ANNAPOLIS, Md.-The annual Naval Academy football banquet was held Friday evening at Alumni Hall where several prestigious awards were handed out. Navy posted an 8-5 record in 2012, won a record 11th-straight game over rival Army and defeated Air Force to win the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for the eighth time in the last 10 years and earned a berth in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which was Navy’s ninth bowl appearance in the last 10 years. The senior class finished its career with a record of 32-20, won two Commander-In-Chief’s Trophies, defeated Army four times, played in three bowl games, won a bowl game and beat Notre Dame twice.
Freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds (Antioch, Tenn.) was named the winner of the E.E. “Rip” Miller Award, which is presented to the season’s most valuable player as voted on by his teammates.
Reynolds, who is the first freshman to win the award, went 6-2 as the starting quarterback and led Navy to three fourth-quarter comebacks (Air Force, Army and Indiana). He became the first freshman to start at quarterback for Navy since Jim Kubiak started five games in 1991 and just the third freshman in school history to start at quarterback. He finished the year with 649 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, while completing 61 of his 108 passes for 898 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Reynolds was the first Navy quarterback to win his first four career starts since Bob Powers in 1979.
Senior outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel (Palos Heights, Ill.) was named the winner of the Roger Staubach Award, which is presented to the varsity football player who demonstrated consistent, outstanding leadership and an “Expect to Win” attitude in contributing to the team’s success during the season and embodied honor, courage and commitment on and off the playing field.
The College Sports Information Directors of America named Wetzel a Capital One First-Team Academic All-American this season thanks to a 3.91 grade-point average in systems engineering (honors courses). On the field he enjoyed a spectacular senior campaign, recording 79 tackles, a team-high 15 tackles for a loss, a team-high seven sacks, a pass break-up, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He was named All-Independent by a nationwide media poll and played in the Casino Del Sol All-Star game in Tucson, Ariz.
Wetzel also took home the Jeffrey R. Korn Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award, which is given annually to the first classman on the team who has demonstrated excellence both in the classroom and on the football field, as well as the Cmdr. Ralph Sentmann Award, which honors the member of the graduating class from the varsity football team who has achieved the highest ranking in academic order of merit.
Senior slot back Gee Gee Greene (Columbia, S.C.) was the recipient of the Joe Bellino Award, which is presented to the varsity football player whose inspiring on-the-field performance made a significant impact on the team and contributed to its overall success during the season, as well as the Napoleon McCallum Award, which is presented to the Navy varsity football player of the graduating class who has gained the most all-purpose yards in his career.
A starter in each of the last 38 games, Greene had his best season as a senior. leading the Mids in rushing with 877 yards and three touchdowns on 120 carries (7.3 yards per carry) and finished second on the team in receiving with 18 catches for 309 yards and two touchdowns (17.2 yards per catch). The 7.3 yards per carry is the second-best single-season rushing average in school history and he joins Shun White as the only slot backs to lead the team in rushing. He rushed for 2,123 yards and 10 touchdowns over his four-year career, while catching 48 passes for 764 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry over his career, which is the fifth-best rushing average in school history. He amassed 3,757 all-purpose yards, which ranks him third all-time at Navy. Greene will play in the Raycom All-Star Football Classic on Saturday and in the South Carolina College All-Star game on March 23.
The First Lieutenant Ron Winchester Unsung Hero Award, which is presented to an unheralded senior recognized as an over achiever and role model as selected by a vote of his teammates, was presented to senior slot back John Howell (Greenville, N.C.).
Howell, who was coming off a standout junior campaign where he rushed for 340 yards and five touchdowns, was lost for the season in the fourth game of the year against San Jose State when he suffered a knee injury on a pass play. The injury was a major blow to the team as Howell was being counted on as a key player. Howell, however, never felt sorry for himself and continued to be a positive role model on the team and helped the younger slot backs improve daily in practice.
Senior offensive guard Josh Cabral (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) was awarded the George Fritzinger Memorial Award, presented annually to a member of the graduating class who as a football interior lineman has excelled as a student-athlete and contributed to the overall team leadership and spirit.
Cabral was a three-year starter at guard and started the final 38 games of his career. He was named All-East by the ECAC and was named Honorable Mention All-Independent by a nationwide media poll as a senior. Cabral was a key member of an offensive line that helped lead Navy to a No. 6 national ranking in rushing offense in 2012, averaging 278.46 yards per game.
Freshman quarterback Rafi Montalvo (Miami, Fla.) was awarded the Collins/Roos Class of 1949 Junior Varsity MVP Award, presented annually to the most valuable player on the junior varsity football team as chosen by a vote of his teammates.
Montalvo helped lead the Navy JV team to a 3-2 record, including a 37-0 whitewashing of Hargrave Military Academy. Montalvo was involved in a serious automobile accident on Thanksgiving night while home in Miami and was in critical condition at Kendall Regional Medical Center, but has since been released from the hospital and is now at home in Miami rehabilitating. The team wore a helmet sticker with his name on it for the Army-Navy ame and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Senior linebacker Matt Warrick (Chesterfield, Mo.) was named the winner of the Cooke Award, which is given to the player who has done the most to promote team spirit.
Warrick was a two-year starter at linebacker and finished his career with 214 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, four interceptions and 11 pass break-ups. Warrick played his best in the biggest games recording 49 tackles in five Service Academy games (9.8 tackles per game). Warrick will formally receive his award at the annual Prizes & Awards ceremony during Commissioning Week.
Cabral, senior offensive tackle Ryan Paulson, freshman kicker Nick Sloan and sophomore punter Pablo Beltran were recognized for being named All-East by the head coaches on the Eastern Seaboard as part of the ECAC.
Cabral (guard) and Paulson (tackle) anchored an offensive line that helped the Mids average 378.5 yards per game on the ground, which ranked sixth nationally. Beltran averaged 43.6 yards per punt on his 44 punts this year with 15 of his punts being fair caught and 18 downed inside the 20-yard line. He had 11 punts this year of 50 yards or more and his 43.6-yard average is the third-best average in a single season in school history. Sloan made 10 of his 15 field goal attempts and all 41 of his extra-points. His 41 extra-points are the fourth most in school history and he is just the fifth kicker in school history to not miss an extra-point in a season with 25 or more attempts.