Dec. 18, 2011
University of Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead (Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy) was named the recipient of the 2011 Claude Rost Most Valuable Player Award as the Bearcats handed out their postseason awards at the teams' annual banquet Sunday, inside the Tangeman University Center Great Hall.
Cincinnati (9-3, 5-2 BIG EAST Conference), who will take on Vanderbilt in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31, 2011 in Memphis, Tenn., celebrated the accolades of the 2011 BIG EAST Champions, the squad's third league title in the past four years. The only other NCAA FBS AQ school who is able to make that claim in the University of Oregon which has won three-straight PAC-12 titles. The Bearcats, who won the 2010 BIG EAST Academic Excellence Award, are the only FBS school to win its conference title and claim its league's academic award as well.
The Bearcats also honored its 21-member senior class including: Alex Apyan (Chattanooga, Tenn./Hixson), Zach Collaros (Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville), Evan Davis (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain), Tom DeTemple (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller), TJ Franklin (Maryville, Tenn./Knoxville Catholic), Reuben Haley (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Healthy), Steve Hancock (Sterling, Va./Potomac Falls), Tomaz Hilton (Youngstown, Ohio/The Rayen), Alex Hoffman (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral), John Hughes (Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln), Randy Martinez (Teaneck, N.J./Teaneck), Pead, Shane Popham (Covington Catholic/Wake Forest), Wesley Richardson (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty), Adrien Robinson (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central), JK Schaffer (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle), Monte Taylor (Los Angeles, Calif./Washington/El Camino CC), Rob Trigg (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne), Derek Wolfe (Lisbon, Ohio/Beaver Local), Orion Woodard (Pompton Lakes, N.J./Pompton Lakes) and DJ Woods (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville).
Pead took home a pair of awards as he was also the winner of the Brig Owens Outstanding Offensive Back Award. Pead, the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-BIG EAST selection, was one of three 1,000-yard rushers in the conference, tallying 1,110 yards along with a league-high 14 touchdowns. Pead is the first UC back in 25 yards to have 1,000-yards rushing in back-to-back seasons. He also became just the third UC RB all time to eclipse 3,000 career rushing yards.
Jordan Luallen (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove/Georgia Tech) was named the winner of the Glenn Sample Represent The C Community Service Award. The award, which honors the late Sample, who was a UC football captain in 1951 and a pillar of the Cincinnati community for decades after, is presented annually to the UC player who makes the biggest impact in the Cincinnati community through the year. Past winners include former UC standouts Dustin Grutza and Mardy Gilyard.
The Jim Kelly Sr. Hold The Rope Award was presented to three Bearcats' senior this year, Collaros, Davis and Richardson, a first in the long history of the honor. The award is given annually to those who best represent the ideals of former UC letterwinner, administrator, and coach Jim Kelly Sr.
Collaros, a Second-Team All-BIG EAST honoree at quarterback, missed the final 3.5 games of the regular season after suffering a broken right ankle against West Virginia. Prior to his injury, Collaros was 154-of-243 for 1,860 yards and 14 touchdowns. His 140.1 pass efficiency rating still ranks second in the BIG EAST. This season, he became only the second QB in UC history to throw for 5,000-career yards and 50 TDs.
Davis was a 12-game starter at center for an offensive line that plowed the way for a 1,000-yard rusher for the second straight season.
Richardson started 12 games at free safety, quarterbacking a much improved UC defense. He ranked third on the team with 66 tackles, including 37 solo stops, five passes defended, four pass break ups a forced fumble and interception.
A new award this year is the Ray Sheakley Most Improved Leader Award. The award memorializes Sheakley, a longtime local business leader, the namesake of Varsity Village's Sheakley Lawn and a longtime supporter of UC athletics. The inaugural recipients are Hughes, Martinez and DL Walter Stewart (Ashville, Ohio/Teays Valley).
Austen Bujnoch (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) took home the C-Club Strothman Award for Academic Excellence. Bujnoch, who started 12 games at right guard, carries a 3.667 GPA in his history major.
Schaffer snagged the Most Valuable Linebacker for the second-straight year. A First-Team All-BIG EAST honoree at linebacker, Schaffer led UC and ranks third in the BIG EAST in tackles, averaging 8.8 per game. He finished with 105 tackles in the regular season, the third straight year he has eclipsed that mark, making him only the fifth UC player all time to do so. He is the BIG EAST's leading active tackler with 328 stops. He also had 12 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions, six pass break ups, nine passes defended, a QB hurry and three forced fumbles and recoveries.
The John Pease Outstanding Lineman Award was shared by Hoffman and Martinez on the offensive side and Hughes and Wolfe on the defense.
Martinez, who was named First-Team All-BIG East at guard, and Hoffman, a second-team all-league selection at tackle, helped anchor an offensive line that finished second in the BIG EAST in sacks allowed, giving up just 1.5 per game and paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher for the second-straight season.
Wolfe was the BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-BIG EAST selection at defensive tackle. He has been named to five All-America teams and leads the BIG EAST and ranks sixth nationally with 19.5 tackles for a loss and ranks third in the league and tied for 12th in the FBS with 9.5 sacks. Wolfe sits in fourth place on the UC career sacks list with 19.5 and 10th place on the UC career tackles for loss list with 35.0. Hughes played some of his best football down the stretch when UC needed some key victories to clinch the league title. Over the past five regular season games, Hughes had 28 tackles, four sacks and nine tackles for a loss.
Anthony McClung (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) was the squad's Most Valuable Receiver. McClung caught 46 balls for 675 yards and five scores. He was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week following his performance in the regular season finale against Connecticut, grabbing eight catches for a career-high 142 yards with two touchdowns. He had a team-high five touchdown receptions in the regular season.
Drew Frey (Wilmington, Ohio/Clinton-Massie) won the Brig Owens Outstanding Defensive Back award. Frey, a First-Team All-BIG EAST safety, was second on the team with 67 tackles. He added 2.5 tackles for a loss, a pair of interceptions which included a pick six in the season finale, six pass break ups, eight passes defended and two QB hurries.
DeTemple, UC's long snapper, was the Specialist of the Year and punter Pat O'Donnell (Lakeworth, Fla./Palm Beach Central) was named the Special Teams Player of the Year.
DeTemple had 125 snaps without a miss this year and also added a tackle on kick coverage. UC led the BIG EAST in net punting behind the snapping of DeTemple and kicking of O'Donnell, the First-Team All-BIG EAST punter.
O'Donnell, a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, finished with a net punting average of 43.9 yards per kick, including 25 kicks dropped inside the 20 and a league high 15 boots of 50 yards or more. O'Donnell also handled the kickoff duties, averaging 63.9 yards per kick and giving the opponent and average starting field position on the 27-yard line.
A pair of true freshmen, OL Daniel Murray (San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines) and DL Silverberry Mouhon (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) were named the offensive and defensive Scout Team Players of the Year, respectively.
The Bearcats return to action against Vanderbilt in the 53rd AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31, 2011 at Liberty Bowl Stadium in Memphis, Tenn. The game will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. ET and air on ABC.
Tickets for the Liberty Bowl are on sale now at CATSTIX.com and are priced at $50. Fans that do not purchase online can call 1-877-CATS-TIX or visit the Athletics Ticket Office on the fourth floor of the Richard E. Lindner Center in Varsity Village.
For further information on the Bearcats' trip to the 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl, please visit bowl central at GoBEARCATS.com. Some of the information available includes: travel packages with Provident Travel, important dates and deadlines, ticket details and general bowl information.
2011 FOOTBALL AWARD WINNERS
Scout Team Players of the Year:
Special Teams Player of the Year: Pat O'Donnell
Specialist of the Year: Tom DeTemple
Brig Owens Outstanding Back:
Most Valuable Receiver: Anthony McClung
John Pease Outstanding Lineman
Most Valuable Linebacker: J.K. Schaffer
Ray Sheakley Most Improved Leader Award: John Hughes, Randy Martinez, Walter Stewart
Jim Kelly Hold the Rope Award:
C-Club Strothman Award for Academic Excellence: Austen Bujnoch
Glenn Sample Represent the C Community Service Award: Jordan Luallen
Claude Rost MVP Award: Isaiah Pead