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Six Individual Named with Highest Honors

Press release from FAU media Relations:


FAU Football Hosts Annual Awards Banquet

Six Individuals Named with Highest Honors


BOCA RATON, FL (January 18, 2008) - Florida Atlantic University's football team hosted its eighth annual football awards banquet today at the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton, honoring the team's 2008 football season and Motor City Bowl victory. Football Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger also named six individuals with the team's highest honors.

FAU quarterback Rusty Smith led the list of honorees as the team's 2008 Most Valuable Player. Smith guided the Owls to a 7-6 record and capped a season ending 6-1 record with victories at the seventh annual Shula Bowl where he was named MVP, and the Motor City Bowl where the junior also earned MVP honors. On the season, the Jacksonville native was 254-435-14 for 3,224 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Senior running back Charles Pierre became the first Owl to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season using more than 70 yards in the Motor City Bowl to eclipse the mark. Pierre concludes his collegiate campaign as the all-time rusher with 3,069 yards and 23 touchdowns.  Pierre earned the team's 2008 Offensive MVP honor.

The team's 2008 Defensive Award was awarded to linebacker Frantz Joseph. Joseph used each of his three seasons at FAU to set goals and surpass his last accomplishment. He broke his 2007 mark with 154 tackles to set a new program single-season high total tackles mark. He also concluded his college career with the country's most tackles in 2008, and with 11.85 tackles per game which was second nationally.

Kick returner DiIvory Edgecomb continued to make his mark on Special Teams while also splitting time at running back with Pierre. Edgecomb led the squad for the second consecutive year with 626 kick-return yards, becoming the program's all-time leader. His longest return in 2008 was 41 yards while he averaged 20.9 yards per return. Edgecomb was awarded the team's 2008 Special Teams MVP honor.

Punter Keegan Peterson handled all 62 punts in 2008, and held an average of 38.3 yards per punt. The junior's longest punt was 55 yards. Opponents elected to return 22 of his punts, six were touchbacks and 20 were inside the 20-yard line. Peterson also managed to maintain his responsibility in the classroom, holding a 3.56 GPA in his major of management/small business with the hopes of going to dental school following his graduation. He received the 2008 Student-Athlete award.

Senior defensive lineman Michael Hancock became a consistent starter in 2008 after proving himself in 2007. Not resting on just that accomplishment, the former walk-on tight end finished second among linemen with 35 tackles, which included seven tackles for a loss of a team leading 33 yards. Hancock repeated as an award-winner after earning the Non-Scholarship MVP honoree in 2007, with the 2008 Most Improved MVP honor.

Fellow lineman Daniel Joseph earned the team's 2008 Non-Scholarship MVP award after using his sophomore campaign to become more instrumental to the team's defense. Daniels concluded the 2008 season with 34 tackles, 3.0 were for a loss and 2.5 were sacks for a loss of 11 yards.

The awards were concluded with the most coveted award, the "Ramon Rickards Bone Award." Linebacker Ted Czepiga took the honor that is bestowed upon the person who records the biggest hit. Czepiga earned most of his time on special teams, but will be remembered for his fumble causing hit in the 2008 Shula Bowl that allowed sophomore Austin Jensen to recover the fumble and set up a score to secure the 57-50 overtime victory over FIU. The win also evened FAU's record at 6-6 and helped make the Motor City Bowl opportunity become a reality. Czepiga, who recorded 19 tackles on the year, earned the award named after former defensive lineman Ramon Rickards who lost his life in a motorcycle accident in 2006. Rickards was a member of the inaugural FAU squad and played for the Owls first four seasons. Czepiga was also awarded the "Team Above Self Award," which is not an annual award but one given when a player has continuous place the betterment of the team above his personal self. During Czepiga's five year career the Connecticut native has had five knee surgeries during his collegiate career. This is just the second time in eight years the award has been given.

FAU will return to the practice field for spring drills in April and will kick-off the 2009 campaign against the University of Nebraska .


Annual Team Awards

Team MVP

Year       Player                                                   Pos.

2001       Jared Allen                                 Quarterback

2002       Chris Laskowski                           Linebacker

2003       Jared Allen                                 Quarterback

               Chris Laskowski                           Linebacker

2004       Jared Allen                                 Quarterback

2005       Shomari Earls                               Linebacker

2006       Aaron Sanchez                                 Fullback

2007       Rusty Smith                                Quarterback

2008       Rusty Smith                                Quarterback


Offensive MVP

Year       Player                                                   Pos.

2001       Doug Parker                             Running Back

2002       Jared Allen                                 Quarterback

2003       Anthony Crissinger-Hill                   Tight End

2004       Kevin Fischer                          Offensive Line

2005       Danny Embick                            Quarterback

2006       Charles Pierre                           Running Back

2007       Jarrid Smith                             Offensive Line

2008       Charles Pierre                           Running Back


Defensive MVP

Year       Player                                                    Pos

2001       Mauratae Johnson                                Safety

2002       Yrvens Guerrier                Defensive Lineman

2003       Yrvens Guerrier                Defensive Lineman

2004       Chris Laskowski                           Linebacker

2005       Shomari Earls                               Linebacker

2006       Kris Bartels                           Defensive Back

2007       Cergile Sincere                             Linebacker

2008       Frantz Joseph                               Linebacker


Student-Athlete of the Year

(Based on stewardship)

Year       Player                                                   Pos.

2001       Chris Laskowski                           Linebacker

2002       Chris McKinley                            Linebacker

2003       Chris McKinley                            Linebacker

2004       Chris Laskowski                           Linebacker

2005       Danny Embick                            Quarterback

2006       Robert St. Clair                       Defensive Line

2007       Zach Wichner                          Offensive Line

2008       Keegan Peterson                                 Punter


Most-Improved Award

Year       Player                                                   Pos.

2001       Dave Richards                   Offensive Lineman

2002       Teddy Strachan                 Defensive Lineman

2003       Johnnie Sloan                    Defensive Lineman

2004       Dewain Akerblom                    Long Snapper

2005       Robert St. Clair                 Defensive Lineman

2006       Rickey Bethel                        Defensive Back

2007       Cortez Gent                            Wide Receiver

2008       Michael Hancock              Defensive Lineman


Special Teams Award

Year       Player                                                   Pos.

2001       Nick Seta                                          Captain

2002       Matt Prudenti                           Holder/Return

2003       Tyrone Higgins             Punt Block/Right Side

2004       Mark Myers                                       Kicker

2005       Mike Brown                                        Punter

2006       Dewain Akerblom                    Long Snapper

2007       DiIvory Edgecomb                      Kick Return

2008       DiIvory Edgecomb                      Kick Return


Non-Scholarship MVP

Year       Player                                                   Pos.

2001       Coisge McCullough                              Safety

2002       Daveon Barron                         Running Back

2002       George Guffey                   Offensive Lineman

2003       Jerrell Terry                           Defensive Back

2004       Mike Brown                                        Punter

2005       John Rizzo                         Offensive Lineman

2006       Chad Wilkes                           Wide Receiver

2007       Michael Hancock              Defensive Lineman

2008       Daniel Joseph                    Defensive Lineman


Gridiron Club Award

Year       Player                                                   Pos.

2001       Ed Mathews                      Offensive Lineman

2002       Jordan Roberts                 Defensive Lineman

2003       Quentin Swain                              Linebacker


Bone  Award in Memory of Ramon Rickards

Year       Player                                                   Pos.

2004       Shomari Earls                               Linebacker

2005       Lawrence Gordon                       Cornerback

2006       Frantz Joseph                               Linebacker

2007       Frantz Joseph                               Linebacker

2008       Ted Czepiga                                 Linebacker


Team Above Self

Year       Player                                                    Pos

2003       Matt Prudenti                          Wide Receiver







FAU Media Relations

Katrina McCormick




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