Notre Dame Honors Top Players

Sixteen Irish players honored Friday night at Notre Dame's fifth annual Echoes Awards Ceremony.

Notre Dame, Ind. -- An emergency evacuation and a former walk-on turned team MVP rank atop the evening's surprises at Notre Dame's eventful awards ceremony Friday night at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Joe Schmidt, whose four-game absence resulted in an 0-4 finish following the team's promising 7-1 start, won the program's prestigious Monogram Team MVP.

"Without really thinking hard, it's the greatest honor of my life," said Schmidt following the ceremony. "It's right there with being the godfather to my two godchildren. It's incredibly important to me and it's humbling to have your teammates and your coaches select you for something like this."

Head coach Brian Kelly offered during the ceremony that the award was Schmidt's, in part, not only because of what he was on the field, but because of what Notre Dame lacked when Schmidt was lost.

"I almost don't like to hear that," Schmidt said. "It's special to me to have someone I respect so much say that to me and have my teammates say they value my presence and what I bring to the table so much.

"Really all I've ever wanted to be was what Notre Dame needed me to be."

Sophomore Will Fuller was named Offensive Player of the Year. Fuller led the Irish in receptions (71), total yards from scrimmage (1,071, all receiving) and touchdowns (14). Fellow sophomore Jaylon Smith earned the honor on the defensive side of scrimmage, leading the team in tackles (103) and tackles-for-loss (8.5) while adding three sacks and six quarterback hurries, starting all 12 games.

Junior C.J. Prosise earned Special Teams Player of the Year honors while classmate Ronnie Stanley took home the program's Offensive Lineman of the Year, an award won the previous four seasons by current Dallas Cowboys starting guard Zack Martin.

A third junior, Sheldon Day, won the Moose Krause Lineman of the Year Award. Day tied for the team lead with nine quarterback hurries and finished second in tackles for loss (7.5). Day missed the season's final two contests due to a sprained MCL suffered in the fourth quarter of the team's 43-40 overtime loss to Northwestern.

Senior captain Cam McDaniel won the program's most prestigious off-the-field honor, the Nick Pietrosante Award presented annually to the player that best exemplifies courage, loyalty, teamwork, pride, and dedication.

2014 Award Winners

Friday's roster of winners includes three fifth-year seniors, four seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, and one freshmen.

Scout Team Player of the Year: Offense: – 5th-year senior running back Tyler Plantz
Scout Team Player of the Year: Defense – Sophomore linebacker, walk-on Austin Larkin
Newcomer of the Year: Offense – Sophomore wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr.
Newcomer of the Year: Defense – Freshman safety Drue Tranquill
Special Teams Player of the Year – Junior slot receiver C.J. Prosise
Offensive Lineman of the Year – Junior left tackle Ronnie Stanley
Irish Around the Bend – Senior kicker Kyle Brindza
Moose Krause Lineman of the Year – Junior defensive end Sheldon Day
Father Lange Iron Cross – 5th-year senior right tackle Christian Lombard
Pietrosante Award – Senior running back Cam McDaniel
Rockne Student-Athlete – Sophomore wide receiver Corey Robinson
Tire Rack Play of the Year – Senior tight end Ben Koyack
Offensive Player of the Year – Sophomore wide receiver Will Fuller
Defensive Player of the Year – Sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith
Next Man In– 5th-year senior defensive tackle Justin Utupo
Most Valuable Player – Senior linebacker Joe Schmidt Top Stories