128 below its season average.
Monday, Nov. 6 – Named Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Tuesday, Nov. 7 – Named as one of 20 semifinalists for the inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, established to honor exemplary leadership by a college player.
None of the individual recognition is surprising. Kiser currently leads the ACC with 10.8 tackles per game, which ranks sixth nationally. Kiser, remember, led the ACC in tackles per game each of the past two seasons. He’s currently tied for sixth in the league with five sacks on the season.
Kiser has recorded 97 tackles on the season, leaving him just three shy of 100+ for the third straight season. He posted 134 in 2016 and 117 in 2015. With 363 career tackles, he’s ranked 10th all-time in program history. He needs 25 tackles to move into fifth all-time ahead of Byron Thweatt’s 387 stops.
The senior standout accomplished all of this season’s impressive stats on an ailing left knee that he downplays when asked about it. Still, his coaches and teammates know that he’s laying it on the line for the team and program each and every week.
”He’s hurt,” a clearly appreciative coach Bronco Mendenhall said. ”I don’t know if he were to run a 40 right now in relation to when he’s healthy vs. today, it’s not close. He just, he just won’t come off the field. He WILL not come off the field. I’m not going to make him. Just his presence alone makes everyone else feel like they’re capable so he’s really, really tough and we rely on him in more ways than he’ll ever know. He is the voice of our program and he’s the heart of our program.”