Aplin receives Star of Tomorrow Award

JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) — The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Crain Automotive Team announced former Arkansas State football standout quarterback Ryan Aplin as this year's recipient of the prestigious "Star of Tomorrow Award" at the Hall of Fame's induction banquet Friday evening at Verizon Arena in Little Rock.

Aplin, a two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year who completed his senior season with the Red Wolves in 2012, was named one of 10 finalists for the honor last month.  The award is presented annually to the top college athlete from either an Arkansas-based college or university or an out-of-state school if that athlete is from Arkansas.

"It is a tremendous honor to be a finalist, let alone get the award," said Aplin.  "It was exciting to be a part of such an outstanding group of finalists, and this wouldn't have been possible without my family, friends, teammates, coaches and many more who I highly respect.  I appreciate the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame for honoring me in such great fashion, but this award also belongs to Arkansas State University for the unbelievable opportunity I was provided."

Aplin was determined as the award winner using the following formula:  25 percent based on a public vote, 25 percent based on a vote by dues-paying members of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, 25 percent based on a vote by members of the Arkansas sports media and 25 percent based on a vote by Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

The other nine finalists included UCA's Megan Herbert (basketball) and Seth Allison (football), Arkansas' Tyler Wilson (football) and Jaime Pisani (gymnastics), Henderson State's Ashley Ray (softball) and Kevin Rogers (football), Hendrix College's Connor Silvestri (soccer) and Melissa Clement (volleyball) and Southern Arkansas' Mickey Hammer (cross country).

Aplin led Arkansas State to a 10-3 overall record, its second straight Sun Belt Conference championship and a 17-13 victory over No. 25 Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, helping A-State gain national respect with 28 votes in the final AP Top-25 and 13 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.  He led ASU to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history, its first bowl victory since 1970 and to its first win over a top-25 ranked opponent since joining the FBS in 1992.

The Tampa, Fla. native completed his four-year career with over 25 combined single game, season and career school records and as the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in career total offense, passing yards and completions.  He closed out his senior campaign ranked No. 3 in the nation in career total offense, No. 5 in career completions, passing yards and touchdowns responsible for and No. 11 in career passing touchdowns among active players.

His senior season alone, Aplin ranked 17th in the nation in passing efficiency and 25th in both total offense and passing yards.

He is one of just two players in the history of the Sun Belt Conference to be named its Player of the Year twice.  Additionally, he was the 2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl Player of the Game, the 2011-12 Sun Belt Conference Male Student-Athlete of the Year, a three-time First Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, and an eight-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week.

Aplin was one of 10 players in the nation named a 2012 Senior CLASS Award finalist and was also recognized as a Second Team All-America choice by the Senior CLASS Award.  He was named to the 2012 Manning Award, Walter Camp, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Senior Bowl Watch lists.  Earlier this year, he was honored as the Little Rock Touchdown Club's Arkansas State Player of the Year for the third straight time.

Aplin earned his bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from Arkansas State University in December of 2012 with a cumulative GPA of 3.364.  He was a member of the Athletics Director Honor roll eight different semesters and also recognized on the Chancellor's List twice and Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List six times.

Aplin has been an active worker and organizer of Special Olympic events since his high school career.  He also has organized and help publicize March of Dimes fundraisers, both as a direct result of having a close family member (sister) affected by Smith-McGinnis Syndrome.  Aplin has visited hospitals on numerous occasions, including LeBonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and the USA Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile, Ala.