Florida Atlantic University’s football honored its 2016-17 seniors at the annual football banquet on Sunday. For the second consecutive year, 15 seniors were honored for their leadership, character and dedication to the program.
The evening concluded with a video devoted to the seniors, but not before senior defensive end Trey Hendrickson was introduced as the 2016 Team MVP.
Hendrickson returned as the nation’s No. 2 sack leader with 13.5 sacks in 2015. The Apopka, Fla. native returned with the knowledge he had to add more to his game and that he would often be double- and triple-teamed, especially with new starters at each of the three line positions to his left. By season’s end Hendrickson had career highs in tackles (50), tackles for a loss (15) and passes defended (2). He also added 9.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He had an effect on both special teams with four blocks, and on offense when he was added to the run packages to provide an extra block up front. While the award is dedicated to the single-year performance, his noteworthy career numbers include finishing one block away from the all-time career mark, but he left no margin for error when he captured five defensive career categories. He is listed No. 1 in tackles for a loss (42.5), 12 more than the next closest; No. 1 in yards from tackles for loss (222), 70 yards more than the next closest tackler; No. 1 in quarterback sacks (29.5), besting the previous career mark by 13.5 sacks which coincidentally is the same number of sacks he record his junior season and led the country; No. 1 in quarterback hurries, seven more than the next closest; and he forced eight fumbles in his career and is tied for No. 1 in FF.
The Owls’ Offensive MVP, Dillon DeBoer, was honored on Thursday as a Conference USA All-Academic Team member. His grit and determination showed on the field where he played every snap in 2016 and guided a line that was plagued with injuries and craved his stability. DeBoer led, mentored, taught and guided a line that used nine different starting combinations in the first nine games. Despite those adversities, his leadership and ability to communicate allowed the line to provide protection for a running back corps that set program records for all-time rushing yards and rushing touchdowns scored.
Defensive MVP honors were bestowed to Azeez Al-Shaair, who led the Owls for the second consecutive season in total tackles. Al-Shaair tallied 113 tackles in 2016, nearly 20 more than in his All-American Freshman campaign. He added two sacks into his body of work, as well as an interception. In all, the sophomore had eight games with double-digit tackles, including a season-high 15 at Marshall.
Senior Dalton Schomp was a repeat recipient of the Special Teams MVP Award. The Seminole, Fla. native provided every 2016 punt for the Owls (68). He averaged 42.6 yards per punt and had a long of 68. He continued to prove his ability to flip the field for the Owls and was on the Ray Guy National Watch list until the final two weeks of the season. His final game of 2016 marked the conclusion of two of FAU’s all-time best. Schomp closed out his career with a program-best 45.0 career yards per punt average. He tallied 163 attempts and 7,327 yards in three seasons. He booted 50 punts for 50+ yards, his longest was 76 yards, he left 50 punts inside the 20, 50 were fair caught and just nine were touchbacks.
The Howard Schnellenberger Community Outreach Award went to 5th year graduate student Shalom Ogbonda (photo right), who was also a member of the Danny Wuerffel award watch list. Ogbonda was a standout in the athletic department's efforts to put in more than 400,000 collective service hours. He was also the last remaining player to be recruited under then head Coach Schnellnberger, from which the award was instituted. Running backs coach Jared Allen (photo left) was the staff member responsible for his coming to FAU. Team mates often referred to Ogbonda as most likely to be voted president.
Notable 2016 Award Winners
Team MVP - Trey Hendrickson
Offensive MVP - Dillon DeBoer
Defensive MVP - Azeez Al-Shaair
Special Teams MVP - Dalton Schomp
OL Hammer Award - Antonyo Woods
Ramon Rickards Bone Award - Jalen Young
Comeback Player of the Year - Roman Fernandez
Newcomer of the Year - “Motor” Devin Singletary
Special Team Scout MVP - Jessie Howanitz
Offensive Scout Team MVP - James Charles
Defensive Scout Team MVP - Anthony Bennett
Iron Man of the Year - “Buddy” Gregory Howell, Jr. and Antonyo Woods
Howard Schnellenberger Community Outreach Award - Shalom Ogbonda (photo right)
Student-Athlete of the Year - Tyler Cameron