I know, I know, the quarterback of the football team? How cliché for The Times-Delphic Drake Athlete of the Year. But I have good reason for choosing senior Mike Piatkowski, who seems to be the most obvious and corny choice, but the reasons are neither obvious nor corny.
I spent the fall semester reporting on the Drake football team. I could wow you with all of the amazing stats that are attributed to Piatkowski’s name, such as being named the Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Year. He also set the Drake record for passing completion percentage at 65.3 percent for the season, tied his career high of four touchdowns in a game to win a share of the PFL title by defeating Dayton and moved into third on Drake’s all-time passing list. He broke the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record for completion percentage in a single game at 90.3 percent, and he was honored as the MVP at the Channing Smith Banquet. These are only several of Piatkowski’s many accomplishments over the course of the past season.
But let me tell you why Piatkowski really deserves to be Drake’s Athlete of the Year.
The Drake football team had a great year, which can’t be disputed or denied. Piatkowski supported the team the whole way and performed with an attitude to be admired.
After every game, whether it was a win or loss, he was on the field ready to back up his teammates.
His coaches and fellow players continually commented both on Piatkowski’s level of play and his passion for the game. And he was the first to do the same for his teammates, with a humble and modest demeanor. He also never accepted the praise of success single-handedly.
Piatkowski deserves to be named the Drake Athlete of the Year, and not because he is the quarterback of the football team or because he has been so successful in his football career with Drake. It’s his modesty, tenacity and passion for his teammates and for the game that make him the most obvious choice.
Piatkowski deserves this award and the recognition for leading the Drake Bulldogs through a remarkable season, which he will no doubt repeat in the coming season.
Drake University has a lot to look forward to on the football field, especially with Piatkowski, who has one more year of eligibility due to redshirting his freshman year, leading the team.