BOWLING GREEN — Record-setting Western Kentucky University quarterback Bailey Zappe — in a highlight-reel of a senior season — can add another accomplishment to his resume after he was chosen as the 2021 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award winner.
The announcement was made Wednesday night. The award recognizes performance on the field as well as characteristics that define Campbell, a college and NFL great such as integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity. In addition, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas High School and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four-year college.
“Growing up in Texas, playing football in Texas my whole life, I heard stories about Earl Campbell,” Zappe said in an article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “What an honor to be associated with Earl Campbell. I am so thankful.”
He was a finalist for the award with Sincere McCormick of UTSA, Deuce Vaughn of Kansas State, Abram Smith of Baylor and Garrett Wilson of Ohio State.
Zappe, who threw for 5,967 yards and 62 touchdown passes as the Hilltoppers went 9-5 and won the Boca Raton Bowl, is the ninth recipient of the award, which has been presented by the Tyler, Texas Area Chamber of Commerce and SPORTyler.
Zappe is the second Hilltopper in the program’s FBS Era (since 2009) to win a national award, joining quarterback Brandon Doughty — who won the 2014 Sammy Baugh Award, which was presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Columbus to the nation’s top collegiate passer from 1959-2018.
The Conference USA Most Valuable Player last season, Zappe also is a finalist for the Manning Award, as well as a Semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards
He will play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl Feb. 5 in Mobile, Alabama. Other quarterbacks expected to play in the Senior Bowl are North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Nevada’s Carson Strong and Liberty’s Malik Willis.
Zappe also will take part in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis March 1-7 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The combine invites more than 300 draft prospects for a series of medical, physical and mental testing, helping teams make evaluations before the annual draft. Prospects will go through physical testing and field drills, as well as interviews with NFL franchises and media. The NFL Network will broadcast live coverage of the event.
He will be joined there by senior WKU defensive end DeAngelo Malone. Malone started all 14 games last season and finished with 94 total tackles — including 17.5 for loss — with nine sacks, four forced fumbles and four pass breakups.
Malone was tabbed as Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year last season in voting by the league’s 14 head coaches.
Zappe and Moore will be the ninth and 10th Hilltoppers to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.