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Top 70 MAC Football Players: #36 Grant DePalma (LB - Western Michigan Broncos)

Once a walk-on, this junior college transfer is now the heart and soul of an improved Bronco defense that looks to stop some of the MAC's top offenses.

Peter Casey (USA TODAY Sports)

Anyone who knows Grant DePalma shouldn't be surprised by his success.  I mean, he has succeeded wherever he has been.

In high school, DePalma won All-Area honors twice, but was forced to continue his career in Division III.  However, he continued to shine, earning D-III Defensive Player of the Year honors before transferring to Western Michigan as a walk-on.  Now, after an impressive first season as the key Bronco linebacker, the senior from Mount Prospect, Illinois is on a full scholarship as the leader of a Division I defense.

At 5-9, DePalma may not strike fear in you, but you can believe that he will out work and over-power you, as he did against some of the MAC's top running backs and linemen last year.  He totaled 102 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, and had four 10 tackle games, including his first ever at the D-I level against Purdue.  He had another career game against Ohio, tallying 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks, both career highs.

And after that solid year, DePalma earned not only that scholarship, but national recognition.  While being 36th on this list, DePalma was also named 2nd team preseason All-MAC selection by Athlon.  He looks to garner more attention as he continues to grow as a Division I player.

So why would you bet against him?  The man is a work horse and a beast.  It's no wonder why he's PJ Fleck's favorite defender.  You might as well get in line behind him or get knocked down in his path.