IOWA CITY, IA - - Senior offensive lineman Robert Gallery and senior strong safety Bob Sanders have been named co-winners of the 2003 Roy J. Carver Most Valuable Player Award for Iowa football.. The announcement came today (Saturday) at the team's annual awards banquet in Iowa City.
Gallery, earlier this week, became Iowa's third winner of the prestigious Outland Trophy, emblematic of the nation's top collegiate lineman. Other honors Gallery earned this year include being named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and a unanimous first team all-Big Ten selection. He has already been named to the American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers of America, The Sporting News, CNNSI.com and ESPN.com first all-America teams.
Sanders became only the ninth Hawkeye to earn first team all-Big Ten accolades three-consecutive years. The native of Erie, PA, was a unanimous selection by the league coaches. Sanders ranks eighth in school history with 345 career tackles. He ranks first in the Big Ten in forced fumbles (6) this season.
The Hawkeyes have finished their regular season with a 9-3 record and a 5-3 mark in the Big Ten. Iowa will meet Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL, on Jan. 1. After winning 11 games in 2002, Iowa has won as many as nine games in consecutive seasons for the first time since winning nine games in 1986 and 10 contests in 1987. Furthermore, the Hawkeyes will play in back-to-back January bowl games for the first time in school history.
A number of other major awards were given out at the banquet.
The Hayden Fry "Extra Heartbeat" Award went to seniors Sanders, Gallery and Nate Kaeding. The award is given in honor of Iowa's Hall of Fame coach who retired after the 1998 season. It goes to a player who gives that little bit extra at all times. Gallery is Iowa's 18th consensus all-American. Sanders battled back from pre-season surgery and was a dominant force in Iowa's nationally ranked defense. He's considered one of the hardest hitters in college football. Kaeding was a first team all-Big Ten selection and earned all-America honors from the AFCA, CNNSI.com and ESPN.com. After winning the 2002 Lou Groza Placekicker of the Year Award, he finished second this year.
Gallery was also named winner of the Iron Hawk Award. It's given to a Hawkeye that's given his all during every play for the entire season and has represented his team and school in an exemplary fashion.
Senior receiver Ramon Ochoa and lineman Eric Rothwell earned the Next Man In Award on offense, while senior defensive back Chris Smith and junior lineman Tyler Luebke were named defensive winners. All of the winners of this award replaced a starter who left the lineup with an injury and continued to deliver excellent performances.
Senior defensive lineman Jared Clauss, a two-time Verizon District VII academic all-American and three-time academic all-Big Ten honoree, was named winner of the Forest Evashevski Scholastic Achievement Award. The Award goes annually to a player who displays a high degree of proficiency in both the classroom and the playing field.
The 2003 Coaches Appreciation Awards went to ten players. Senior receiver Maurice Brown, fullback Edgar Cervantes and quarterback Nathan Chandler on offense, senior linebackers Howard Hodges and Grant Steen, lineman Jared Clauss and junior back Sean Considine on defense. Seniors Bob Sanders and Chris Smith and junior David Bradley won the special teams portion of the award.
Senior kicker Nate Kaeding was named Special Team Specialist of the Year for the third-straight year while senior Ramon Ochoa was named the overall Special Teams Player of the Year. Kaeding is Iowa's all-time leading scorer while Ochoa broke the school record for punt return yardage in a season.
The Hawkeye Hustle Awards went to nine players. On offense the winners are tight end Erik Jensen, lineman Pete McMahon and running back Fred Russell. Defensively, the winners are linebackers Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge and end Matt Roth. Special team winners are Sean Considine, Edmond Miles and Jermire Roberts.
Team Leader Awards were given to sophomore offensive linemen Blake Larsen, and true freshmen defensive ends Bryan Mattison and Kenny Iwebema.
Seniors Gallery and Russell (offense), Sanders and Hodges (defense) and Kaeding (special teams) were named permanent captains for the 2002 season. The five will also serve as captains in this year's Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.
The 2003 Players' Appreciation Award went to Russ and Ann Gerdin. The Gerdins provided the majority of the funding for Iowa's new academic learning center. The facility, named after the Gerdins, includes a computer center, study areas, classes and meeting rooms for all Hawkeye student-athletes.
The Bump Elliott Appreciation Award went to assistant athletic trainer and travel coordinator John Streif.