Tag Archive | "MVP"


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Dear Joe Flacco: I’ll never let ‘em forget how “elite” you were here in Baltimore

Posted on 17 March 2019 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear Joe:

As I told you when I tossed you a text five minutes after you were traded to the Denver Broncos last month, it was going to take me a little while to process it all and write an appropriate “exit” letter as you graduate on from the Baltimore Ravens and become a guy who is annually “in our way” whilst trying to win the next few Super Bowls.

Over the past few years, I have made it no secret that you are my all-time favorite Baltimore sports athlete. Oh, sure, others have Brooks or Cal or Ray – and I know and greatly respect those arguments and can make them myself – but you will forever be my No. 1 guy for a myriad of reasons both personal and professional that I will finally make public here upon your less-than-flattering departure.

As my WNST partner Brian Billick always likes to point out: “When you win a Super Bowl, they say they can never take it away from you. But that doesn’t stop them from trying…

Perhaps it’s the underdog Dundalk guy and Horatio Alger fire burning within me that admires you so much but your story has been my lifetime favorite to watch unfold and cover as a Baltimore sports fan who has had the pleasure to get to know you better than most since that fateful day in April 2008 when you became the “next quarterback up” after so many broken promises not named Trent Dilfer or Earl Morrall.

And, as you know, I’ve seen them all since the early 1970s and professionally since 1984. Marty Domres. Bert Jones. Art Schlichter. Mike Pagel. And all of the purple branches of the wilted, lavender Vinny Testaverde tree that you learned about upon your arrival.

Through all of the years and all the sports, you are my favorite story – the underdog, Division Not One quarterback who came down from Philly via my Aunt Clara’s hometown of Newark, Delaware and her beloved Blue Hens and delivered Baltimore a Super Bowl parade.

Joe, unless you go out to Denver and find the fountain of Kurt Warner, you’re not going to Canton for a bust measurement so that’ll always be the first knock on you because you’re not a Hall of Famer. And, of course, these last six years of not qualifying for January or winning enough postseason games that no longer made the Ravens believe in you as a franchise quarterback – in name, salary or depth chart – at 34 years old.

Oh, sure, last week there were heartwarming videos from Owings Mills that made the room dusty as your trade became official. And between now and whenever they bring you and your family back after you’ve acquired more silver on your temples and chin, you’ll have an afternoon to address Baltimore again whenever they immortalize you in the Ravens’ Ring of Honor.

But I wanted to wait to see what a press conference would look like with you in another uniform before I inked this farewell tome. I must say, with zero shock, that it looked just like the ones in Owings Mills except for the orange and blue horse and John Elway (as you know, an original Baltimore “Satan” from the history book of Irsay and the Colts) standing next to you.

John Elway says you’re entering your prime.

The Ravens made a teary-eyed video after benching your ass and trading you for a 4th-round draft pick.

From your point of view, let’s skip the formalities and talk Street Philly  – your profane language of choice, which makes me love you even more – for what really happened. They believed in you so little last April that they drafted your replacement, you got hurt midway through another potential playoff year and then you were never heard from again. They wasted no time in throwing your expensive ass outta here. Even though they loved you, they believed you were overpriced, and the “sell by” date on your carton expired sometime around 2017. They never called you “washed up” – but the Baltimore Ravens didn’t believe in you anymore and the world watched it unfold every time John Harbaugh praised Lamar Jackson at the podium after another

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Chapter 7: How to find a franchise quarterback

Posted on 19 February 2019 by Nestor Aparicio


“You can always look at how the guys play. You just look at the tape. But at the combine you find out what kind of people they are. What’s important to them? How important is football to them? How important is their family to them? If we get those two things right, we’ll be right most of the time.”

 – John Harbaugh (March 2008)






AN NFL SCOUT’S LIFE EXISTS with the perpetual hope that every time he shows up on a campus to watch a kid run, or gets on a plane to fly to a college town to see a game in the fall, or fires up his iPad to watch film, he wants to believe he’s about to find the next player who will help his team win the Super Bowl.

It’s the eternal quest for any NFL scout – find the next Pro Bowl player who can become a Hall of Famer. Or, at the very least, find a player who can help you win every year for the next decade.

By the time Baltimore Ravens area scouts Andy Weidl and Joe Douglas got in their cars and made the one hour drive north up Interstate 95 from Owings Mills to Newark, Delaware on November 10, 2007, Joe Flacco wasn’t a secret to the college scouting world. And he certainly was no stranger to Douglas, who joined the team in 2000 and is known to all in the Ravens organization as “Big Joe D,” whose job it was to scout the Northeast for the team from 2003 through 2008. Douglas was made famous during the Ravens’ summer of 2001 filming of “Hard Knocks” on HBO as “The Turk,” the lowly scout who has the duty of summoning players from the locker room to the office of the head coach where “Coach wants to see you, bring your playbook” means you’ll be leaving the campus and chasing your NFL dream elsewhere.

Incidentally, UrbanDictionary.com defines “turk” as “someone who is extremely brave.” Joe Douglas spent six months talking Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz into drafting a Division 1-AA quarterback from Delaware in the first round of the NFL draft.

Douglas, by any measurement, is as brave as Joe Flacco is fearless.

By 2007, Douglas had moved up the ranks of the scouting system and was making that fateful Saturday a “quarterback doubleheader” – a rare chance to see two teams in one day, both with targets who could be the next quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens. The afternoon game in Newark featured the Delaware Blue Hens hosting the Richmond Spiders in a Division I-AA matchup. The nightcap on the docket was Boston College visiting the Maryland Terps in College Park and Douglas would be joined by longtime Ravens scouts Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz, whom he’d meet at the I-95 Park and Ride near Catonsville so they could travel together to Byrd Stadium. Their target that evening was visiting Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan, who many thought would be the first quarterback – if not the first player – taken in the April 2008 draft.

Incidentally, Douglas was rooting hard for Richmond that afternoon and not out of disdain for Flacco or Delaware. Douglas was the starting left tackle for the Spiders from 1995-1998 and had been through many battles with the Blue Hens on the field. He was also quite familiar with many of the coaches and players in this contest. Even when he didn’t attend Richmond games – and it was rare to see his alma mater in person because NFL scouts don’t scout a lot of I-AA football games unless there’s a specific prospect they want to evaluate – his father would give him weekly Spiders reports from stands.

It was Douglas’ dad, Joel Douglas, who first told Big Joe D about Joe Flacco a year earlier after seeing the 2006 matchup in Richmond.

“He went to the game with my uncle and he called me up and said, ‘I don’t know who that Delaware quarterback was, but Richmond couldn’t stop him,’” Douglas said of a day when Flacco, then a junior who was making his seventh start for the Blue Hens, went 31-of-45 for 305 yards and a pair of TD passes in a come-from-behind 28-24 win over the Spiders. “Honestly, I was more mad that Richmond blew the lead than I was concerned about who Delaware’s junior quarterback was that day.”

The NFL scouting calendar begins in May after the draft. DeCosta and Hortiz enlist the entire organization to target potential candidates to scout for the following year. By August, the scouts plan their entire schedule for the fall, trying to chunk as many practices, games, campus visits and interviews as possible into the schedule while also trying to see the Ravens play some games at home and away. As an NFL scout, this is the most important time of

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Chapter 8: Just a regular Joe

Posted on 14 February 2019 by Nestor Aparicio


“That’s just Joe being Joe! Joe is always gonna be Joe.”

– Ray Lewis (Nov. 2012)





THE TALLEST BUILDINGS IN THE skyline over downtown Philadelphia are vividly clear over the gridiron at Audubon High School. Not too far from this small town in New Jersey in the distance you can see the Comcast Center and One Liberty Place tower over Center City in the City of Brotherly Love. The white cement structure that serves as bleachers behind a tiny brick school façade can almost be confused for something from a movie set in 1950s Americana.

It was a field of dreams for Joe Flacco, but not necessarily a field of victories. Hop on the internet and take a look at the picture of his wife snapping him a bottle of champagne as if it were a football as part of their wedding album. She’s the center. His groomsmen are the linemen. Then you will understand this field and this scene. This is the place where Joe Flacco led the Audubon Green Wave to a 4-6 finish in his 2002 senior football season.

“We stunk,” says Flacco of his tiny high school with less than 100 in each graduating class. “It was a small school, and we were never really good, but we loved playing here. Football here was always fun because it was always with your friends and the kids you grew up with from the neighborhood.”

To understand and to fully appreciate Joe Flacco, you need to visit Audubon, New Jersey and see his view of the world as a Super Bowl MVP and Baltimore sports hero, where for months after the win storefronts still had homemade posters and window stickers celebrating their unlikely hometown champion.

“Where I live and where I’m from it’s right in the middle of the middle of all hardcore Philly sports fans,” Flacco said. “Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania, but the Jersey side is the heart of the fan base for all of the teams. It’s all Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers here. It’s always been like that, and it’ll always be like that. I’ve been around crazy, passionate, vocal fans all my life.”

These Philadelphia natives are the same fans who are famous for once booing Santa Claus. Toughness kinda came with the turf for Joe Flacco.

His hometown doesn’t look quite like a scene from Rocky, like the west side of the Delaware River or Highlandtown in Baltimore with traditional East Coast row homes and narrow, one-way streets. It’s more like something from a John Mellencamp song, like “Small Town” or “Pink Houses.” It’s more Main Street USA with the very apparent stability of blue-collar family life and small ranch-style homes separated by modest yards, and picket fences. If it were Baltimore, it’d be Parkville or Catonsville – just closer to downtown.

Audubon High School is exactly six miles from the front gates of Lincoln Financial Field, where Flacco had his own rocky homecoming vs. the Eagles in a Ravens 24-23 loss in Week 2 of the 2012 season, his only chance in five years as Baltimore Ravens quarterback to play a regular season game just a long jog from his hometown.

In Audubon, Flacco is, well, just a regular Joe for the most part.

“It’s almost like a different life because I grew up around here. I’ve always been around here, and I hope it stays like this,” he said. “It’s my home. It’s where I want to be, close to my family. All of my family is here.”

Flacco’s ascension to Super Bowl MVP and World Champion reads straight from the library of the Horatio Alger catalog.

Son of a mortgage banker Steve Flacco and his wife, Karen, who were high school sweethearts, Joe is the oldest of six children – five boys and a girl. Flacco played three sports and loved all of them as long as he can remember. Despite his dad being just 5-foot-10, Joe went through a surprising and dramatic growth spurt in high school, sprouting more than six inches. His unusually strong arm caught the eye of a handful of college

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Chapter 6: The other Hall of Famer from The U…

Posted on 17 January 2018 by Nestor Aparicio


In my opinion, Ed Reed is the best safety to play the game. I tell him that to his face all the time. I truly believe it. I’ve studied him, and I’ve tried to incorporate things from his game into my game — a lot of it I’m not able to do. I learned the importance of film study from him. He is the prototype and what anyone would want at safety. People can say that you want big hits, but this game is about the ball. You can’t score without it. When you get someone back there who can get the ball, that’s what it’s all about.”

  – Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (Nov. 2011)




ON ANY OTHER TEAM, HE’D be the leader. In any other franchise, he’d be the one they talk about building a statue for and retiring his number when his time is through. But, in a franchise that Ray Lewis made famous, Ed Reed will always be the second-best and second-most important player from the Miami Hurricanes to wear the Ravens’ purple.

There’s a certain swagger that the ‘U’ represents for anyone that’s spent any time in Coral Gables and worked their way into the NFL through the family of ‘Canes. The dominance of that program over three decades brings attention to anyone who wears the green and orange. And for anyone who knows the legend of Luke Campbell and the infamous “30 For 30 Series” regarding “The U” there’s an inherent culture of football, winning, and boasting that goes along with a renegade image that’s not only emphasized, but embraced.

Ed Reed is complicated. And most think he likes it that way.

As much as the two will be linked, there will always be something that makes Ray Lewis feel more significant to the Ravens and Ravens fans than Ed Reed. For starters, Reed will wear another uniform in 2013 and Lewis never opted for or really had the opportunity to take that path. But Reed, working in the shadows of the vivid, public leadership of Lewis, will probably never get the credit or respect he fully deserves simply because he played alongside of a once-in-a-generation icon.

Ed is Scottie Pippen. Ray is Michael Jordan.

But for pound-for-pound excitement and impact on a game, you’d be hard pressed to find a more compelling figure other than Lewis in the entire NFL over the first decade of his career. His accomplishments at the position of safety might never be matched. And like Ray Lewis, when his time comes for the ballot to Canton and a Hall of Fame bust, Ed Reed will almost certainly be a first-year inductee, which is the highest individual honor that can be bestowed upon an NFL player.

He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer yet he’ll always be “the other guy from Miami” who played for the Ravens and won a Super Bowl. It was easy to see the joy, relief, and energy that winning the Lombardi Trophy in his hometown of New Orleans brought to Reed in February 2013. It was an 11-year quest that was vindication for the native of St. Rose, just west of the big city along the Mississippi River.

Like many others on the Super Bowl XLVII champs, Reed fought adversity on his path from Destrahan High School in St. Charles Parish to Miami and onto Baltimore on his journey toward greatness while amassing wealth beyond his imagination.

Edward Earl Reed, Jr. was born September 11, 1978 in Jefferson, Louisiana and was always a great athlete. His dad, Ed Sr. was a welder and his mom, who worked at the local Walmart, had four other boys, and they all lived in a one-bedroom home.

By most accounts, Reed was a bit rambunctious and lacked focus in his teenage years yet teachers and coaches always saw a light

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Chapter 4: Ravens always begins with Ray

Posted on 14 January 2018 by Nestor Aparicio


“”It’s simple: when God is for you, who can be against you?”

– Ray Lewis (February 2013)





CONFETTI. THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALWAYS been about for Ray Lewis. When researching anything related to football, winning the Super Bowl, or why he made it through 17 grueling seasons in the middle of the Baltimore Ravens defense, it all comes back to the sight of confetti.

Ray Lewis is obsessed with confetti.

The thought of standing once again amidst a storm of showering colors and happy teammates, while hoisting the glittery silver Lombardi Trophy one more time before riding off into the NFL sunset motivated one of the greatest linebackers of all time morning, noon, and night.

“I look at that face [against] the backdrop of the confetti,” Lewis said before Super Bowl XLVII of his old pictures from Tampa in 2001. “That’s the only thing that makes that face. I promised that I’d do everything in my power to see that confetti drop again.” And he never stopped telling his teammates about that image, about that feeling they would have when it happened for them.

You can’t tell the Ray Lewis story in one chapter. It’s worthy of a book all its own, and the story continues to be told and will be told for years to come as the Ravens try to replace an irreplaceable rock in their existence.

Ray Lewis came to Baltimore a fractured man child, whose best friend and University of Miami roommate Marlin Barnes was murdered just seven days before he was picked by Ozzie Newsome with the 26th pick of the 1996 NFL Draft. He was 20 years old. He leaves the Baltimore football field 17 years later as a living legend, a civic hero whose storybook journey has some sordid stories, bloodstains, pain, drama, redemption, passion as well as a pair of World Championships and parades. It is a story nothing short of a fairy tale with a storybook ending shared by his fans and the entire community on a cold day in February 2013.

Murders. Pain. Eternal search. Death. Championships. Women. Failure. Success. Leadership. God. Orange jumpsuit. Incarceration. Leadership. Charity. Football. Passion. Fire. Dominance. Hall of Fame. Mentoring. Winning. Losing. Crying. Parenting. Owning. Preaching. Praying. Dancing. Triumph. Lifting. Running.

The World According to Ray is not an easy story to tell…

He walked into the Ravens complex on his first day of work with a black and white jersey, reminiscent of the Mean Machine in the movie “The Longest Yard” – no logo, no markings, just like a Penn State warm up — to do pull-ups and asked “What’s the record?” Lionel Vital, then a Ravens scout, told him “Forty six.” Lewis took off his shirt, did 47 pull-ups and asked what the record was for the next exercise.

Less than four months later, wearing purple for the first time, he was clearly the best player on the field at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street when the Ravens played against the Oakland Raiders in September 1996. You can measure his greatness by the stats, the games played, the two Super Bowl championships, and his first-ballot Hall of Fame induction that will no doubt fill Canton, Ohio with Ravens fans in August 2018. All of it would’ve been a story that Hollywood would never buy because it wouldn’t be believable, but to see Ray Lewis holding the Lombardi Trophy as his swan song in Baltimore was not only believable, but it was Ray’s final act of redemption on the field.

How rare and unique was it to see the greatest athlete in the history of his franchise, the greatest defensive player of his generation, end his career with the same team and do it winning a Super Bowl championship on the way out of Baltimore?

Even though he told head coach John Harbaugh months earlier that he was walking away from the NFL at year’s end, his teammates had no clue when he entered the Owings Mills facility on January 2, 2013 what was about to transpire. Ray Lewis was going to tell his team that he was done. Based on the reactions that day, they were as shocked as most of the media witnessing it

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OT Pike named Towson football MVP at annual awards banquet

Posted on 27 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Tiger Football Honors NCAA FCS Runners-Up

TOWSON, Md. – 
Offensive tackle Eric Pike (DuVal H.S./Landover, Md.) was named as the winner of the Doc Minnegan Award as the team’s Most Valuable Player at the annual Towson University football awards ceremony on Saturday, April 26.
Pike, who set a school record by starting all 50 games of his college career, is only the third offensive lineman to win the award which was started in 1969. He joins Mike Gunthrop (1992) and Joe Ripple (2005) as the only linemen to be honored with the award which was named in honor of former Towson Director of Athletics Doc Minnegan.
A two-year captain, Pike was a consensus first team All-American selection as a senior. He earned All-Colonial Athletic Association honors three times, including first team notice as a junior and senior. During his career, he helped the Tigers win two CAA championships and make two appearances in the NCAA FCS playoffs. As a senior, he helped the Tigers post a 13-3 record and reach the national championship game.
Record-setting running back Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.) was named as the Tigers’ Offensive Player of the Year while linebacker Monte Gaddis (Central Catholic H.S./Cleveland, Ohio) was the team’s Defensive Player of the Year award winner.
The CAA Offensive Player of the Year, West set NCAA FCS records with 2,509 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns. Gaddis made 124 tackles as a senior while earning second team All-CAA notice.
In addition, offensive guard Gavin Class (St. Paul’s School/Monkton, Md.), defensive tackle Arnold Farmer(Baltimore Poly H.S./Baltimore, Md.) and offensive center Doug Shaw (Loyola Blakefield H.S./Woodbine, Md.) shared the Tiger Award, presented to the player who best exemplifies the characteristics of a Tiger football player.
Freshman punter Jake Ryder (Sherwood H.S./Olney, Md.) was the winner of the Tiger Scholar-Athlete Award.
Quarterback Ryan Egolf (Bishop Shanahan H.S./Phoenixville, Md.) was the winner of the Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year award while linebacker James Simms (Reservoir H.S./Laurel, Md.) earned the Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year award. The Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Year award was presented to defensive back Al Augustine (George Washington H.S./Wyncote, Pa.).
All of the members of the 2013 Tigers were presented with rings commemorating their historic march to the NCAA FCS championship game which included wins over Fordham, No. 2 Eastern Illinois and No. 3 Eastern Washington.
The Tigers’ 14 All-CAA selections were also presented with their awards while the 14 Tigers who were selected to the CAA Academic All-Conference also received their awards.

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Blast players, coach Kelly named finalists for MISL Awards

Posted on 10 March 2014 by WNST Staff

2013-14 MISL Awards Finalists Announced

The Blast: Mike Lookingland, William Vanzela, and Danny Kelly

Baltimore, MD. – The Major Indoor Soccer League announced the finalists for its 2013-14 awards honoring the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Defender of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year and Coach of the Year from the 2013-14 season.

The winners will be announced at the MISL Championship Series media luncheon/awards ceremony prior to Game 1 of the 2013-14 MISL Championship Series. The 2013-14 All-MISL First and Second teams and the MISL All-Rookie Team will be announced on Tuesday.

The Baltimore Blast has 3 player/coach nominations for 4 MISL Award categories. Captain and 2012-13 MISL Defender of the Year, Mike Lookingland is nominated for the Most Valuable Player and Defender of the Year award. Lookingland ended the regular season leading his team in points (56), assists (18), while also leading the league in blocks (33). Goalkeeper and the 2013-14 MISL Points Against Average winner, William Vanzela, is in the running for Goalkeeper of the Year. Vanzela recorded a 5.57 points against average and with the help of his stellar defense, only let in 101 points this season. Head Coach Danny Kelly and the 2012-13 Coach of the Year, has been nominated again for the Coach of the Year Award. Kelly has coached his team to a 17-3 regular season record.


2013-14 MISL Award Finalists

Most Valuable Player

Kenardo Forbes, Syracuse Silver Knights

Leo Gibson, Missouri Comets

Mike Lookingland, Baltimore Blast


Rookie of the Year

Judson McKinney, Milwaukee Wave

Odaine Sinclair, St. Louis Ambush

Max Touloute, Missouri Comets


Defender of the Year

Brian Harris, Missouri Comets

Mike Lookingland, Baltimore Blast

Nelson Santana, Syracuse Silver Knights


  Coach of the Year

Vlatko Andonovski, Missouri Comets

Danny Kelly, Baltimore Blast

Tommy Tanner, Syracuse Silver Knights


Goalkeeper of the Year

Marcel Feenstra, Milwaukee Wave

William Vanzela, Baltimore Blast

Danny Waltman, Missouri Comets

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QB Reynolds named MVP at Navy football banquet

Posted on 08 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Naval Academy Honors Football Team At Annual Banquet

ANNAPOLIS, Md.-The annual Naval Academy football banquet was held Friday evening at Alumni Hall where several prestigious awards were handed out.

Navy finished the 2013 campaign with a 9-4 record, won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for the ninth time in the last 11 years, qualified for a bowl game for the 10th time in the last 11 years, won a bowl game for just the eighth time in school history and defeated Army for a series-record 12th-consecutive year.

This year’s team is just the fifth in Navy’s 132-year history of playing football to win at least nine games in a season, beat Army and win a bowl game.  The 1957, 1978, 2004 and 2009 teams also achieved that feat.

Navy has won at least nine games five times in the last 10 years.  Before the current streak, Navy had won nine or more games just five times in the previous 77 seasons.

Navy’s senior class finished with a 31-20 (.627) record over four seasons in Annapolis, qualified for three bowl games, won a bowl game and won three Commander-In-Chief’s Trophies.

Sophomore 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.  This is the second-consecutive year that Reynolds has won the award after becoming the first freshman to win the award last year.    Reynolds was also 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.

Reynolds had one of the greatest seasons by a Navy football player in history, rushing for 1,346 yards and 31 touchdowns, while throwing for 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns.  His 31 rushing touchdowns not only was a school record, but an NCAA record for a quarterback.  He is just the fourth player in NCAA history (any position) to rush for 30 or more touchdowns in a single season.  He finished the 2013 campaign No. 1 in the country in scoring per game (14.7 points per contest), tied for first in touchdowns (31) and tied for 11th in points responsible for per game (18.2).  His 1,3446 rushing yards are the 14th most in NCAA history by a quarterback and the third most in school history by any player.  His seven rushing touchdowns against San Jose State set an NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in any game and tied the NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by any player against an FBS opponent.  His 188 points this season eclipsed the school record of 174 set by Bill Ingram back in 1917.  His 236 points responsible for (31 rushing touchdowns, eight passing touchdowns, one two-point conversion) shattered the previous school record of 198 set by Ricky Dobbs in 2009.

Senior linebacker Cody Peterson (Olympia, Wash.) 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. He was also the recipient of the First Lieutenant Ron Winchester Unsung Hero Award, which is presented to an unheralded senior recognized as an overachiever and role model as selected by a vote of his teammates.

Peterson, a co-captain this past fall, had a standout senior campaign where he led the Navy defense with 142 tackles, including 94 solo stops.  He also recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss.  Peterson finished tied for second in the country in solo tackles per game (7.2 per contest) and finished tied for seventh in total tackles per game (10.9 per game). His 142 tackles this year were the most by a Navy player since Javier Zuluaga had 146 in 1992.

Senior Justin Haan (Byron City, Mich.) was named the winner of 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.  Haan, who is majoring in International Relations, carries a 3.78-grade point average.

Senior linebacker DJ Sargenti (Ridgefield, N.J.) 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.

Sargenti, who had never recorded a tackle prior to this season and wasn’t moved to inside linebacker until the beginning of fall practice, recorded 110 tackles on the year, including 71 solo stops.  He finished 25th in the country in solo tackles per game, averaging 5.5 per contest, and 62nd in total tackles, averaging 8.5 per game.   Sargenti and Peterson are the first duo to reach 100 tackles in a season since 2005 when Rob Caldwell recorded 140 tackles and Jake Biles had 109.

Senior slot back and kick returner Marcus Thomas (Baton Rouge, La.) was named the winner of the 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.

Thomas finished his career with 2,768 all-purpose yards, including a school-record 2,338 yards on kickoff returns.  Thomas had a sensational senior campaign rushing for 263 yards on 26 carries (10.1 yards per rush), catching five passes for 94 yards (18.8 yards per catch) and returning 24 kickoffs for 564 yards (23.5 yards per return).

Senior nose guard Travis Bridges (Hollywood, Fla.) 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.

Bridges came to Navy as an offensive lineman, but moved to nose guard last year and had a breakout campaign as a senior playing in all 13 games, making four starts, and recording 25 tackles and forcing a fumble.  Bridges was part of Navy’s goal-line stand against Middle Tennessee State in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, teaming with George Jamison to stop the Blue Raiders on fourth and one.

Freshman slot back Calvin Cass Jr. (Sicklerville, N.J.) 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.

Cass helped lead the JV team to a 2-1 record and is expected to compete for playing time on the varsity next fall.  A 2013 graduate of St. Augustine Prep School, Cass was a three-sport athlete who earned letters in basketball, football and track & field (sprints). He earned First-Team All-Cape Athletic League honors, as well as First-Team All-South Jersey recognition in football as he led the state of New Jersey and set high school records for rushing yards (2,001) and touchdowns (37) as a senior (on 257 carries). His father, Calvin Sr., was a star running back at West Point.

Senior linebacker Michael Tuimavave (Daly City, Calif.) was named the winner of the Cooke Award, which is given to the player who has done the most to promote team spirit.

Despite not seeing much action his final two years, Tuimavave was one of the inspirational leaders of the team.  He possessed a great attitude and was an integral part of the great chemistry that permeated throughout the 2013 squad.

Also recognized were the following who earned postseason honors.

Junior guard Jake Zuzek (Brookhaven, Pa.) was named to the USA Today All-Bowl Team, while junior safety George Jamison (Cordova, Tenn.) was named to the ESPN.Com All-Bowl Team.

Reynolds was named the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Most Valuable Player for Navy, the Male Athlete of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio, the MVP of the Army-Navy Game presented by the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association, the recipient of the Tony Rubino Silver Helmet Award presented by the Annapolis Touchdown Club and for being named an Honorable Mention All-American by Sports Illustrated.

Reynolds, Zuzek, junior tackle Bradyn Heap (South Jordan, Utah), Peterson, freshman corner Brendon Clements (Miami, Fla.) and Thomas were named All-East by the ECAC.

Reynolds and Peterson were selected First-Team All-Independent by Phil Steele.

SB Nation tabbed Reynolds its Independent Offensive Player of the Year and Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo the Independent Coach of the Year.

Peterson was selected to the East-West Shrine All-Star game in St. Petersburg, Fla. He did not play in the game due to surgery on his shoulders.

Nine Navy football players were named to the 2013 FBS All-Independent Team. Reynolds was named the 2013 FBS All-Independent Offensive Player of the Year. Joining Reynolds on the All-Independent First Team were Heap, Peterson and junior safety/cornerback Parrish Gaines (Smyrna, Tenn.).  Honorable mention selections for the Midshipmen included junior punter Pablo Beltran (Humble, Texas), Clements, junior outside linebacker Chris Johnson (Cape Coral, Fla.), Thomas and Zuzek.

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QB Brown named Team MVP at Maryland football banquet

Posted on 15 December 2013 by WNST Staff

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland football team announced its 2013 season awards during the annual awards banquet on Sunday. Head coach Randy Edsall and his staff handed out 11 total awards, including the Ray Krouse Memorial Award, sponsored by Capital One Bank, for the team’s Most Valuable Player which was presented to C.J. Brown.

After missing last season, Brown returned in 2013 and became the first Maryland player to throw for over 2,000 yards and rush for over 500 yards in the same season. The senior signal caller threw for 2,045 yards and 11 touchdowns, while rushing for 538 yards and 12 touchdowns. Brown had four 100-yard rushing games this season including a season-high 138 yards in the regular-season finale at NC State, which is the third-highest single-game total for a quarterback in school history. For his efforts, Brown was named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week. His 23 touchdowns responsible for this season is the third most in school history.

In one of the more emotional moments of the banquet, Edsall presented Dexter McDougle with the inaugural Dexter McDougle Ultimate Team Player Award to close the event. Before suffering a season-ending injury at Connecticut on Sept. 14, McDougle had registered three interceptions in the Terps first three games. Despite the injury, McDougle remained a constant presence at Gossett Football Team House. He attended meetings, traveled to away games, sat in the coaches’ booth during games, and mentored and assisted other members of the team throughout the remainder of the season.

The complete list of award-winners is below:

Tony Perry: The George C. Cook Memorial Award for the senior with the highest academic average.

P.J. Gallo: The George Boutselis Memorial Award for the player who both lettered in football while attaining the highest GPA on the team and has adhered to the goals of the student-athlete ideal.

Sal Conaboy: The Public Service Award for the student athlete that has committed to serving and having a positive influence in the community.

Tony Perry: The Dr. John E. Faber Award for Iron Man, which is named after Dr. John E. Faber, who coached men’s lacrosse for 35 years and finished his coaching career with a record of 249 wins and only 57 losses, including national championship teams.

Matt Robinson: The A.V. Williams Award for Outstanding & Conspicuous Sportsmanship Award for the student athlete that best displays outstanding & conspicuous sportsmanship during the course of the year.

Greg Parcher: The Alvin L. Aubinoe Unsung Hero Trophy for the student athlete that best displays the true meaning of teamwork without regard for his personal goals.

Andre Monroe: The James M. Tatum Memorial Award for Lineman of the Year.

William Likely: Special Teams Player of the Year Award.

Marcus Whitfield: Defensive Player of the Year Award in memory of Herman Grabenstein.

C.J. Brown: Offensive Player of the Year Award in honor of Larry Grabenstein.

C.J. Brown: Ray Krouse Memorial Award for Team’s Most Valuable Player.

Dexter McDougle: The Dexter McDougle Ultimate Team Player Award

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Bovada gives Flacco 50/1 odds to win NFL MVP

Posted on 20 August 2013 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).


2013 NFL MVP – Odds to Win    

Peyton Manning (DEN) QB                    5/1

Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB                        13/2

Colin Kaepernick (SF) QB                      10/1

Drew Brees (NO) QB                              10/1

Adrian Peterson (MIN) RB                      12/1

Tom Brady (NE) QB                               12/1

Matt Ryan (ATL) QB                               15/1

Robert Griffin III (WAS) QB                    18/1

Russell Wilson (SEA) QB                       18/1

Andrew Luck (IND) QB                           25/1

Calvin Johnson (DET) WR                      25/1

Eli Manning (NYG) QB                           25/1

Arian Foster (HOU) RB                           33/1

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB                  33/1

Cam Newton (CAR) QB                          33/1

Matthew Stafford (DET) QB                   33/1

Michael Vick (PHI) QB                           33/1

Tony Romo (DAL) QB                            33/1

Matt Schaub (HOU) QB                          40/1

J.J. Watt (HOU) DE                               40/1

Chris Johnson (TEN) RB                        50/1

Joe Flacco (BAL) QB                             50/1

Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB                    50/1

Philip Rivers (SD) QB                            50/1

Jay Cutler (CHI) QB                               66/1

Ray Rice (BAL) RB                                66/1

Alfred Morris (WAS) RB                         66/1

Jamaal Charles (KC) RB                         66/1

Matt Forte (CHI) RB                               66/1

Steven Jackson (ATL) RB                      66/1

Doug Martin (TB) RB                             66/1

Andy Dalton (CIN) QB                            75/1

Alex Smith (KC) QB                               75/1

Josh Freeman (TB) QB                          75/1

Sam Bradford (STL) QB                         75/1

A.J. Green (CIN) WR                              100/1

Andre Johnson (HOU) WR                     100/1

Brandon Marshall (CHI) WR                    100/1

Reggie Bush (DET) RB                          150/1


Who will record the most Passing Yards in the 2013 Regular Season?      

Drew Brees (NO) QB                              4/1

Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB                        6/1

Matthew Stafford (DET) QB                   13/2

Peyton Manning (DEN) QB                    7/1

Matt Ryan (ATL) QB                               10/1

Tom Brady (NE) QB                               12/1

Tony Romo (DAL) QB                            15/1

Andrew Luck (IND) QB                           15/1

Eli Manning (NYG) QB                           20/1

Jay Cutler (CHI) QB                               28/1

Philip Rivers (SD) QB                            33/1

Matt Schaub (HOU) QB                          33/1

Cam Newton (CAR) QB                          33/1

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB                  33/1

Sam Bradford (STL) QB                         40/1

Carson Palmer (ARI) QB                        40/1

Josh Freeman (TB) QB                          40/1

Andy Dalton (CIN) QB                            40/1

Joe Flacco (BAL) QB                             40/1

Colin Kaepernick (SF) QB                      40/1

Robert Griffin III (WAS) QB                    50/1

Ryan Tannehill (MIA) QB                        50/1

Alex Smith (KC) QB                               50/1

Russell Wilson (SEA) QB                       66/1

Michael Vick (PHI) QB                           66/1

Mark Sanchez (NYJ) QB                        200/1


Who will record the most Rushing Yards in the 2013 Regular Season?      

Adrian Peterson (MIN) RB                      11/4

Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB                    7/1

Doug Martin (TB) RB                             10/1

Arian Foster (HOU) RB                           10/1

Alfred Morris (WAS) RB                         12/1

Jamaal Charles (KC) RB                         14/1

C.J. Spiller (BUF) RB                             14/1

Trent Richardson (CLE) RB                    16/1

Chris Johnson (TEN) RB                        18/1

Ray Rice (BAL) RB                                18/1

LeSean McCoy (PHI) RB                        20/1

Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) RB               20/1

Stevan Ridley (NE) RB                           25/1

Matt Forte (CHI) RB                               28/1

Steven Jackson (ATL) RB                      28/1

Frank Gore (SF) RB                               33/1

DeMarco Murray (DAL) RB                     33/1

Darren McFadden (OAK) RB                  33/1

Reggie Bush (DET) RB                          40/1

Lamar Miller (MIA) RB                            40/1

Montee Ball (DEN) RB                           40/1

Ryan Mathews (SD) RB                         50/1

Rashard Mendenhall (ARI) RB                50/1

Ahmad Bradshaw (IND) RB                    50/1


Who will record the most Receiving Yards in the 2013 Regular Season?    

Calvin Johnson (DET) WR                      11/4

Dez Bryant (DAL) WR                            8/1

A.J. Green (CIN) WR                              9/1

Brandon Marshall (CHI) WR                    9/1

Julio Jones (ATL) WR                            14/1

Demaryius Thomas (DEN) WR               14/1

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) WR                       18/1

Andre Johnson (HOU) WR                     18/1

Roddy White (ATL) WR                          20/1

Randall Cobb (GB) WR                          20/1

Vincent Jackson (TB) WR                      20/1

Victor Cruz (NYG) WR                            20/1

Wes Welker (DEN) WR                          22/1

Danny Amendola (NE) WR                     22/1

Dwayne Bowe (KC) WR                         33/1

Marques Colston (NO) WR                     33/1

Reggie Wayne (IND) WR                        33/1

Steve Smith (CAR) WR                          33/1

Antonio Brown (PIT) WR                        40/1

Hakeem Nicks (NYG) WR                       40/1

Mike Wallace (MIA) WR                          40/1

Eric Decker (DEN) WR                           40/1

DeSean Jackson (PHI) WR                    40/1

Pierre Garcon (WAS) WR                       50/1

Jordy Nelson (GB) WR                          50/1

Kenny Britt (TEN) WR                            50/1

Tavon Austin (STL) WR                          50/1

Miles Austin (DAL) WR                          50/1

Anquan Boldin (SF) WR                         50/1

Jimmy Graham (NO) TE                         50/1

Cecil Shorts (JAC) WR                           66/1

Torrey Smith (BAL) WR                          66/1

Steve Johnson (BUF) WR                      75/1

Greg Jennings (MIN) WR                        100/1


Who will win the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year?        

Tavon Austin (STL) WR                          5/1

Montee Ball (DEN) RB                           11/2

Eddie Lacy (GB) RB                              7/1

EJ Manuel (BUF) QB                             10/1

Geno Smith (NYJ) QB                            10/1

Deandre Hopkins (HOU) WR                  10/1

Le’Veon Bell (PIT) RB                            12/1

Robert Woods (BUF) WR                       14/1

Tyler Eifert (CIN) TE                               14/1

Aaron Dobson (NE) WR                         16/1

Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN) WR              16/1

Justin Hunter (TEN) WR                         20/1

Keenan Allen (SD) WR                           20/1

Denard Robinson (RB) JAC                   25/1

Zach Ertz (PHI) TE                                 25/1

Matt Barkley (PHI) QB                            33/1

Joseph Randle (RB) DAL                       33/1

Mike Gillislee (RB) MIA                          33/1


Who will win the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year?       

Ezekiel Ansah                                       6/1

Arthur Brown                                         15/2

Jarvis Jones                                         8/1

Manti Teo                                              14/1

Star Lotulelei                                         14/1

Tyran Mathieu                                        14/1

Barkevious Mingo                                 16/1

Dee Milliner                                           16/1

Matt Elam                                             16/1

Sharrif Floyd                                         16/1

DJ Hayden                                            18/1

Datone Jones                                       18/1

Dion Jordan                                          18/1

Alec Ogletree                                        20/1

Desmond Trufant                                  20/1

John Jenkins                                         20/1

Kenny Vaccaro                                      20/1

Bjoern Werner                                       25/1

Eric Reid                                               25/1

Jonathan Cyprien                                  25/1

Kevin Minter                                          25/1

Sheldon Richardson                              25/1

Sylvester Williams                                 25/1

Xavier Rhodes                                      25/1

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