Buckeyes Hand Out Awards At Team Banquet

Ohio State held its annual football awards banquet on Sunday. Linebacker A.J. Hawk was named team MVP, defensive end Mike Kudla was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player, and quarterback Troy Smith was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year. Several other players were also honored. Here is our report.

Ohio State held its annual football banquet on Sunday, prior to learning that the Buckeyes would be playing Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

Senior outside linebacker A.J. Hawk was selected as OSU's Most Valuable Player by his teammates.

Hawk, who recently was chosen as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Lombardi, Butkus and Lott awards, led the team in tackles with 109, including 13 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

"That's something that obviously you want to be accepted by your peers and something like that is obviously an honor," Hawk said of winning OSU's MVP award. "I didn't really expect it. We have so many guys that could have got that and I'm glad that I get some respect from my teammates."

Hawk, who has led the Buckeyes in tackles for each of the past three years, ranks fifth on the all-time tackle list at OSU with 382 total stops and counting. He is the first defensive player since cornerback Antoine Winfield in 1997 to be named team MVP.

"It's a fitting tribute to a great football player and leader," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "I've never been around a better linebacker, nor have I ever known a player that was more liked and respected by his teammates than A.J. He is so humble and sincere. The only vote he didn't get was his."

Senior co-captain Nate Salley received the Bo Rein Most Inspirational Award, which is also voted on by the players.

"That was great, especially since it's from my teammates," Salley said. "My teammates voted me as their most inspirational player and that's a huge honor, just like being voted captain was huge. I'm just grateful that these guys feel that way about me. We have a lot of great athletes on this team and for them to think that I inspired them is huge honor for me."

Other notable awards included junior quarterback Troy Smith as the Most Valuable Offensive Player, and senior defensive end Mike Kudla has the Most Valuable Defensive Player.

Smith averaged 248.5 yards per game in total offense this year and accounted for 25 touchdowns. He had three games of more than 300 yards of total offense, capped off by the Michigan game in which he threw for 300 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 37 more and another score in the Buckeyes' 25-21 victory.

Kudla was the mainstay of the defensive front and had 34 tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks.

The Jim Marshall Warrior Award went to senior linebacker Anthony Schlegel who finished second to Hawk in tackles with 75, including a game-high 10 in the win over Michigan.

"It's an honor," Schlegel said. "I kind of pride myself on being tough and being that guy that will go through anything for his teammates and his brothers. To get that award is definitely an honor."

True freshman Alex Boone, who started four games at tackle, was the Outstanding First Year Offensive Player.

True freshman Malcolm Jenkins, who started four games at cornerback, was named the Outstanding First Year Defensive Player.

Other award winners included: Brandon Schnittker (John Galbreath Award for Academic Excellence), Antonio Pittman (The Rex Kern Award for Outstanding Offensive Back), Bobby Carpenter (The Randy Gradishar Award), Josh Huston/Ted Ginn (The Ike Kelley Special Teams Award), Donte Whitner (The Arnie Chonko Award), Marcus Green/Quinn Pitcock (The Jack Stephenson Defensive Lineman Award), Ashton Youboty (SAE Award), Santonio Holmes (The Paul Warfield Wide Receiver Award) and Nick Mangold/Rob Sims (The Jim Parker Offensive Lineman Award).

"It's great to win that award," Mangold said. "And what makes it even better is that Robbie and I can share the award. I was thinking about it and if I won that award and he didn't, that's not right, because anything I was able to do was made possible because I had him next to me. It's a real honor to win an award named after such a great guy like Jim Parker."

Buckeye Sports Top Stories