Nov. 27, 2011
The University of Minnesota football team and the Goal Line Club celebrated the 2011 season at the annual Golden Gopher Football Banquet Sunday afternoon at the DQ Club Room inside TCF Bank Stadium.
The highlight of the program was the announcement of the team’s annual awards. Junior quarterback MarQueis Gray was honored with the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is given annually to the team’s most valuable player. Gray was also named the winner of the Bruce Smith Award as the team’s outstanding offensive player.
Senior safety Kim Royston earned the Carl Eller Award as the Gophers’ outstanding defensive player. Junior kicker Jordan Wettstein was honored with the Bobby Bell Award as the team’s outstanding special teams player.
The Tony Dungy Character and Community Service Award was given to senior defensive lineman Brandon Kirksey. The Butch Nash Award for being competitive on the field and in the classroom went to junior linebacker Aaron Hill.
Junior quarterback/placekick holder Adam Lueck was honored with the Paul Giel Award. The Paul Giel Award goes to the player deemed to have the most unselfishness and most concern about the University of Minnesota. The Neil Fredenburg Award is given annually to the player who has the most courage and love of the game. Senior running back Duane Bennett was the honoree for 2011.
In addition to those honors, the following awards were also handed out Sunday:
Offensive Lineman of the Year – Senior Chris Bunders/Senior Collin McGarry
Offensive Back of the Year – Senior Duane Bennett
Wide Reciever of the Year – Senior Da’Jon McKnight
Defensive Lineman of the Year – Senior Brandon Kirksey
Defensive Back of the Year – Senior Kim Royston
Outstanding Offensive Freshman of the Year – Wide receivers Devin Crawford-Tufts/Marcus Jones
Outstanding Defensive Freshman of the Year – Defensive end Michael Amaefula
Offensive Work Team Player of the Year – Freshman running back Cole Banham
Defenisve Work Team Player of the Year – Freshman linebacker Jephte Matilus
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Three Gophers Honored by NFF
Christenson, Mortell, Thomas awarded for outstanding academics by the National Football Foundation
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Eric Murray made 192 career tackles and 142 of them were solo stops. The former Gopher, who also broke up 24 career passes, is expected to be drafted next week.