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Dawgman.com's End of Season Awards

With the Washington Huskies salvaging hopes for a post-season by winning their last two games, they get to play one more at some point in December or January. But the regular season is over, and that means the Dawgman.com staff gets to throw out their end-of-season awards.

Intern Luke Mounger

Offensive Player of the Year – Myles Gaskin. Myles Gaskin emerged as the most consistent source of production for the Huskies, while breaking a few freshman records along the way.

Defensive Player of the Year  - Travis Feeney. It took no time for Travis Feeney to get used to life as the ‘BUCK’ linebacker; he led the team in tackles for a loss and sacks in his final year as a Husky. 

Offensive Lineman of the Year – Coleman Shelton. With a lot of shuffling on the offensive line this season, no player experienced as much movement as Coleman Shelton. He acted as a Swiss army knife filling whatever role he was asked over the course of the season. However, to my dismay, it appears he took a Swiss army knife to his long, flowing hair before the Apple Cup.

Defensive Lineman of the Year – Tani Tupou. Joe Mathis and Elijah Qualls both missed a few games due to injury. Tani Tupou was a consistent force on the defensive line, quietly accumulating four and a half tackles for a loss

Offensive Coach of the Year – Keith Bhonopha. The season did not go how many expected for the tailbacks, but it was productive nonetheless. Bhonopha was able to maximize output from 1000-yard rusher Myles Gaskin as well as Dwayne Washington, who tallied over 600 total yards and seven touchdowns.

Defensive Coach of the Year – Pete Kwiatkowski. Coach K took a defense that lost a wealth of talent, particularly in the front seven, last offseason and turned it into the best scoring defense in the conference.

Offensive Play of the Year – Marvin Hall to Joshua Perkins. The defense had been getting the job done all night for the Huskies. After Sidney Jones got the ball back for Washington, the offense was finally able to capitalize with a little trickery. 

Defensive Play of the Year – Sidney Jones’ interception return for a touchdown. It’s hard to imagine a sweeter sixth win than a 45-10 Apple Cup victory. Sidney Jones’ house call really felt like the deal sealer Friday night.

Special Teams Play of the Year – Tristan Vizcaino chasing down Bralon Addison. After a big third quarter Husky touchdown, Bralon Addison nearly took a kickoff back the distance to answer immediately. Tristan Vizcaino showed off his wheels and prevented Addison from scoring. Oregon would go on to miss a field goal that drive. While Washington didn’t win that game, this play kept them alive. 

Offensive Newcomer of the Year – Myles Gaskin. The freshman back from O’Dea broke freshman records for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

Defensive Newcomer of the Year – Ben Burr-Kirven. Helping replace Azeem Victor for the first half against Oregon, Ben Burr-Kirven recorded his first career sack. He had seven tackles the next week at Stanford. During his true freshman campaign he totaled 34 tackles while seeing some time at linebacker and making consistent contributions on special teams. He opened a lot of eyes with his play this season.

Special Teams Newcomer of the Year – Chico McClatcher. Chico returned 23 kickoffs this year, as well as four punts, and it always felt like he was ready to finally take one the distance. While he never was able to score on a return, his long kick return of 56 yards showed how dangerous he can be as a special teamer.

Most Improved Offensive Player of the Year – Jake Browning. It seemed that week-by-week Jake Browning took at least a small step forward. Husky fans saw a different quarterback Friday night than they did in the season opener against Boise State. While it has been a rough season for the offense, watching Jake Browning develop has truly been a bright spot.

Most Improved Defensive Player of the Year – Azeem Victor. After totaling five tackles last season, Azeem Victor stepped up to the challenge of filling in the opening at middle linebacker, racking up 88 total tackles. He emerged as one of the faces of a Husky defense allowing fewer than 20 points per game.

Most Improved Special Teams Player of the Year – Tristan Vizcaino. Tristan Vizcaino kicked six more touchbacks in three fewer kickoffs this season. He also added about an extra two yards to his average kickoff yardage. Vizcaino also made two potentially touchdown-saving tackles, and even scored a touchdown on a fake field goal.

Most Improved Coach of the Year – Chris Strausser. Coach Strausser didn’t inherit an easy road to success as the offensive line coach. In his second year he had to find ways to replace players like Micah Hatchie, Colin Tanigawa, Dexter Charles, Ben Riva, and James Atoe due to graduation and/or injury. Impressively, he was able to assemble a productive group of young, inexperienced lineman using a little depth at tackle, with Adams, McGary, and Kirkland, and versatility with Coleman Shelton to rotate around Sifa Tufunga, the lone consistency in the trenches.

Recruiting Editor Scott Eklund

Offensive Player of the Year - Myles Gaskin. How could it not be him? Over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns and he only started seven games.

Defensive Player of the Year - Travis Feeney. He was such a huge factor for the defense this season. I had to go with him. 

Offensive Lineman of the Year - Hard to call this one, but I'll go with Coleman Shelton who played four positions along the offensive line this season. Once he settled in at right guard, he played very well down the stretch.

Defensive Lineman of the Year - I'll go with Greg Gaines. He really impressed me with his strength against the run and then his ability to rush the quarterback, something none of us thought would be part of his game.

Offensive Coach of the Year - Chris Strausser. Losing so many starters and having to play a true freshman at left tackle? Strausser probably lost a lot of sleep this season, but his guys played pretty well as the season went along.

Defensive Coach of the Year - Bob Gregory. You could make an argument for any of the defensive coaches, but Gregory got the most out of his guys and turned them into the best LB group in the conference and one of the best in the country. 

Offensive Play of the Year - It wasn't for a lot of yards, but Jake Browning's five-yard completion to Jaydon Mickens on third and four helped seal Washington's stunning win over USC.

Defensive Play of the Year - Keishawn Bierria sacking Cody Kessler for a three-yard loss which caused USC to miss the tying field goal with only a few minutes left, helping to seal the win.

Special Teams Play of the Year - Chico McClatcher making like the 10 yard line on the opening kickoff vs. Oregon State. 

Offensive Newcomer of the Year - Myles Gaskin. First true freshman to ever rush for 1,000 yards. 

Defensive Newcomer of the Year - Greg Gaines. Underrated athlete who can stop the run or rush the quarterback.

Special Teams Newcomer of the Year - Chico McClatcher. He's so close to breaking on, you can see it's going to happen sooner or later.

Most Improved Offensive Player of the Year - Andrew Kirkland. Sure, he had some moments where he was overmatched, but honestly, did anyone think he could start a majority of the season at RT and even make the move to LT when Trey Adams got injured? I sure didn't. 

Most Improved Defensive Player of the Year - Azeem Victor. When he left the game or missed time, you could definitely see a downturn in the physicality of the team. Darren Gardenhire was a very close second.

Most Improved Special Teams Player of the Year - I'll go with Trisan Vizcaino who had 23 touchbacks on his 67 kickoffs this season. Husky fans have been asking for someone that could get the ball into the endzone on a consistent basis and Vizcaino was able to do that.

Most Improved Coach of the Year - As the season went along, Jordan Paopao's tight ends group really asserted themselves. They caught almost everything thrown their way and guys like Drew Sample and Darrell Daniels were very physical blockers down the stretch and you saw the running game really pick up toward the end of the season.

Editor Chris Fetters

Offensive Player of the Year - Jake Browning. Obviously this was a close call with fellow frosh Myles Gaskin, but the offense revolves around the quarterback and Browning lit up all the frosh records. He’s going to be a special one before his time at Montlake is done.

Defensive Player of the Year - Travis Feeney. Another one that was close with Cory Littleton for me - there wasn’t a ton separating the two - but Travis had more tackles for loss, sacks, and forced fumbles, so that’s why I give him the nod. But the two of them really just played smart, consistent football all season long on the edges. 

Offensive Lineman of the Year - Coleman Shelton. Asked to play three different positions along the line this season, the sophomore just got on with his job and was a stabilizing force as the young guys around him grew into their roles. 

Defensive Lineman of the Year - Tani Tupou. The deserved winner of the Guy Flaherty Award was the top tackler on an overachieving defensive line. The senior persevered and led by example.  

Offensive Coach of the Year - Chris Strausser. Working with a new center, a true frosh at left tackle, and no real returning starters at the positions they used to play, the offensive line coach had his work cut out for him. But Strausser has turned the OL into a consistent force, especially the last quarter of the season where the line helped the Huskies gain an average of over 490 yards and score 38 points per game.

Defensive Coach of the Year - Pete Kwiatkowski. What can you say about the defense that hasn’t already been said? Led the league in scoring defense, and he’s the architect. 

Offensive Play of the Year - It was a pretty minor play in the grand scheme, but I’ll take the third down conversion from Jake Browning to Jaydon Mickens that finished off the USC Trojans in Los Angeles. It was as clutch as it gets.

Defensive Play of the Year - From the same USC win, Darren Gardenhire’s pick off Cody Kessler on the Trojans’ first series of the game. It set the tone and showed the Huskies could stay with USC from the get-go.

Special Teams Play of the Year - Dante Pettis’ punt return at Boise State. With nothing going on offensively, the return for a touchdown gave Washington a spark and nearly got them back in the game, a game they should have sent to overtime at the very least.

Offensive Newcomer of the Year - Myles Gaskin. With Browning having a spring under his belt, it was Gaskin who exploded onto the scene and really made a statement, going from a player the coaches weren’t sure was going to play to one that ran for over 1100 yards. Impressive. 

Defensive Newcomer of the Year - Greg Gaines. Probably the most impressive redshirt freshman this season on either side of the ball, Gaines took over when Elijah Qualls needed a break and there was absolutely no drop-off in production. 

Special Teams Newcomer of the Year - Chico McClatcher. Can’t tell you how many times I heard Jeff Choate talk about how close McClatcher was to breaking a return. Will it happen in the bowl game? Wouldn’t bet against it.

Most Improved Offensive Player of the Year - Jake Eldrenkamp. Did you know the junior left guard played in all 14 games of the 2014 season? He did, but most of his work came on special teams. But the former Bellevue star came of age this year and became a stalwart at left guard after working at left tackle for two seasons. 

Most Improved Defensive Player of the Year - Brian Clay. Went from being a spot contributor in 2014 to a full-time starter in 2015, missing only the Stanford game. Finished top-4 on the team in tackles.Most Improved Special Teams Player of the Year - Tristan Vizcaino. Upped his percentage of touchbacks by a third (23 percent to 34 percent of his kickoffs weren’t returned) from 2014, and also showed he can make a tackle when needed and also score a touchdown. 

Most Improved Coach of the Year - Jimmy Lake. Granted, his defensive backs group was young last year and pretty much got thrown into the fire, but there was no guarantee they would step up and be anywhere near as dominant in the pass game as they were in 2015. They gave up nine passing touchdowns in 12 games. Nine. In the Pac-12? That’s ridiculous.

CEO Kim Grinolds

Offensive Player of the Year - Jake Browning. He just continued to get better as the season progressed. Tough for a freshman to control the huddle and lead the team. he did it.

Defensive Player of the Year - Azeem Victor. He added a physical presence to the defense we haven't seen in years. He added the boom.
Offensive Lineman of the Year - Coleman Shelton. He wasn't spectacular. He was just steady all year  on a very young line.

Defensive Lineman of the Year - Elijah Qualls. He missed the last few games but did a great job anchoring the middle.
Offensive Coach of the Year - Jonathan Smith. Despite his critics, he did a great job with freshman quarterback Jake Browning. The better Jake played, the better his play calling. Coincidence?
Defensive Coach of the Year - Pete Kwiatkowski. The schemes he implemented and coordinated resulted in the best defense in the conference.
Offensive Play of the Year - Myles Gaskin's 78-yard run versus Sacramento State. Signaled his arrival as a special back.
Defensive Play of the Year - Sidney Jones' interception in the Apple Cup returned for a touchdown. It sucked the life out of WSU.
Special Teams Play of the Year - Tristan Vizcaino's fake field goal for a touchdown against Utah State.
Offensive Newcomer of the Year - Jake Browning.
Defensive Newcomer of the Year - Greg Gaines. He became a force replacing the injured Elijah Qualls
Special Teams Newcomer of the Year - Chico McClatcher. 
Most Improved Offensive Player of the Year - Coleman Shelton. He had to. He did.
Most Improved Defensive Player of the Year - Azeem Victor. The ability was there. Once he got the playbook down, he became a force.
Most Improved Special Teams Player of the Year - Tristan Vizcaino. His ability to get kickoffs in to the end zone was huge this year.
Most Improved Coach of the Year - Pete Kwiatkowski. Best defense in the conference after losing four players in the first 44 picks to the NFL.

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