Wisconsin Sports Network and WisSports.net are proud to announce Appleton North senior Joe Makeever as the 2010 recipient of the Jim Leonhard Award as the most outstanding senior defensive back in Wisconsin, part of the WSN Senior Football Awards.
Appleton North finished in a three-way tie for the Fox Valley Association title and advanced to Level 3 of the WIAA Football Playoffs. Along the way they gave up just 11.6 points per game, with Makeever playing a key role in that success all season.
A second team all-conference choice last season, Makeever stepped his game up even more this year and was unanimously voted as a 1st team all-FVA choice. On top of that, he was selected as the FVA Defensive Back of the Year as North shared the league title. Accounting for 92 total tackles (44 solo), Makeever also recorded 6 interceptions and 9 pass break-ups.
In addition to his selection as the Jim Leonhard Award winner, the postseason honors continue to pile up for Makeever. He was named to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association First Team All-State list this week.
“Joe's statistics indicate his great ability, but they pale in comparison to the character of this young man,” head coach Rob Salm said. “Joe demonstrates great leadership on and off the field. I can say without hesitation say Joe is the best safety I have coached in my 20 years of coaching and would be the ideal recipient of the Jim Leonhard award.”
Finalists for the award were Makeever, Kasey Leggate of Northwestern, Jordan Noskowiak of Sun Prairie, Ryan Winske of Omro, and Patrick Schmidt of Menasha.
The award is named after Jim Leonhard, one of the most beloved players from the state of Wisconsin. Hailing from tiny Tony, Wisconsin and attending Flambeau High School, Leonhard was a two-time All-State selection. He walked-on at the University of Wisconsin, and quickly established himself as a leader and outstanding player. He started 39 games in his career, and his 21 career interceptions are tied for the most in Badger history and fourth in the Big Ten. He also broke the Big Ten punt return yardage record. Leonhard went undrafted, but hooked on with the Buffalo Bills before moving to the Baltimore Ravens. In 2009 he signed with the New York Jets.
The voting panel for the WSN Senior Football Awards consisted of: Nicholas Kartos, WSN President and Founder; Travis Wilson, WSN Content Manager; Dennis Semrau, Wisconsin State Journal; Justin Hull, AM 1570 The Score in Appleton; John Casper Jr., Eau Claire Leader-Telegram; Dan Barwick, WSN Associate Content Producer