The Valparaiso University football program continued to earn recognition as a pair of student-athletes received honorable mentions for Stats Perform FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Tuesday. Senior Drew Gedrys (McDonald, Pa. / South Fayette) and freshman Charlie Maxwell (Elkhart, Ind. / Elkhart Christian Academy) were recognized for their play during Saturday’s 20-19 victory over perennial Pioneer Football League favorite San Diego.
Also named the PFL co-Special Teams Player of the Week earlier this week, Gedrys blocked a pair of PAT attempts in Valpo’s one-point victory over the Toreros. His efforts helped deny San Diego a share of the PFL title, snapping their streak of six straight. Gedrys became just the third player in the FCS nation to block two kicks in the same game this season. He turned away one extra point in the first quarter and one in the fourth quarter of a win that wrapped up Valpo’s best winning percentage since 2003 and represented the team’s first triumph over San Diego in 18 years. Gedrys now has four blocked kicks in his Valpo career.
Maxwell put an exclamation mark on a strong season as a return specialist by providing an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter of the win over San Diego. The rookie averaged 37.8 yards over four kickoff returns in the season finale, helping him cap his season as the FCS national leader in kickoff return average at 29.8 yards per return. Maxwell tied with Wofford’s T.J. Luther for the FCS lead, but had twice as many kickoff returns.
In addition, Valpo received Honorable Mention for FCS National Team of the Week from Stats Perform after its 20-19 win over San Diego.
The latest national honorable mentions add to a long list of such honors over the course of Valpo’s Spring 2021 season. Punter Ben Niesner (Black Diamond, Wash. / Tahoma [Portland State]) was named FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week Honorable Mention on April 5 following his 47.8 yards per punt average in Valpo’s 10-7 victory at Drake. Freshman defensive back Keyon Turner (Chicago, Ill. / Marist) received National Defensive Player of the Week Honorable Mention on March 30 after an interception that played a key role in Valpo’s 28-25 Hoosier Helmet win over Butler. In addition, running back Robert Washington (Huntersville, N.C. / East Gaston [Old Dominion]) earned National Offensive Player of the Week Honorable Mention after his season-opening showing in a win at Butler that featured 199 rushing yards.