During a ceremony held in the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City Monday afternoon, the Ivy League named junior quarterback Quinn Epperly the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and awarded him the Asa S. Bushnell Cup. Epperly accepted the award with Defensive Player of the Year Zach Hodges of Harvard following a congratulatory speech from Archie Manning.
Epperly and Hodges were two of four finalists for the award, alongside Epperly’s teammate senior defensive lineman Caraun Reid and Brown’s senior tailback John Spooney. As the four stars awaited the announcement of the winners, representatives from the National Football Foundation recounted the statistical achievements of each player and presented brief highlight reels before applauding each of their on-field efforts.
Once the winners were announced, head coach Bob Surace ’90 spoke on Epperly’s behalf before Epperly delivered his own speech and finally hoisted the trophy. Surace praised Epperly for his relentless approach to game preparation and the unwavering humility he demonstrated throughout his incredible season. Epperly kept his speech brief, thanking God, his family, his coaches and his teammates for helping him win the award.
Epperly reports that while he felt optimistic about his chances to win the award, he was anything but calm while waiting for the results.
“My heart was beating out of my chest,” he said. “I kind of got chills when they actually announced it, and I got to walk up there.”
For Epperly, the day was made particularly special because he was able to share it with his parents and two sisters, who traveled from Knoxville, Tenn. to watch the presentation.
“It was something my family and friends got to go to, so it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” he said. “It was a dream come true.”
The junior says the award has not changed his view of himself as a football player and that the experience itself has been too surreal to fully appreciate just yet.
“It feels like I’m watching someone else, like I’m really not even talking about myself to be honest,” he said. “I think it’ll take a little bit of time to actually realize what it meant because right now I just still kind of feel like a normal college student.”
Epperly did not look like a normal college student on the football field this season, however. In 10 games, he racked up a mind-boggling 43 touchdowns and led his team to an Ivy League record 437 points.
The gunslinger did admit that the ceremony increased his publicity just a tad. Epperly recalled having to shut his phone off after his speech due to the constant influx of texts he could feel vibrating in his pocket.
“Quinn won’t talk about himself, but he did a wonderful job,” Surace said.
“It was crazy,” Epperly said. “A bunch of my friends from home were texting me joking around saying things like, ‘Quinn you look too serious up there; you need to smile!’”