FAU Football Honors Outstanding Players at Season Ending Banquet
Florida Atlantic Universityís football team honored outstanding scholastics, play and citizenship at the 2014 season ending banquet held Sunday evening at the Town Center Marriott.
The evening began by honoring the 2014 letter winners which played the season under the direction of first-year head coach Charlie Partridge.
The 2014 seniors who provided the leadership and helped to rebuild a foundation that will be used as the base for a program that doesnít know how high and how quickly it will soar. The Owls then honored captains, all seniors, Alex Deleon, Andrae Kirk, Tony Moore and DíJoun Smith.
Thirteen individual awards were bestowed. The first honored was senior offensive lineman Braden Lyons. Lyons came to FAU as a right tackle and started every game in 2013 at right tackle. His leadership and experience was put to the test when Lyons was asked to move to center as the only returning offensive lineman. He did so and simultaneously mentored incoming freshman Joe Gold, who eventually stepped into the starting center spot, allowing Lyons to move back to right tackle. Following an injury to Gold, Lyons returned to center to close out his career. Lyons did so while maintaining a graduate school course load. The California native was named the 2014 Student Athlete of the Year.
Community outreach has been a primary focus for the coaching staff and several of the players have embraced the opportunity to make a difference in Boca Raton and its surrounding area, none more so than defensive back Anthony Hamilton. Hamilton earned the 2014 Howard Schnellenberger Community Outreach Award.
Strength, conditioning and nutrition have been another focal point the last 11 months. Many of the players have seen drastic gains in the weight room. Thirty-seven were singled out as members of the development program. Those players used 2014 as an opportunity to learn the systems, change their habits and body types in better preparation for 2015 and beyond. The player, who earned the Iron Man of the Year, and who saw his playing time increase drastically by seasonís end was Ronnie Scott.
Three players who had a drastic impact on the 2014 teamís success but never had the opportunity to dress for a game were the scout team MVPs. Offensive lineman and transfer Kelly Parfitt was named Offensive Scout Team MVP. Defensive lineman Jeremy Faulk earned Defensive Scout Team honors and Adrian Sterling was awarded Special Team Scout Team honors.
The focus then shifted to awards and honorees that had an overwhelming impact in the game. Newcomer of the Year was awarded to freshman offensive lineman Reggie Bain. Bain started every game in 2014 at left tackle. He saw action in 827 snaps, allowed just two sacks and QB hurries while recording 52.5 knockdowns, grading out at 97% and no pre-snap penalties.
Comeback Player of the Year was awarded to junior Sharrod Neasman. Neasman was one of three players who were awarded a scholarship at the end of preseason camp. The defensive back proved vital as the season progressed and was the everyday starter at nickel.
DíJoun Smith followed up an outstanding junior season with a strong senior season. The Miami native recorded 53 tackles, 2.5 for a loss. He recorded nine pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He also was able to put the teamís offense in better field position with late season kick returns. Smith walked away with the teamís Defensive MVP award.
Offensively, it was Lucky Whitehead who earned the honors. Whitehead led Conference USA in receptions. He provided the teamís spark both with his hands and his feet and etched himself in the FAU record books with the longest run and touchdown from scrimmage. He also was ranked among the nationís leaders in combined returns.
Special Teams MVP honors was presented to punter Dalton Schomp. Schomp used his feet to average 45.4 yards per punt. He served as the teamís holder and was 1-for-2 in passing converting on a fourth and long when he found receiver Jenson Stoshak.
The ďRamon Rickards Bone AwardĒ was bestowed to Andrae Kirk. While the senior linebacker, who was honored as the player with the biggest hit, also received the teamís coveted MVP honor. Kirk led the team in tackles but he was larger than just one defender. The senior was a second coach and a teacher, often staying late into the night, improving his game by improving those around him. Defensively, he either led the Owls or was in the top-three in all but two categories, fumble recoveries and blocked kicks. He ended his four year career second in all-time FAU career tackles and first in tackle assists.
Three FAU Owls are scheduled to play in post-season all-star games with the opportunity for more to materialize in the coming weeks.
FAU will open its 2015 home schedule against the University of Miami. For tickets call 1-866-FAU-Owls.
Tradition isn't a bad thing, thanks Coach P!