Saturday saw several members of the Michigan State football program walk away with honors during the team’s annual awards banquet. Greg Jones earning the Governor’s Award (Most Valuable Player) was no surprise, however, who else earned honors?
Governor’s Award (Most Valuable Player)
Linebacker Greg Jones became one of only 10 players in the nation to earn unanimous first-team All-American honors for his outstanding play this season. Jones becomes only the fourth Spartan to be named a consensus first team All-American twice, joining George Webster, Bubba Smith, and Lorenzo White.
President’s Award (Perseverance)
Senior offensive lineman D.J. Young and senior safety Marcus Hyde proved things do not always come easy. However, both players enjoyed great senior seasons.
Young proved up to the task as he started all eleven games this season at left tackle earning second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches. During his career, Young has started 22 games at right and left tackle after transferring from Bowling Green and taking 46 credits in one year to earn eligibility at Michigan State.
Hyde earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and was top on the Spartans in pass break-ups (8) and second in interceptions with three. The Ohio native proved to be in the right place several times during the season, non bigger than against Notre Dame when he tallied eleven tackles, a pass break-up and a fumble recovery in the Spartans magical victory over the Irish.
Biggie Munn Award (Most Inspirational Player)
Much was expected out of fifth-year senior fullback Josh Rouse prior to the season. However, a neck injury in the Spartans season opener ended his promising season on the field. Off the field, Rouse proved to be an inspiration to his teammates and returned to sever as a game captain against Notre Dame. Rouse has also been selected as game captain for the Spartans Capital One Bowl against Alabama.
Downtown Coaches Club Award – Outstanding Senior Offense
Senior wide receiver Mark Dell enjoyed a great senior season posting 761 yards in receptions. During his career, Dell has been a dependable target and enters his final game ranked sixth in Spartans history with 2,109 receiving yards, and tied for ninth in receptions with 131.
Downtown Coaches Club Award – Outstanding Senior Defense
If not for lining up next to Greg Jones, senior linebacker Eric Gordon might have been the talk of the Spartans defense the past couple of seasons. It is no surprise Gordon earned this honor, as showed the ability to play at a high level posting 88 tackles on the season. Gordon has started more games at linebacker than any other player in Spartans history has with 48 starts during his outstanding career.
Downtown Coaches Club Award – Outstanding Senior Special Teams
A second-team All-American selection by SI.com, Aaron Bates will be missed following the teams bowl game against Alabama. A team captain this season, Bates again showed his skills punting the football with a 45.2-yard average. While most fans may not remember any one punt, all Spartan fans will remember “Little Giants” and “Mouse Trap”, two plays Bates played a major role in victories against Notre Dame and Northwestern for many years to come.
Here is a list of other awards handed out during the team’s banquet on Saturday.
Danziger Award (Outstanding Detroit-Area Player)
Offense: Edwin Baker
Defense: Tyler Hoover
Up Front Award (Outstanding Offensive Lineman)
Outstanding Underclass Back Award
Offense: Kirk Cousins
Defense: Trenton Robinson
Outstanding Underclass Lineman Award
Offense: Joel Foreman
Defense: Jerel Worthy
MSU Football Players Association’s Community Service * Outreach Award
Clarence J. Underwood Jr. Sportsmanship Award
Tommy Love Award (Most Improved Player)
Aaron Bates, Kirk Cousins and Greg Jones
Potsy Ross Award (Top Scholar Athlete)
Aaron Bates 3.96 grade-point average
Iron Man Award (Strength & Conditioning)
Jim Adams Award (Unsung Hero)
Offense: Keith Mumpher
Defense: Kyler Elsworth
Doug Weaver Oil Can Award (Team Humorist)
Chris D. Rucker
Cowing Award (Senior Manager)
Con Demos Scholarship Award (Manager)