Dan Molls Represents the Standard of Senior Leadership
"Dan Molls is the heart and soul of our defense. He's a leader, a sure tackler and one of the toughest players I've ever been around. I truly believe he is one of the best linebackers in the country and also one of the best players ever to wear the Midnight Blue and Gold."
- UT Head Coach Matt Campbell
On a Toledo team brimming with senior leaders, Dan Molls stood out this season.
Game in and game out, Molls never wavered. His season has been amazing in its consistency. Some examples:
- He leads the nation in tackles with 148 tackles.
- He has had at least nine tackles in every game and at least 13 stops nine times.
- He has been the Rockets' team leader in tackles in all but one game.
- Six times he has been nominated for MAC West Defensive Player of the Week, winning the award following his performance vs. Western Michigan on Sept. 29.
- In the classroom, Molls made Academic All-District for the first time in his career. Holding a 3.61 GPA in exercise science, Molls is aiming to become Toledo's first Academic All-American since Lance Moore in 2004.
More importantly, perhaps, Molls has been a team leader in every sense of the word. He's the kind of player who goes all out in every practice, gives it all in the classroom and gives of himself in the community. So it should come as no surprise that the Toledo coaching staff holds Molls in such high regard.
"From the day Dan Molls stepped foot on campus," said head coach Matt Campbell, "he knew that being successful isn't just about playing well on the football field. It's also about being a community servant and getting your degree. It's about being a leader, setting an example for others. Dan is all of that and more, and that's what makes it really special to coach a young man like that."
Earlier this season, Campbell commented that Molls should be considered among the greatest Rockets of all-time. At first blush, it seemed like coach's hyperbole. But on the other hand, how long has it been since Toledo has had such a dominating linebacker? The Rockets have never had a player lead the nation in tackles, and if it weren't for a leg injury that caused him to miss nearly six games last season, Molls would have finished in the top 10 in the country in tackles for three consecutive seasons. And as far as that intangible that coaches love to talk about-leadership-well, rest assured, there have been very few who have ever wore the Midnight Blue and Gold who are close to Molls in that category.
Molls, who along with 17 other seniors is playing in his final home game as a Rocket tonight, said that what mattered most to him was not the accolades, or the great victories, or even his own academic achievements.
"It's just been all about the experience with the guys," said Molls. "You can talk about statistics and the games we won, but none of that really measures up to some of the friendships I made here. I've developed relationships with coaches and my teammates, but also with teachers and people involved in this university. That's what really means the most to me and that's what's going to stay with me forever."
Toledo's 2012 seniors will be remembered as the class that brought the winning tradition back to the Rockets. In the past four years, this group has put together a 30-19 record, 22-9 in MAC play. These seniors have also played in two bowl games, and with an 8-3 record so far this season, are eligible for a third.
"These seniors have been great leaders in our football program," said head coach Matt Campbell. "They have set a great example for the younger players who will be the future leaders of our team."
Listed below are the 18 seniors who will play in their final home game as Rockets vs. Akron on Tuesday:
- Robert Bell, LB, Grand Rapids, MI (Criminal Justice). Bell is second on the team with 84 tackles this season. He has played in 41 games, starting 24 times, and has 184 tackles for his career.
- Byron Best, CB, Greenwood, SC (Individualized Studies). Best has played in 48 games as a Rocket, starting 20 times. He has 91 tackles and recently picked off his first career interception.
- Austin Dantin, QB, Tallahassee, FL (Civil Engineering). In his four-year career, Austin started in 23 games at quarterback, throwing for 3,700 yards and 26 touchdowns.
- Jimmy Davidson, WR, Findlay, OH (Marketing). Davidson played in 20 games at wide receiver in his career.
- Danny Farr, DT, Evanston, IL (Criminal Justice). Farr played in 34 games in his Rocket career, making 30 tackles. He has been a starter as a senior.
- T.J. Fatinikun, DE Perrysburg, OH (Communications). Fatinikun earned All-MAC honors in 2010 and 2011, but two major injuries cut short his career. Fatinikun finished his career with 104 tackles and 11 sacks.
- Sam Gaymon, WR, Redford, MI (Engineering). Gaymon played in 24 games in his career at wide receiver and safety.
- Hank Keighley, DE, Dayton, OH (Exercise science). Keighley played both tight end and defensive line in his career, becoming a starter at defensive end as senior. He has 33 tackles this season and leads the team in tackles for loss.
- Colby Kratch, DE, Watertown, MN (Communications). A junior college transfer, Kratch began his Rocket career as a tight end before moving to defensive end this season.
- Phil Lewis, DT, Grosse Pointe, MI (Criminal justice). A junior college transfer, Lewis played in 16 games for the Rockets, making 24 tackles.
- A.J. Lindeman, OL, Aurora, IL (Engineering/Business). Lindeman is a two-time candidate for the Burlesworth Trophy, given annually to the best player in the nation who began his career as a walk-on. He became a starter at right tackle as a senior. He graduated last spring with a degree in engineering and is currently enrolled in the business school.
- Dan Molls, LB, North Royalton, OH (Exercise Science). Molls currently leads the nation in tackles with 148 and is a candidate for All-America and the Butkus Award, given annually to the best linebacker in the country. An All-MAC selection in 2010, Molls made Academic All-District this season and has a chance to become Toledo's first Academic All-American since Lance Moore in 2004.
- David Pasquale, RB, Cape Coral, FL (Criminal Justice/Graduate School). Pasquale has played in 39 games in his career at running back and quarterback. He graduated last spring with a degree in criminal justice, and is currently in graduate school studying education.
- Ben Pike, DE, Mentor, OH (Education). Pike has played in 36 games in his Rocket career, and has started six games this season, making 29 tackles.
- Jermaine Robinson, SS, Pittsburgh, PA (Criminal Justice). Robinson was a four-year starter at safety, starting in 46 out of 48 games in his career. For his career he has 222 tackles and eight interceptions, returning four of those picks for touchdowns.
- Cordale Scott, TE, Cleveland, OH (Individualized Studies). Scott has 15 receptions in his two seasons as a Rocket following a transfer from the University of Illinois.
- Mark Singer, FS, Cinnaminson, NJ (Communications). Singer has played in 47 games in his Rocket career, starting 29, and has racked up 154 tackles and six interceptions.
- Jared Strait, TE, Wyandotte, MI (Exercise Science). Strait played in 30 games in his Rocket career at tight end.
- By Paul Helgren, Associate Athletic Director for Communications