MEDFORD – Senior tri-captain and quarterback Ryan McDonald of the Tufts University football team was announced as the recipient of the 23rd annual Joe Zabilski Award, which recognizes New England's top offensive and defensive players in Divisions II/III.
McDonald, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Co-Offensive Player of the Year this season, will receive the honor at the Gridiron Club's annual banquet on Wednesday, December 19 at the Burlington Marriott Hotel.
This is the second major New England award for a Tufts football player this season. Junior tri-captain and linebacker Greg Holt was named to the prestigious New England Football Writers' Association College Division All-New England team last week.
McDonald helped lead head coach Jay Civetti's Jumbos to a 7-2 record with the top passing season in the NESCAC. He led the league with 167 completions, a 61.6 completion percentage, 1,811 passing yards (201.2 per game) and 17 touchdown passes this fall. His 133.3 efficiency rating was second in the NESCAC. McDonald also led the Jumbos in rushing with 458 yards and had nine touchdowns, which were the second-most on the ground in NESCAC.
Rushing and passing combined, the All-Conference first team QB accounted for 26 touchdowns. A two-time NESCAC Player of the Week this fall, McDonald's 252.1 yards of total offense per game ranks 23rd among the NCAA Division III statistics. He set both the Jumbo program's single-season (2,269) and career records (6,004) for total yards this fall.
Tufts has now won two of the last three Zabilski offensive awards. Running back Chance Brady was the 2016 recipient. Tufts' Mark Tilki won the Zabilski Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2003.
Springfield College defensive end Nick Giorgio is this year's defensive honoree.