The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently announced its 2017 football national statistical titles and, for the second straight season, Lake Forest College’s Joey Valdivia ’17 led the nation in points per game.
Valdivia, a senior running back, matched his program record of 18 points per game during the 2017 season.
“Heading into this year, my goals were to win conference and beat my old rushing yardage record so I wasn’t worried as much about the number of touchdowns scored,” commented Valdivia.
Although Valdivia tied his program record of points per game; he shattered the previous mark of 1,535 rushing yards with 1,809 on the season. Further, he ranked second in the country with 218.6 all-purpose yards per game and third in nation with 26 rushing touchdowns and 25th with 6.5 yards per carry.
What very few know is that these feats were accomplished after suffering from a foot injury in 2014. While practicing in shot put, Valdivia strained a muscle in his foot, which ultimately put him out of intense training for several months.
“Despite losing all of my training, when looking back I am most proud of being able to bounce back from the injury and finish my collegiate career with two All-American seasons,” said Valdivia.
Valdivia credits his physical therapist, Michael Kordecki’s, with helping him properly recover and return to play. “His program felt like a full-time job, but I knew that if I listened to his instruction and stayed consistent with the exercises, I could accomplish my goals.”
And that he did. Over the course of Valdivia’s career, he amassed 4,170 yards and 64 touchdowns and is easily the program’s all-time leader in both categories. He also ranks first in yards per carry and total points.
The Forester football program finished 8-2 during three of his four years on the team and no player in program history was around for more victories than the 28 Lake Forest posted during Valdivia’s career.
After graduating with a degree in anthropology and sociology in December of 2017, he continued to train for Pro Day, which was held on March 13 at Northwestern University. Pro Day gives select graduating seniors the opportunity to show off off their talent in front of professional scouts from the National Football League (NFL).
Valdivia was grateful for this opportunity and when talking about his future goals hopes that the opportunity to continue playing football will present itself.