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2009 Spartan Football Awards Banquet Recap

Nov. 22, 2009


EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior placekicker Brett Swenson, who ranks as the school's all-time leading scorer with 370 career points, has been selected Most Valuable Player (Governor's Award recipient) by his teammates at the Spartan Football Awards Banquet, held Sunday, Nov. 22 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center before a crowd in excess of 800. Swenson's selection marks the first time in the 79-year history of the Governor's Award that a placekicker has earned the team's top individual honor.

Here's a complete list of hardware presented at the 2009 Spartan Football Awards Banquet:

Cowing Award (Manager): Vince Herzog (Grand Blanc, Mich.)

Con Demos Scholarship Award (Manager): Eric Swanson (Troy, Mich.)

Jim Adams Award (Unsung Hero): Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year - Andrew Maxwell; Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year - Dana Dixon
Andrew Maxwell
• Selected Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week for Purdue game.
Dana Dixon
• Named Scout Team Defensive Player of the Week for Illinois game.

Iron Man Award (Strength & Conditioning): Andrew Hawken
• Starting fullback has played in 48 career games.
• Had his best year as a blocker during his senior season.
• Named to the Academic All-District Team for his 3.44 GPA in supply chain management.
• Had a career-high 12 receptions this season, including a touchdown in the win at Purdue.

Potsy Ross Award (Scholar-Athlete): Blair White
• Named to Academic All-District First Team, graduated last May with a 3.89 GPA in human biology.
• Has already been accepted into the University of Detroit Mercy's School of Denistry.
• Will soon be named to the Academic All-Big Ten Team for the fourth consecutive year.
• Named one of 12 finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy (presented to college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic & athletic achievement).

Tommy Love Award (Most Improved Player): Colin Neely
• Started every game at defensive end this season, recording career highs in tackles (24), tackles for loss (7) and sacks (3).
• Ranked fifth on the team in tackles for loss.
• Came up with the biggest stop of the game to preserve the win at Purdue, sacking Boilermaker quarterback Joey Elliott for a 13-yard loss on a fourth-and-6 play on the MSU 47-yard line with under a minute remaining.
• Recorded a career-high 2.5 tackles for loss at Minnesota.

Clarence J. Underwood Jr. Sportsmanship Award: Danny Fortener
• Started eight games this season and recorded 49 tackles.
• Named Spartan Defensive Player of the Week after returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown in the win at Illinois. Also produced 10 tackles against the Fighting Illini.
• In the overtime win over Michigan, tipped Tate Forcier's pass in the end zone, leading to Chris L. Rucker's interception.
• On senior day, recorded 10 tackles against Penn State.

MSU Football Players Association's Community Service & Outreach Award: Ross Weaver
• Has been a fixture in the Spartan secondary his entire career, having played in 40 career games, including 16 starts.
• Has recorded 12 career pass break-ups and 77 career tackles.
• Showed leadership throughout his senior year and was elected one of four team captains.
• Volunteered for the Sparrow Children's Miracle Network Telethon last May.

Outstanding Underclass Lineman Award: Charlie Gantt
• Recorded career highs in catches (20) and receiving yards (314), which also led all Spartan tight ends.
• Caught two touchdown passes, including an acrobatic catch in the end zone vs. Penn State that was listed among ESPN's Top 10 Plays of the Day.
• Consistent player has started every game at tight end the past two seasons.
• Named to the midseason watch list for the Mackey Award, which is presented to the nation's top tight end.

Outstanding Underclass Back Award: Greg Jones
• Leads the Big Ten and ranks second in the nation with 141 tackles, which is the eighth-highest single-season total in school history.
• Also ranks fourth in the Big Ten with his career-high nine sacks and is tied for eighth with 13.5 tackles for loss.
• Named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and the Bednarik Award.
• First Spartan to record back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since 2003-04 when both Ronald Stanley and Jason Harmon accomplished the milestone.
• Has started a team-high 26 straight games at linebacker.
• Ranks tied for ninth in school history with 346 career tackles.
• Ranks fifth in school history with 36 career tackles for loss and tied for sixth with 15.5 career sacks.
• Has reached double-figures in tackles in eight games this season and 15 of his last 19 overall.
• Has led the team or tied for the team lead in tackles in 22 of the last 25 games.

Up Front Award (Outstanding Offensive Lineman): Joel Nitchman
• Has been the team's starting center for the past three seasons.
• Most experienced member of the offensive line, having played in 34 career games including 29 starts at center and 30 starts overall.
• Anchors an offensive line that helped MSU lead the Big Ten in passing offense (271.3 yards per game) while ranking second in total offense (407.1 ypg.) and third in scoring offense (29.6 points per game).
• Didn't allow a sack during the regular season, and MSU allowed only 13 sacks - fewest in the Big Ten.
• Named Lineman of the Week in the win over Illinois.

Downtown Coaches Club Award - Outstanding Senior Defensive: Trevor Anderson
• Led the defensive line with a career-high 45 tackles.
• Ranks second on the team in tackles for loss (7.5) and sacks (4).
• Has played in 49 career games, including 42 starts. While at Michigan State, he has played in 25 games with 22 starts.

Downtown Coaches Club Award - Outstanding Senior Offense: Blair White
• Leads the Big Ten with eight touchdown receptions; that mark is also tied for fourth-most in school history.
• Recorded career highs his senior year and led the team with 64 receptions and 876 receiving yards; both of those marks rank among the Top 10 Spartan single-season leaders.
• Started every game this season and has played in 39 career games.
• Has caught at least one pass in 23 consecutive games.
• Named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week and National Wide Receiver of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards after recording career highs in both catches (12) and receiving yards (186) against Northwestern. The 12 catches (fourth) and 186 receiving yards (10th) rank among the top single-game totals in Spartan history.

Downtown Coaches Club Award - Outstanding Senior Special Teams: Brett Swenson
• All-America candidate is one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award.
• Ranks as Michigan State's all-time leader in field goals (70), points scored (370) and extra points (160).
• Ranks first among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players in points scored and is tied for second in field goals.
• His 70 career field goals rank fourth in Big Ten history.
• Leads the Big Ten in scoring (7.8 points per game) and field-goal percentage (90 percent) and is tied for first in field goals (18).
• Has converted 18-for-20 field-goal attempts and 40-for-41 in extra-point tries this season.
• Named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on all four of his field-goal attempts at Purdue, including a 21-yard game-winner as the Spartans rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 40-37 victory over the Boilermakers.
• In addition, he was named National Placekicker of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards and one of the Lou Groza Award's Top Three Stars of the Week for matching his career highs with 16 points and four field goals against the Boilermakers.
• Has kicked three game-winning field goals (2006 vs. Northwestern; 2008 vs. Wisconsin; 2009 vs. Purdue).

Danziger Award (Outstanding Detroit-Area Player): Keshawn Martin
• Explosive player and big-play threat leads team with more than 1,200 all-purpose yards.
• Only player in the nation who has scored touchdowns of 80 or more yards three different ways (93-yard kick return vs. Minnesota; 91-yard reception vs. Wisconsin; 84-yard run vs. Minnesota).
• Has scored six touchdowns this season, with five of them being for 48 yards or longer.
• Also leads team in kick return yards and punt return yards.
• Led the team in yards per carry (13.5 avg.) and yards per catch (23.2 avg.).
• In conference games, led the Big Ten in kick return average.
• Named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after collecting 284 all-purpose yards at Minnesota, the highest single-game figure in the Big Ten this season. It also marked the sixth-highest single-game total in school history.
• His 85-yard kick return late in the fourth quarter at Purdue led to Brett Swenson's game-winning field goal.

Doug Weaver Oil Can Award (Team Humorist): Jeremy Ware

Biggie Munn Award (Most Inspirational Player): Offense - Kirk Cousins; Defense - Trevor Anderson
Kirk Cousins
• Ranks second in the Big Ten and 19th in the nation in passing efficiency.
• Started in 11 of 12 games - averaged 223.6 yards passing per game in his starts.
• Ranks sixth in the Big Ten in passing (205.0 ypg.) and seventh in total offense (208.5 ypg.).
• His 18 touchdown passes are third most in the conference and tied for eighth-most in school history.
• Also ranked among the Top 10 Spartan single-season leaders in passing yards (2,460 yards - seventh) and pass completions (185 - seventh).
• Threw seven 200-yard passing games, including five consecutive during one late-season stretch.
• Passed for a career-high 353 yards vs. Western Michigan, which ranks as the seventh-highest single-game total in MSU history. His passing efficiency mark in that game was the top mark by a Big Ten quarterback this season.

President's Award (Perseverance): Senior Lineman - Rocco Cironi; Senior Back - Jeremy Ware
Rocco Cironi
• One of the team's most experienced and dependable offensive lineman has started every game (25) the past two years at left tackle.
• Has appeared in 35 career games, including 27 starts at left tackle.
• Named Lineman of the Week vs. Michigan.

Jeremy Ware
• Started every game this season at field corner.
• Recorded a career-high 46 tackles and ranked second on the team with five pass break-ups.
• Had a career-high 10 tackles in the win over Northwestern.
• After transferring from South Carolina and only playing in one game due to an injury in 2007, battled back to earn a spot in the starting rotation. Has played in 25 career games, including 16 starts. In his first career start at Northwestern last season, he tied a school record with five pass break-ups.

Governor's Award (Most Valuable Player): Brett Swenson
• His selection marks the first time in the 79-year history of the award that a placekicker has been named team MVP.

Captain's Awards: Kirk Cousins, Greg Jones, Ross Weaver, Blair White



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