EIU’s senior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smashed virtually every Eastern Illinois and Ohio Valley Conference record during the 2013 season en route to winning the Walter Payton Award. He was later named the first recipient of the FCSADA National Offensive Player of the Year Award, presented as the FCS National Championship game. An invite to the East-West Shrine Game where he earned MVP honors earned him a trip to the Senior Bowl and eventually the NFL Combine.
Garoppolo was featured on several media shows and was one of the players invited to the NFL Draft in New York City where he was the story of the second day when the New England Patriots tabbed him in the second round.
A final award to cap his collegiate career was being awarded both the Ohio Valley Conference Male Athlete of the Year Award and EIU Senior Male Athlete of the Year Award.