The Awards

It's a week into the new year, but that won't stop us from handing out the hardware in the first annual Awards.

Most Valuable Player: Yvenson Bernard

This one was easy as the three year starter assaulted the school's and the conference's record books finishing his career as one of the best rushers in the Pac-10's illustrious running back history.

Despite missing two games with injuries he topped the 1,200 yard mark for the third consecutive year.  In seven of his eleven starts he rushed for over 100 yards while scoring at least one touchdown in nine of the contests and scoring multiple touchdowns in four of them.

While his rushing statistics are impressive he also chipped in with the passing game catching 36 passes, good for second on the team, for 179 yards and one touchdown. He earned second team All-Pac-10 honors only due to the fact he missed two games with injuries.

His blocking ability is impressive and often overlooked as he saved Sean Canfield or Lyle Moevao several times from an oncoming linebacker.  Another overlooked factor was his intense, but lighthearted attitude.  He was constantly smiling on the field and truly enjoyed playing football in Corvallis.

The Florida native concluded his career with 3,932 yards moving him into sixth place on the Pac-10's career rushing list.  He topped 100 yards in 19 of his 35 career starts as the Beavers won 11 of their last 13 games when he topped the century mark.

Bernard was voted once again a team captain by his teammates as he was named to the Doak Walker and Walker Camp Foundation watch lists.

Mike Riley said time and time again that Bernard was one of the toughest, if not the toughest, player he has ever coached.  It's scary to think what Bernard could have done if he ever went a whole season without an injury.


Most Improved Player: Victor Butler

Butler showed flashes of his play making ability as a sophomore grabbing 3.5 sacks in 14 games a year ago. This year he blew up as he harnessed 25 tackles, including 12.5 for loss and a team high 10.5 sacks, good for third in the Pac-10.

The pass rushing specialist also added one interception that he athletically returned for 30 yards against Washington State, four pass breakups, third on the team, a team high four quarterback hurries and a co-team high two fumbles forced and recovered.


Biggest SurpriseSlade Norris

The OSU offensive lineman gushed about Norris during practice, but few would have guessed the walk-on would have led the Pac-10 in sacks for several weeks.

In 12 games the Jesuit graduate grabbed 16 tackles, including 10 for loss and nine sacks, good for sixth in the conference.


Breakout Player of the Year: Brandon Hughes

The defense now has a lockdown corner and a great player at supporting the run to boot. Hughes committed himself to the weight room in the off season and his time spent hammering away at the weights paid off.

In 13 games the Illinois native grabbed 57 tackles, fifth on the team, seven tackles for loss, two interceptions and a team high 12 pass breakups, seventh in the Pac-10, along with one forced fumble.

He was fantastic at stopping the run fighting through almost any block to make a tackle. At the end of the year teams rarely threw Hughes way.


Freshman of the Year: James Rodgers

Oh baby! There hasn't been this exciting of a player on the Oregon State roster since Tim Alexander made the switch from quarterback to receiver in the late nineties under Mike Riley.

The true freshman far exceeded anyone's wildest dreams as he provided a much needed lift to an offense without game breaker Sammie Stroughter.

He was second on the team in carries with 50 touches for 586 yards and three touchdowns, for a team best 11.7 yards per rush. Rodgers also chipped in on the passing game catching 19 passes for 208 yards, 10.8 yards per catch, with one touchdown.

The 5-foot-7, 179-pound player is also a tenacious blocker and is already giving Pac-10 defensive coordinators nightmares.


First-Time Starter of the Year: Tim Clark

When Keenan Lewis inevitably went down and Tim Clark was called into the game early in the season, it would be safe to say that much of Beaver Nation was nervous.

But the sophomore turned in a fine year tallying 32 tackles, 1.5 for loss, one interception and eight pass breakups, second on the team, in 13 games with three starts.

He got beat bad a few times, but overall was tough against receivers and by the end of the year was playing better than the more experienced Lewis.


Mr. Steady(s): Roy Schuening and Derrick Doggett

There's a reason why the Pride of Pendleton is receiving a ton of post-season press.  The 6-foot-4, 320-pound player was a rock for the offensive line switching back and forth from guard and tackle without skipping a beat.

His 50 straight starts is a testament to his toughness along with him playing while suffering from walking pneumonia. Schuening earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors.

Doggett was everywhere his senior year grabbing a team high 93 stops, including a team best 14 for loss, 10th in the conference.

The second team All-Pac-10 recorded at least one stat in each defensive category, except the subjective quarterback hurry category, as he pulled down three sacks, a team high four interceptions, one fumble forced and recovered, one pass breakup, one blocked kick and one safety.


Unsung Hero AwardHoward Croom, Curtis Coker, William 'Akau'ola Vea, Brandon Powers, Taylor Kavanaugh

It's not surprising that this category filled out quickly since the Beavers pride themselves on being a blue-collared team.

In his first year as a starter Croom did an superb job, mainly in the blocking game, but he showed flashes of play making ability in the passing game hauling in 20 catches for 188 yards and three touchdowns.

Coker was a rock in the middle and is one of those players that is integral to a team's success although it does not show up in the box score. A big reason why the team finished No. 2 in the nation against the run is because of this athlete.

The old man of the ball club 'Akau'ola Vea was a pass rushing specialist who had his finest year as a senior. I can vividly remember him sliding pass the center and guard several times throughout the season as he seemingly was in the backfield before the ball was snapped. He finished with 10 tackles for loss, fifth on the team, along with 3.5 sacks and 23 tackles.

Powers' numbers dropped from his junior and senior year as he caught less passes (31) which equaled less yards (312) and no receiving touchdowns, though he rushed for a TD vs. ASU. But, much like Coker, his worth can't be found in the box score. His blocking ability helped the ground game click and gave the quarterbacks extra time to throw. A BF.C reader also notes he was the leading OSU receiver in the Civil War -- 5 catches, 80 yards -- and threw a key block on James' winning TD run.

Although he was never really a threat to break a punt return for a touchdown Kavanaugh did a fantastic job fielding ball as he rarely fumbled and almost always made the right decision to fair catch the ball or not. He also did a great job as the team's holder.


Warrior Award: Alexis Serna

The senior had one of his roughest years kicking as he missed his last five of six field goals while struggling with punting for the entire year averaging a conference worst 35.4 yards per kick.

But he ended up making a Pac-10 record 144 consecutive extra points and was clutch in several games including the match up with Washington and the Civil War.

Serna ended up as the Pac-10's second career and Oregon State's leading scoring leader with 383 points. He also made a school record 80 career field goals and 140 extra points while matching school records in longest field goal (58) and consecutive field goals made (15).


Comeback Player of the Year: Anthony Brown

The often misaligned athlete finally put together a full year without getting into trouble and as a result led the team in receptions (39) and yards (550).

Unfortunately he played just one snap in the Emerald Bowl as he injured his quadriceps muscle during bowl practice. But he did keep his 42 game streak of starts alive, 10th all-time at OSU, and finished his career as the school's seventh all-time reception leader with 133 catches.


Next Big Thing on Offense: James Rodgers

As a sophomore Rodgers will be one of the featured offensive weapons.

Teams know what he can do, but can they stop him?


Next Big Thing on Defense: Keaton Kristick

Kristick received his first real bulk of playing time recording 15 tackles and one pass breakup in 13 games as a backup.

With no seniors in front of him and the valuable game experience he received this year, it's time for the coaches to let the beast run wild.


Did we miss a player that should be recognized? Have an idea for an award category? Think we're full of crap?

Talk about it on the message board with other Beaver football fans.

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