In case you have been living under a rock and aren’t aware of Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan, let’s start here:
Ferris State QB Jason Vander Laan sets record for most career Rush yds by a QB at any division, passing Shawn Graves who ran for 5,128 yds.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 17, 2015
Off the field, Vander Laan is just one of the guys. Starting in 4th grade, he began his reign of terror at the quarterback position in pee-wee football, joining his father’s Varsity team when he was in eighth grade. Growing up, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was his favorite to watch, and he actually played on a pee-wee team in the same league McNabb grew up in.
Don’t expect him to get superstitious on you before a game, though, as he likes to do the opposite and switch everything up week by week. One thing remains the same, however, and that’s praying before he gets out on the field.
It could also be argued that another thing stays the same each week — Jason Vander Laan is an absolute beast week in and week out. We’re only about halfway through the season, but season’s Harlon Hill trophy winner already has 1,522 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, plus another 807 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s had over 100 rushing yards five times in six games this season, and broke the NCAA all-time record for rushing yards by a quarterback this weekend.
“Coming in I knew I needed so many yards. After my run I turned around and had a bunch of teammates rushing to celebrate with me so that’s when I knew I broke it,” Vander Laan said, talking about the moment he knew he would go down in NCAA history. “It wasn’t until about two or three weeks ago that I realized how close I was. At the beginning of the season I had no idea that I could break it.”
It’s not too hard to imagine the NFL buzz around 6-foot-4, 244-pound dual threat quarterback, but Vander Laan doesn’t feel Saturday’s achievement will be his golden ticket to the big leagues. “I don’t really think just that record will have anything to do with the scouts. I was fortunate to have four years to try and break the record, a lot of guys only start for two or three years. I hope it gets my name up there a little bit but I don’t think it will be the deciding factor on if they come to watch a game.”
It may not be the deciding factor, but if doesn’t get you noticed by scouts, not much else will.
Of course, it’s not as if the dual-threat quarterback wasn’t turning heads before he broke the record. “We’ve had a lot of scouts come this year, from about 80-90% of the teams. But right now I’m not gonna worry too much about the NFL, I’m just gonna take it one game at a time and try to make a deep run in playoffs.”
The Bulldogs are undefeated on the season, and many experts believe they have what it takes to take home the national championship this year. “We’re feeling really comfortable. We had a lot of guys coming back and we had a good run but it ended so early in the playoffs last year. Injuries held us back and hopefully if we keep staying healthy and playing hard, we all think that that’s an attainable goal.”
Continuing to talk ahead about the rest of the season, Vander Laan talked about his personal goals moving forward. “Getting more comfortable in the pocket, I’ve always been a dominant runner, but not necessarily a passer. I’ve been working on my passing game the last few years. So just knowing where I gotta be at the right time and what play is going to be best.” He may not have as many passing yards as some of the guys who stay in the pocket, but his efficiency rating sits at 155.8 on the season, a 21st in the division.
Here’s a few final fun facts to help you get to know the real Jason Vander Laan:
- He loves to eat Skittles
- Basically a professional ping-pong player and frisbee golfer
- Used to be a rock star at Guitar Hero, but had to give up that wild life for football
- He’s a huge Adam Sandler fan, and it can’t get much better than Mr. Deeds
- If you’re ever looking to bust out of the big house, he’s your man. Vander Laan has seen Prison Break four times