Of all the awards, the hardest choice to make. The MVP is usually handed out to one player, but it is hard to talk about Butler without Norris and visa versa.
Butler and Norris were a two man wrecking crew on the defensive side of the ball -- the two combined for a stunning 40 tackles for loss with 22 sacks. That represents 36 percent of the team's TFLs and 56 percent of the Beaver sacks. Throw in seven forced fumbles and 122 total tackles between them -- to go along with no injuries -- and you have one of the most potent, dependable defensive end duos in OSU history.
The tandem was instrumental in the Beavers' defensive success against both run and pass as Butler finishes his career second on OSU's all time sack list while Norris finishes fourth. Not bad for a couple guys who didn't become full time starters until this season.
Honorable mention: RB Jacquizz Rodgers, WR James Rodgers
Most Improved Player | WR Shane Morales
Awarded to the player who improved the most from the previous season.
Beaver fans who watched spring drills and fall camp saw this one coming. Morales was a man on a mission as he impressed coaches, teammates and onlookers by consistently getting open and rarely dropping a pass. His success on the practice field before the '08 campaign translated to a cadre of standout Saturdays as he snared 54 catches for 743 yards, (13.8 ypc), both totals good for second on the team. He also grabbed a team high eight touchdown receptions in his first year as a starter.
Honorable mention: WR James Rodgers
Best Surprise | DT
Awarded to the player who made the most surprising positive impact on the field.
Although junior college transfers are expected to come in and compete for a spot on the two deeps immediately, rarely does one make such an abrupt impact as Paea. The 6-foot-1, 301-pounder had a standout spring as he picked up the defensive schemes quickly and earned a starting role.
His breakout game came against Hawaii, where he spent almost as much time in the backfield as the UH backs. But it was Utah where he truly shined, posting five tackles, including the first two sacks of his career where he ran down the QB from behind. For the year, Paea finished eighth on the team in tackles (41), fourth in tackles for loss (11) and third in sacks (5) -- heady stuff for an interior defensive lineman.
Honorable mention: RB Jacquizz Rodgers, S Greg Laybourn
Breakout Player of the Year | RB Jacquizz Rodgers
Awarded to the player who made a huge impact and looks ready to re-write the program record books.
The true freshman rumbled for a Pac-10 freshman record 1,253 yards on 259 carries (4.8 ypc) -- despite missing one and a half games plus the Sun Bowl with a fractured scapula. He earned Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors, a first for a freshman in the Conference of Champions, and was just one of three unanimous first team all-conference selections.
Honorable mention: DT Stephen Paea
Freshman of the Year | RB Jacquizz Rodgers
Awarded to the top performing true or redshirt freshman.
In just his first season, Rodgers is already one of the most decorated players in the program's history. Besides earning Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and first team honors, he was named CBSSports.com Freshman of the Year and named to the Associated Press's All-American third team.
Honorable mention: SN Marcus Perry
First-Time Starter of the Year |
OT Mike Remmers
Awarded to the player who starts for the first time in their career and performs better than expected.
Despite starting just seven games, Remmers, an invited walk-on, filled in splendidly at left tackle until Tavita Thompson was eligible to play. He was an integral part of the dominating performance against USC up front -- and Quizz's record setting season. Although he struggled at times, he was never a liability on the offensive line despite having minimal time to prepare. The success and confidence he gained this season, plus a winter, spring and summer in the weight room, will help markedly as he transitions into a fulltime starter in 2009.
Honorable mention: C Alex Linnenkohl, DT Stephen Paea
Mr. Steady | OT Andy Levitre
Awarded to the player who continually played at a high level and was instrumental in OSU's success.
The 6-foot-3, 317 pound offensive lineman did a little bit of everything during
his career at Oregon State, starting
out at guard before moving to tackle. He shined brightest his senior year, earning
first team All-Pac-10 honors and capped his OSU career with 34 consecutive starts.
Levitre was a rock on the left side of the line and ends his time in Corvallis
as one of the most decorated offensive lineman in Oregon State football annals.
He was named a first team AFCA and Pro Football Weekly All-American, and a second
team AP All-American. OSU offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh says he
is the best lineman he has ever coached -- high praise indeed.
Honorable mention: CB Brandon Hughes, CB Keenan Lewis, S Greg Laybourn
Unsung Hero Award | DT Pernell Booth
Awarded to the player who toiled in relative obscurity compared to others who saw more limelight but was a key contributor to OSU's success.
Defensive line coach Joe Seumalo said that much of Paea's success can be attributed to the 302-pound Booth demanding double teams and causing mismatches for Paea and truer words were never spoken. Like most d-tackles, Booth didn't get a lot of stats, recording 21 tackles, but he continued to plug away, occupy linemen and that let his teammates make the big plays.
Honorable mention: S Al Afalava, TE Howard
Croom, TE Brady Camp
Warrior Award | P Johnny Hekker
Awarded to the player who battles through a difficult start and finishes the season strong.
After having his first collegiate punt blocked, and struggling for a good portion of the year with a conference worsst 35.9 average through eight games, Hekker finally hit his stride against UCLA, booming and average 48.8 yards per kick. The former quarterback saved his best for last, earning Special Teams Player of the Game honors in the Sun Bowl as he booted 10 punts for a 45.0 average with half of his kicks landing inside the 20.
Honorable mention: LB Bryant Cornell
Comeback Player of the Year | WR
Awarded to the player who was slowed down by injury or sat out the previous season and came back strong.
Although the offense was loaded with playmakers, Stroughter was still the go to man when the Beavs needed a big play, particularly down the stretch. Even though he sat out nearly a full year of football in '07, Stroughter returned to eclipse the 1,000 yard receiving mark in '08, making him just the third player in school history to have at least two 1,000 yard receiving seasons. Stroughter finished his OSU career as the school's third leading receiver in both receptions and yards while finishing seventh in career touchdowns (14).
Honorable mention: None
Next Big Thing on Offense |
RB Jeremy Francis
Awarded to the offensive player who had a solid year in a secondary role, but looks poised to have a big impact next season.
There's still some doubt if Francis will return as he tends to his ailing mother but if he does, the Beavs found a versatile playmaker in the final games of the season. With Ryan McCants not quite ready carry some of the offensive load, and concerns about Quizz getting banged up if he has to heft too many carries, it was nice to see Francis step up and show he is capable of shouldering some of the offensive load in 2009.
Francis showed patience on the outside runs, toughness between the tackles and solid hands in the receiving game with an innate ability to make yards after the catch. He won't be called upon to carry the team unless disaster strikes, but the coaches now know they have a capable back who can carry the ball 8-10 times a game and make plays in prime time.
Honorable mention: WR James Rodgers
Next Big Thing on Defense | MLB
Awarded to the defensive player who had a solid year in a secondary role, but looks poised to have a big impact next season.
Despite not starting one game, Roberson tallied 61 tackles, good for fourth on the team, 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. His three forced fumbles were good for second on the team. His physical play and penchant for being around the ball could well push him into a starting role in 2009.
Honorable mention: LB David Pa'aluhi, CB Brandon Hardin
Think we missed on an award? Think there was a player who should have been recognized? Have another award category and a player to name?
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View 2007's BF.com Awards by clicking here.