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December 5, 2013

PSU Student-Athlete to receive major award from N.E. Football Writers

Morgan honored with Nason Award for Senior Achievement

(Photos from the Banquet)

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – A senior captain of the Plymouth State University football team will be receiving a prestigious award from the New England Football Writers Association next week at the Annual Awards and Captains Banquet in Stoneham, Mass.

            PSU senior linebacker Josh Morgan (Foster, R.I./Ponaganset) will be the recipient of the Nason Award for Senior Achievement.  Presented since 1958, the award is given to the New England senior who has persevered against all odds to succeed in football.  Morgan is the first Plymouth State player to receive the Nason Award, and he is the first unanimous selection for the award, according to Committee Chairperson Howie Davis.

            The Awards and Captains Banquet will be held at Montvale Plaza, which is located right off Montvale Ave, exit off Route 93 in Stoneham at 54 Montvale Ave. Their phone number is 781-438-8858. The banquet will be on Thursday, December 12, 2013. Reception will be at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. The buffet, priced at $45.00, is open to parents, alumni and fans.

            Josh Morgan was a four-year letterman for the Panthers, playing back-up quarterback as a freshman and a reserve at both quarterback and running back as a sophomore. He was moved to linebacker as a junior to help the team, and flourished in the role, leading the team in tackles with 73 and earning All-Conference recognition.  Morgan also played every snap on special teams.

            During that junior season, Morgan struggled with a number of sicknesses, colds and sinus issues, but never missed a practice.  After the season, he continued to struggle with health issues until he was diagnosed in February of 2013 with thyroid cancer. Morgan had his thyroid removed in May of 2013 at the conclusion of the spring semester.

            After the surgery Morgan was scheduled to undergo iodine/radiation treatments.  He received the approval of doctors to delay the treatments until after the season.  He did not want to miss his senior season nor did he want the treatments to negatively affect his performance. Morgan was put on medication to offset the effects of the thyroidectomy.

            During his 2013 senior season, Morgan again led the team in tackles with 72. He also collected one sack, 7.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, and five blocked kicks (three kicks, two punts). Morgan also played quarterback in PSU's last two games, becoming the team's third-leading rusher with 151 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed and caught a pass, and played every down on special teams. Morgan was recognized with his second consecutive All-Conference honor.

            Throughout his collegiate career, Morgan never missed a practice or workout. He was a team captain, and maintains a 3.29 grade point average as a Criminal Justice major.  He will begin treatments at the end of this semester.

            "Josh has overcome numerous obstacles to excel as a student and remain on the football field," said PSU Head Football Coach Paul Castonia in nominating Morgan for the award.  "He is the type of player any coach would love to coach. He is a tremendous teammate and leader. In 27 years as a college coach, I have never enjoyed coaching a player more than I have enjoyed having Josh as a member of the team. His perseverance, dedication, toughness and love of the game have been inspiring to both his teammates and coaches."

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