Tonight is the annual Badger football banquet. In advance of that, some off-the-cuff awards I would give:
Offensive MVP: Garrett Graham. It's no surprise that a tight end would excel in Chryst's system, but this season Garrett proved he doesn't take a backseat to anyone. Second on the team in receiving yards, and first in receiving touchdowns, Graham was the go-to guy all season.
Offensive Newcomer of the Year: No surprise, John Clay. The kid can ball. Another spring and fall of learnin' and this kid should be a star. He may be the closest Badger to an everydown NFL back in a long time.
Offensive Pleasant Surprise of the Year: Isaac Anderson. Finally healthy, if we have a quarterback that can get him the ball, this kid looks very nice.
Defensive MVP: Allen Langford. Coming off a season-ending ACL, Langford put together his best season as a Badger, led the team in pass-break-ups, and was second among the secondary in tackles. One of two Badgers named first-team all-Big Ten (Graham is the other). DeAndre Levy gets honorable mention.
Defensive Newcomer of the Year: O'Brien Schofield. A linebacker-turned undersized defensive end, O'Brien led the team in sacks and was second in tackles for loss (.5 behind the leader). The defensive line will be a concern next season, but it looks like at least one end is in good shape.
Defensive Pleasant Surprise of the Year: with some healthy competition from Chris Maragos, it's Jaevery McFadden. Coming in as the rookie middlelinebacker, starting the year with a broken hand, he lead the team in tackles, and it wasn't close. The linebacking corps wasn't all we had hoped -- heck, the defense wasn't all that we'd hoped -- but Jaevery did his part.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Philip Welch. 18 of 22, only one miss inside 44 yards, and a season long of 52 (4th longest in Badger history). 38 of 39 on PATs. Not bad for a Freshman.
Unsung Hero Award: Zach Brown. The second best running back on the team (with the ball), he's the most versatile in the backfield. Clay should be the everydown back, but Brown should spell him, and take the obvious passing situations.
Graduating Senior I'll Miss Most: Travis Beckum. This year didn't go the way he (or the fans) wanted for him or the team, but he's been a joy to watch and cheer for. We're all looking forward to a speedy recovery and seeing what he can do on Sundays.
12/15 Weekend Update: here are the awards the team gave Friday night (with several familiar names)