2011 Spartan Football Awards Banquet Recap
B.J. Cunningham named Most Valuable Player by his teammates.
Dec. 5, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Senior wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State's all-time leader in receptions (211) and receiving yards (3,020), has been selected Most Valuable Player (Governor's Award recipient) by his teammates at the annual Spartan Football Awards Banquet, held Sunday, Dec. 4 before a crowd in excess of 900 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. Cunningham becomes the first wide receiver to earn the Governor's Award since Charles Rogers in 2002.
Here's a complete list of hardware presented at the 2011 Spartan Football Awards Banquet:
Governor's Award (Most Valuable Player): Wide Receiver B.J. Cunningham
Michigan State's all-time leader in receptions (211) and receiving yards (3,020) . . . also ranks second in MSU history with 25 receiving touchdowns and third with 10 100-yard receiving games . . . second-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media . . . ranks seventh in Big Ten history in receptions . . . is having a career year his senior season, ranking among MSU's single-season leaders in receptions (second with 72), TD receptions (tied for third with 12) and receiving yards (fourth with 1,240) . . . set a school record this season with eight 100-yard receiving games . . . fifty-three of his 72 catches (74 percent) have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown . . . has 20 catches of 20-plus yards . . . had a career-high three TD receptions in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin and became MSU's all-time leader in receiving yards on a 44-yard TD reception in the third quarter . . . set MSU's career record for receptions in the Florida Atlantic game with his 149th catch; Cunningham now has 63 more receptions than Matt Trannon, who previously held the MSU receptions mark . . . playing in his home state of Ohio, helped lead MSU to a 10-7 win at Ohio State on Oct. 1 as he had 154 receiving yards on nine catches against the Buckeyes, the most receiving yards ever by a Spartan against OSU . . . recorded career highs in receptions (12) and receiving yards (158) at Notre Dame on Sept. 17.
Downtown Coaches Club Award - Outstanding Senior Offense: Quarterback Kirk Cousins, Wide Receiver B.J. Cunningham
Quarterback Kirk Cousins
Only the second three-time captain in MSU history (Robert McCurry, 1946-48) . . . is the winningest quarterback in Spartan history (26 victories) . . . has compiled a 26-12 record (.684) as the starting quarterback, including a 21-5 mark the past two seasons . . . is MSU's career record holder in passing touchdowns (65) and completions (696) . . . his 65 career passing touchdowns are 10th most in Big Ten history . . . has completed 64.6 percent of his passes (696-for-1078), which currently ranks first in MSU history and third in Big Ten history . . . his 148.3 passing efficiency rating is also first in the MSU record book and fourth in Big Ten history . . . also ranks among MSU's career leaders in passing yards (second with 8,831 yards), pass attempts (second with 1,078) and total offense (second with 8,681 yards) . . . has thrown for more than 200 yards in a school-record 25 games . . . set MSU's single-season passing touchdown record in 2011 with 24, passing Drew Stanton, who threw 22 TDs in 2005 ... has 3,016 passing yards this season, becoming just the third Spartan quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season, joining Jeff Smoker (3,395 in 2003) and Drew Stanton (3,077 in 2005) . . . also ranks among MSU's single-season leaders in pass completions (second with 240) and pass attempts (third with 369) . . . earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades by the coaches; honorable mention selection by the media . . . named MSU's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient . . . has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 12 of MSU's 13 games this season . . . ranks among the Big Ten leaders in touchdown passes (second with 24), passing (third with 232.0 ypg.), passing efficiency (third with 151.4 rating) and total offense (sixth with 227.2 ypg.) . . . CoSIDA Academic All-District V selection . . . named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and one of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award . . . named one of 13 finalists for the second year in a row for the Wuerrfel Trophy, a national award that honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement . . . named to the 2011 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Class; will receive a $18,000 post-graduate scholarship and is one of 16 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the top scholar-athlete in the nation; owns a 3.68 GPA in kinesiology and is scheduled to graduate in December.
Downtown Coaches Club Award - Outstanding Senior Defense: Safety Trenton Robinson
Voted a captain by his teammates . . . first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and a honorable mention pick by the coaches . . . tied for the Big Ten lead with four interceptions . . . third on the team with 74 tackles and six passes defended (four interceptions; two pass break-ups) . . . has started 24 consecutive games at free safety . . . his nine career interceptions are tied for 12th most in MSU history . . . has 223 career tackles in 45 career games, including 32 starts . . . recorded a season-high 12 tackles against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Downtown Coaches Club Award - Outstanding Senior Special Teams: Wide Receiver/Punt Returner Keshawn Martin
Electrifying fourth-year player ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in punt return yards (second with 656), kick return yards (eighth with 1,085), all-purpose yards (11th with 3,968), receptions (12 th with 123), pass reception touchdowns (tied for 17th with 10) and receiving yards (17th with 1,679) . . . has been a part of 17 total touchdowns in his career (10 receptions; three rush; two punt returns; one pass; one kick return) . . . has accounted for TDs in five different ways in his career (rushing, receiving, passing, punt return and kick return), joining Florida International's T.Y. Hilton, Toledo's Eric Page, and Western Kentucky's Darrius Brooks as the only active players in the FBS to accomplish that feat . . . is one of just three Spartans in school history, along with Derrick Mason and Bill Simpson, to return two punts for touchdowns (74 yards vs. Wisconsin in 2010; 57 yards vs. Northwestern in 2011) . . . over the last three-plus seasons, he leads the team with 59 plays of 20-plus yards and 17 plays of 40-plus yards . . . honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the coaches . . . second on the team in receptions (62) and receiving yards (742); both of those marks represent career highs . . . ranks second in the Big Ten in punt returns (11.8 avg.), fifth in receptions (4.8 pg.) and 10th in receiving yards (57.1 ypg.) . . . ranks third on the team in all-purpose yards with 1,149 (742 receiving; 271 punt return; 121 rushing; 15 kick return) . . . recorded a career-high nine receptions for 115 yards against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Defensive Tackle Kevin Pickelman
Battled through injuries his entire career to become one of the leaders on the Spartan defense his senior year . . . is having a career year, recording career highs in tackles (37), tackles for loss (7.5 for 39 yards) and sacks (4.0 for 31 yards) . . . is one of the main reasons Michigan State leads the Big Ten in total defense and rushing defense . . . honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the media . . . tied his career high with eight tackles, including an 8-yard sack, in victory at Northwestern . . . has played in 49 games, including 18 starts . . . has started a career-high 10 games this season.
Wide Receiver Keith Nichol
Fifth-year senior has played in 36 career games with the Spartans, including 14 starts, since transferring from Oklahoma in 2008 . . . made the transition from quarterback to wide receiver in bowl practice in 2009 and has become one of MSU's main targets, catching 46 passes for 572 yards and three touchdowns . . . also developed into one of the top blockers on the team . . . ranks fifth on the team with 22 receptions for 299 yards this season . . . caught the game-winning, 44-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins on the final play of the game to propel MSU to a 37-31 victory over Wisconsin on Oct. 22; the reception was the longest of his career . . . tied his career high with four receptions vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game.
Defensive End William Gholston
Named to All-Big Ten second team (coaches and media) . . . leads Spartan defensive linemen and ranks sixth overall on the team with 63 tackles . . . ranks second on the team and tied for 11th in the Big Ten with 11.0 tackles for loss (34 yards) . . . also has 3.0 sacks (20 yards) . . . compiled 29 tackles in a two-game span (14 vs. Minnesota; career-high 15 vs. Nebraska), the most in a two-game stretch by a Spartan since Greg Jones in 2009; it also marked the first time since 2000 (Josh Shaw) that a Spartan defensive lineman recorded double-figure tackles in back-to-back games.
Up Front Award (Outstanding Offensive Lineman): Left Guard Joel Foreman
Fifth-year senior captain has started more games (48) than any other offensive lineman in school history . . . first-team All-Big Ten selection (coaches and media) . . . is MSU's first All-Big Ten first-team honoree on the offensive line since Sean Poole (tackle) in 2004 . . . selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District V Team . . . named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week vs. Indiana, Wisconsin and Florida Atlantic.
Running Back Le'Veon Bell
Leads the team and ranks ninth in the Big Ten in rushing with 900 yards (69.2 ypg.) . . . also leads team and ranks fifth in the conference with 11 rushing touchdowns . . . ranks 10th in the Big Ten in scoring (5.1 ppg.) . . . honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media . . . has two 100-yard rushing games this season (112 vs. Iowa; 106 vs. Wisconsin in Big Ten Championship Game) . . . has rushed for 1,505 yards and 19 touchdowns in his career . . . his 5.53 rushing average is currently ninth best in MSU history.
Safety Isaiah Lewis
Started every game this season at strong safety . . . second-team All-Big Ten pick (coaches and media) . . . tied for Big Ten lead with four interceptions . . . one of 11 players in the FBS this season to return two interceptions for touchdowns (37-yarder vs. Central Michigan; 39-yarder vs. Michigan) . . . tied for fourth on the team with 71 tackles . . . second on the team with seven passes defended (three interceptions; four pass break-ups) . . . recorded a career-high 12 tackles against Minnesota on Nov. 5.
Right Guard Chris McDonald
Durable offensive lineman has started 16 straight games at right guard, including all 13 this season . . . honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the media . . . named Spartan Offensive Lineman of the Week vs. Central Michigan.
Defensive Tackle Jerel Worthy
Consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection (coaches and media) . . . is MSU's first All-Big Ten first-team selection at defensive tackle since Travis Davis in 1989 . . . named one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award, one of 16 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award, and one of 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy (Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year) . . . his presence on the defensive line is one of the main reasons MSU leads the Big Ten in total defense and rushing defense . . . consensus first-team Midseason All-American . . . fourth on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss (40 yards), including 3.5 sacks (28 yards) . . . recorded a tackle for loss in eight of MSU's 13 games this season . . . powerful player has 25.5 tackles for loss (116 yard) in his career, which is tied for 18th most in MSU history . . . his 12.0 career sacks are tied for 12th in the MSU record book.
MSU Football Players Association's Community Service & Outreach Award (Senior): Tight End Brian Linthicum
Fifth-year senior has played in 38 games at Michigan State, including 25 starts, after transferring from Clemson in 2008 . . . ranks fourth on the team with a career-high 24 catches for 249 yards . . . named National Tight End of the Week by the John Mackey Award and College Football Performance Awards after recording career highs in receptions (5) and receiving yards (71) in the victory at Iowa on Nov. 12.
Fullback Todd Anderson
Fifth-year senior started his first season at fullback after moving from the defensive line during bowl practice last season . . . was a vital part of the running game this season as he developed into one of the team's best blockers . . . also has five catches for 30 yards . . . scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard reception in the win over Minnesota on Nov. 5 . . . played in all 13 games, including six starts . . . former walk-on was awarded a scholarship prior to the 2010 season.
Linebacker Denicos Allen
Third-year player has made an immediate impact in his first year as a starter . . . leads the team with 10.0 sacks (64 yards), which ranks second in the Big Ten and tied for sixth most in an MSU single-season . . . also leads the team with 17.0 tackles for loss (80 yards), which ranks fourth in the Big Ten and tied for fifth most in an MSU single-season . . . ranks second on the team in tackles (78) and quarterback hurries (7) . . . second-team All-Big Ten pick by the media; honorable mention selection by the coaches . . . recorded a career-high 4.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin; it was the highest sack total by a Spartan since 2008 and the most tackles for loss in a game by a Spartan since 2004 . . . compiled a career-high nine tackles in three games this season (Youngstown State, Iowa, Indiana).
Tight End Garrett Celek
Fifth-year senior has played in 37 career games, including 12 starts . . . has 14 career receptions for 135 yards . . . one of the team's top blockers . . . has three catches for 35 yards this season . . . had a season-long 21-yard reception vs. Indiana on Nov. 19 . . . caught an 8-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins in the win over Florida Atlantic on Sept. 10.
Linebacker Chris Norman
Started 11 games at Star (weakside) linebacker . . . honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the media . . . tied for fourth on the team with 71 tackles, including a career-high 5.0 for losses (17 yards) . . . tied his career high with 10 tackles in victory over Michigan on Oct. 15 . . . recorded a career-high 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks in win at Ohio State on Oct. 1.
Biggie Munn Award (Most Inspirational Player): Offensive Guard Arthur Ray Jr.
Cancer survivor returned to football this season after sitting out four years . . . signed with MSU in 2007, but was soon diagnosed with cancer in his left leg . . . through nine surgeries - including four bone grafts - countless rounds of chemotherapy, and several outbreaks of infection, he was unable to practice or play . . . was given a medical disqualification and remained on scholarship, but was cleared to resume football during spring practice in 2011 . . . started the season opener against Youngstown State after captain Joel Foreman volunteered his starting position to Ray . . . also saw action against Florida Atlantic and Indiana this season . . . nominated for the Discover Orange Bowl/Football Writers Association of America Courage Award.
Potsy Ross Award (Top Scholar-Athletes): Punter Mike Sadler - 4.0 Applied Engineering Science; Linebacker Max Bullough - 3.93 Finance; Quarterback Andrew Maxwell - 3.76 Supply Chain Management; Offensive Lineman Nate Klatt - 3.78 Accounting
Iron Man Award (Strength & Conditioning): Defensive Tackle Kevin Pickelman
Doug Weaver Oil Can Award (Team Humorist): Wide Receiver Chris D. Rucker
Cowing Award (Senior Manager): AJ Yunker
Con Demos Scholarship Award (Manager): Kameron Bouchard