Stanton Named 2006 Spartan Football MVP
Nov. 21, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State fifth-year senior quarterback Drew Stanton, who accounted for 2,252 total yards and 17 touchdowns in 2006, was selected Most Valuable Player by his teammates at the Spartan Football Senior Awards Banquet, held Monday, Nov. 20 at the LaSalle Bank Club in Spartan Stadium. Stanton became the first Spartan quarterback to win team MVP honors twice since inception of the Governor's Award in 1931. He also earned the team's top individual award following the 2004 season.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Stanton was named one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually since 1987 to the nation's top senior quarterback. He completed 61 percent of his throws (164 of 269) for 1,807 yards, 12 TDs and 10 interceptions in 2006. Stanton also rushed 110 times for 445 yards and five scores. The Farmington Hills, Mich., native started 24 consecutive games at quarterback before sitting out the season finale at Penn State (suffered a concussion midway through the first quarter Nov. 11 vs. Minnesota).
He shared Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors (with Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith) after accounting for 331 total yards and three scores in engineering the greatest comeback in NCAA I-A history as Michigan State rallied from a 35-point third-quarter deficit for a 41-38 victory at Northwestern. Stanton recorded his fourth 200-yard passing game of the season against the Wildcats, completing 27-of-37 throws for 294 yards and two TDs. He finished off a seven-play, 60-yard drive with a 12-yard TD run as MSU cut its deficit to 38-31 with 7:54 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Spartans tied the score at 38 on his 9-yard TD strike to T.J. Williams in the back, right corner of the end zone with 3:43 to play. Stanton completed 18-of-25 passes for 203 yards in the second half.
His other 200-yard passing efforts came against Michigan (252), Eastern Michigan (254) and Idaho (225).
Stanton accounted for 303 total yards and three TDs to lead Michigan State to a 38-23 victory at Pittsburgh. He completed 16-of-25 passes for 198 yards, including scoring strikes of 2 yards to Kellen Davis and 12 yards to Kerry Reed. Stanton also recorded his third career 100-yard rushing game, gaining 105 yards on 13 carries against the Panthers including a 1-yard TD run.
He ranks among MSU's career leaders in completion percentage (first at .642), pass completions (second at 543), pass attempts (second at 846), passing yards (second at 6,524), total offense (second at 8,036 yards), 200-yard passing games (second at 18), passing efficiency rating (third at 138.7) and TD passes (fifth at 42). Stanton also is listed among the Big Ten's career leaders in completion percentage (third).
"Drew Stanton has been the face of this football program for the last three years," MSU head coach John L. Smith said. "He's a great, great competitor, and you really have to consider his body of work to fully appreciate what he's accomplished during his career. Drew's name appears throughout the Spartan record book."
Stanton also received the MSU Football Players Association's Community Service & Outreach Award. He started the "Special Teams" program at Heartwood Schools in Mason, Mich., hosting field and spirit days for special needs children. Stanton participated in "Jump Start Your Heart," jumping rope with elementary school children to promote exercise and healthy living. He spoke at an assembly for the entire Grand Ledge Middle School to discuss the importance of leadership, teamwork and education. In addition, Stanton has participated in Teams for Toys, Athletes 4 Kids and SPYN Awards (student-athlete lip sync contest) to benefit the Children's Miracle Network.
Senior offensive lineman Kyle Cook, who graded out 91 percent or higher in each game, earned the Downtown Coaches Club Award as the outstanding offensive player. He started all 12 games in 2006, including the first nine games at center and the last three games at left guard. Cook, who led the team in pancake blocks (48) for the second-straight year, allowed only 1.5 sacks in approximately 400 passing plays.
The Macomb, Mich., native played a near-perfect game against Purdue, scoring 99 percent with four pancakes. Cook graded 98 percent each against Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Eastern Michigan. He scored 97 percent each against Penn State and Michigan, while recording a season-best seven pancake blocks in each contest. Cook produced a score of 96 percent (5 pancakes) against Pittsburgh as the Spartans amassed 533 total yards, including 355 yards on the ground. He graded 98 percent (6 pancakes) against Eastern Michigan as Michigan State rolled up a season-best 586 total yards.
The 6-3, 295-pound Cook started 35 consecutive games for the Spartans (26 at left guard and nine at center). He proved to be a model of consistency, grading out 90 percent or better in 35 of 38 career games played. Cook recorded 157 career pancakes.
"First and foremost, Kyle Cook plays the game with an attitude," Smith said. "He plays hard every snap - in practice and on Saturdays - so he's been a great leader. Kyle is an outstanding football player because of his work ethic, intelligence and versatility. Out of necessity, he's seen a lot of action at both center and guard this season. I truly believe that Kyle could line up and play almost anywhere up front. He definitely has a chance to play at the next level."
Sophomore free safety Otis Wiley, who led the Spartans in tackles (94 total), production points (165) and pass break-ups (10), won the Downtown Coaches Club Award as the outstanding defensive player. He finished the regular season ranked seventh in the Big Ten in tackles, averaging 7.8 per game. The 6-2, 209-pound Wiley also ranked third on the team in tackles for losses (6.5 for 17 yards).
The Flint, Mich., native had six tackles and a career-best four pass break-ups in the season finale at Penn State. Wiley reached double figures in tackles three times in 2006, including 10 stops against top-ranked Ohio State, 11 against Illinois and a career-best 12 against Idaho in his first career start.
"There's no question that Otis Wiley is our defensive MVP," Smith said. "He's been a model of consistency this season, both in terms of tackles and production points. Otis makes plays all over the field. In addition to his productivity, I appreciate his skills as a communicator, making sure his teammates line up properly and do the right things."
Placekicker Brett Swenson, who led the team in scoring as a true freshman with 78 points, received the Downtown Coaches Club Award as the outstanding special teams player. The 5-8, 151-pound Swenson converted 15-of-19 field-goal attempts and all 33 extra-point tries. His 15 made field goals represent the ninth-best single-season total in Spartan history (tied with Morten Andersen, 1981). He finished the regular season ranked among the Big Ten leaders in field goals (tied for third with 1.25 made per game), field-goal percentage (tied for third at .789), kick scoring (fourth at 6.5 points per game) and overall scoring (tied for seventh).
Swenson converted 12-of-13 field-goal attempts during a late-season stretch, including six in a row. He also hit six-straight field goals during a five-game stretch early in the season.
The Pompano Beach, Fla., native was perfect on three field-goal attempts against Purdue, including a season-long 46-yarder in the second quarter. Swenson was named one of the Lou Groza Award's Top Three Stars of the Week after his 28-yard field goal with 13 seconds left gave Michigan State a 41-38 victory at Northwestern, completing the greatest comeback in NCAA I-A history as the Spartans rallied from a 35-point third-quarter deficit.
"Brett Swenson had a dynamite freshman year," Smith said. "He gets the ball off quickly and kicks with tremendous accuracy. Brett was the most consistent kicker during my tenure at Michigan State - he was almost automatic. He also produced in clutch situations this season. Brett has a bright future."
Sophomore Javon Ringer, who led the Spartans in rushing (497 yards) despite missing four-plus games with a knee injury, earned the Biggie Munn Award as the team's most inspirational player. Through five games, Ringer ranked among the Big Ten leaders in both all-purpose yards (fifth at 120.2 yards per game) and rushing (sixth at 87.6 ypg.). He recorded back-to-back 100-yard rushing games against Eastern Michigan (130) and Pittsburgh (season-high 156). The 5-9, 198-pound Ringer appeared to suffer a season-ending knee injury early in the second quarter against Illinois, but after four weeks of intensive rehabilitation, he returned to the lineup for the last three games.
"Javon Ringer is a special player and a special young man," Smith said. "He has incredible heart and courage. After suffering what appeared to be a season-ending knee injury, Javon willed himself back onto the playing field. He worked his tail off, so he could go to the field and compete with his teammates."
Senior linebacker David Herron Jr., who ranked second on the Spartans in tackles (79) and production points (149) in 2006, received the Clarence J. Underwood Jr. Sportsmanship Award. The 6-1, 245-pound Herron led the team in tackles for losses (7 for 25 yards). He also posted double figures in tackles twice, with 10 stops against Minnesota and a season-high 12 against Illinois.
Three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection Kiel Beltinck, who owns a 3.68 grade-point average in human biology, was presented the Potsy Ross Award as the team's top scholar-athlete. The 5-9, 199-pound Beltinck led the special teams in production points (155) for the second-straight year. He compiled 20 or more production points in three games (20 vs. Notre Dame, 28 vs. Indiana and 22 vs. Minnesota). The fourth-year walk-on defensive back (bandit position) recorded six tackles, including three solo hits.
Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year David Williams (Monroeville, Pa.) and Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year Eric Gordon (Traverse City, Mich.) were named co-recipients of the Jim Adams Award as the team's unsung heroes. Williams, a 5-9, 168-pound freshman wide receiver, earned Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week honors prior to the Ohio State game. Gordon, a 6-0, 215-pound freshman linebacker, won Scout Team Defensive Player of the Week honors prior to the Penn State game.
Here's a complete list of awards presented at the 2006 Spartan Football Senior Awards Banquet:
Cowing Award (Senior Manager): Kevin McClatchey (Traverse City, Mich.)
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