Seniors Honored At Annual Banquet

The OSU coaching and support staffs along with generous sponsors including Steve Austin, Gary Bridwell, Mike Brown, Greg Bullard, Ken Davidson, Rex Horning, Kent and Barbara Houck, Doug and Betsy Koontz, Ricky and Suzanne Maxwell, Bob Norris, Jeff Smith, Joe Martin, and TLC florists honored the winningest senior class in Cowboy football history on Sunday night at the Senior Football Banquet.

The two and half hour event was a blast as it was spiced with anecdotes from head coach Mike Gundy and some of the seniors themselves and Master of Ceremonies Dave Hunziker.

Early on there was the presentation of two special game balls. Actual football used from the games and co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer there with his sons Luke and Abraham was presented a game ball for the win at Texas A&M. Spencer and his sons joined the team after returning from Georgia where they had buried their wife and mother, Angela Spencer, who had died of a heart disease the previous Saturday when Spencer was called back from Stillwater during the weather delayed Tulsa game. It was a touching moment and Spencer and his sons received a standing ovation.

Coach Gundy was presented with a game ball from the Tulsa game as that was his 50th coaching win since taking over as head coach at Oklahoma State.

Among the awards presented were:

Dr. L.L. Boger Award for Scholarship - Jamie Blatnick, Sr., DE

Barry Sanders Award for Most Contribution with Least Recognition - Nick Martinez, Sr., OL and Caleb Lavey, So., LB

Vernon Grant Award for Team Spirit - Kye Staley, Jr., FB and Cooper Bassett, Jr., DE

Russell Okung Newcomer of the Year - Alex Elkins, Jr., LB and Michael Bowie, Jr., OT

Thurman Thomas Offensive MVP - Grant Garner, Sr., C and Justin Blackmon, Jr., WR

Leslie O'Neal Defensive MVP - Markelle Martin, Sr., SS and Brodrick Brown, Jr., CB

Special Team MVP - Quinn Sharp, Jr., K/P and Kyle Hale, Sr., All Purpose

Bob Fenimore Team MVP - Brandon Weeden, Sr., QB and Jamie Blatnick, Sr., DE

Senior defensive end Richetti Jones was the speaker for the senior class and he was outstanding in pointing out the lessons learned over their 4-5 years at OSU. He said he would not have wanted to experience it with any other group than the class of seniors. He said he understands the phrase, "only the strong survive," because so many players did not make it to be seniors. He also said he valued the life lessons learned and it helped his class lead the program to be champions. He encouraged the younger players to embrace those same lessons.

The captain of 2011 were honored. Those five players voted by the squad are Justin Blackmon, Brandon Weeden, Jamie Blatnick, Markelle Martin, and Quinn Sharp.

Gundy addressed each senior personally and praised the class as a whole as the best to ever come through Oklahoma State.

The banquet was the debut of the first cut of the 2011 Oklahoma State Football Highlight video which has the title "Making Dreams A Reality."

After the video, the seniors and the crowd sang the Alma Mater together. Now it is on to finals, but then after that and Christmas it is on to the Fiesta Bowl to work on beating Stanford.

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