Every year, graduation leaves a void in the college football world. New stars will take their places, but these D2 football stars will be missed in 2016. Let's break it down.
5. Matt Soltes, QB, East Stroudsburg
Matt Soltes (10) celebrates another score (Photo Credit: defpen.com)
Career Stats: 12,544 Passing Yards, 126 TD Passes, 1,494 Rush Yards
Matt Soltes continued the long reign of great East Stroudsburg quarterbacks when he first earned the starting job in his redshirt freshman season of 2012, taking over for Ray Wagner.
Soltes currently owns second place in eight offensive categories in ESU history, including the three mentioned above. Even more impressive, the Vernon, NJ owns the D2 record for TD passes per game (3.15) and games with five or more TD passes (13).
Like they have before, the Warriors will find a way to replace one of the best quarterbacks in D2 history. But every time they have to, it is hard to forget who filled the shoes first.
4. Cameron McDondle, RB, CSU-Pueblo
Cameron McDondle breaks off a big run for the ThunderWolves (Photo Credit: CSU-Pueblo Athletics)
Career Stats: 5951 Rush Yards, 56 Rush TDs, 6.6 Yards-per-Attempt
The second runner-up in the 2015 Harlon Hill race, Cameron McDondle finished second in the country in rushing yards last season — just 31 yards behind national leader Ja'Quan Gardner of Humboldt State.
McDondle rushed for at least 848 yards in all four of his seasons in Pueblo, and eclipsed the 2,000 yard mark in both his junior and senior seasons. Perhaps the most impressive statistic on McDondle's resume though, is the national record he shares with his younger brother.
Last season, Cameron and Bernard McDondle – also a running back at CSU-Pueblo – put up an impressive 3,674 yards rushing as a tandem. This broke the previous record for rushing yards by two players the previous mark of 3,611 in 2004 by Pittsburg State for the most rushing yards by two players on the same team in one year. With the elder brother now departed, it will be up to Bernard to try and establish his own name and create another incredible rushing attack for the Thunderwolves.
3. Matt Judon, DE, Grand Valley State
Matt Judon celebrates a sack (Photo Credit: Grand Valley State Athletics)
Career Stats: 34 Sacks, 204 Total Tackles, 51.5 Tackles for Loss, 8 Forced Fumbles
The first D2 player taken in the 2016 NFL Draft will certainly be missed along the defensive line for the Lakers.
One of the newest Baltimore Ravens holds the GVSU career record for sacks. Judon came on the national radar thanks to his 2015 performance that resulted in 21 sacks, the most of any player in any classification of the NCAA.
The fifth-round pick will now look to stick on an NFL roster as did former GVSU Laker Dan Skuta, who now plays with the Jaguars. The only thing standing in Judon's way is a history of injuries, but with any luck, he could become the next Terrell Suggs.
2. Jason Greenway, KR, Augustana (SD)
Jason Greenway returns a kick for Augustana (Photo Credit: Augustana Athletics)
Career Stats: 1,378 Return Yards, 3 Return TDs, 111 Receiving Yards
Although he wasn't a premier playmaker on the offensive side of the ball, Jason Greenway endeared himself to Augustana fans with his all-world special teams play.
He led the country with three return touchdowns last season, and finished the year with a career-high 915 yards on 26 returns — good for just over 35 yards per return. His big returns of the year were a 100-yarder against Bemidji State the first week of the season and a 99-yarder in the NCAA Playoffs against Humboldt State.
He also sprinkled in 111 receiving yards during his appearances on offense, Greenway was to Augustana what Devin Hester once was to the Bears. Augie will certainly hope they can find someone to take over for one of the best in the nation.
1. Jason Vander Laan, QB, Ferris State
Vander Laan (15) prepares to throw (Photo Credit: mlive.com)
Career Stats: 8,240 Passing Yards, 5,953 Rushing Yards, 85 TD Passes, 81 Rushing TDs
Two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan will not be able to go for the three-peat, as he is now a member of the New York Jets.
During his playing days as a Bulldog, Vander Laan set national marks no quarterback has ever come close to achieving. He was the first quarterback to ever amass 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 passing yards in four consecutive seasons, the ultimate playmaker also holds the NCAA record for most rushing yards by a quarterback (5,953).
Now playing as a tight end with the Jets, the Illinois-native will look to stick in the NFL after transitioning to a new position. Even though he will no longer be making defenders look silly with his skills as a passer and runner, Vander Laan will always be one of the best players in D2 history.