Sunday, December 10, 2006

Very, Very Rewarding!

Or awarding. Or something. SchrockStar called me out for my recent blogging slacktitude, especially in light of Brady Quinn's recent acceptance of the Maxwell Award. To make it up to him, here is a list of (to date-ish) awards won by this year's Fighting Irish football team.

Brady Quinn
Maxwell Award College Player of the Year House Rock Built calls it the Heisman Miss Congeniality Award. I call it the "We know you're as good as the other guy, if not better, and we're sorry that the media didn't hype you up as much" Award. Quinn brings home Notre Dame's sixth Maxwell award. Past winners include Ross Browner, Jim Lynch, John Lattner (twice), and Leon Hart.
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Best Senior College Quarterback Tony Rice was the first Notre Dame player to win this award when he did it back in 1989. Quinn joins an impressive list that includes Peyton Manning, David Carr, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, and Matt Leinart. That's one-sixth of the current starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Rodney Peete, whose accomplishments include a long NFL career and marrying the hot chick from Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, is also a past Unitas Golden arm recipient. Unfortunately, Quinn also joins a list that includes the likes of Chris Weinke, Cade McNown, Danny Wuerffel, and Gino Toretta.
Sports Illustrated Second Team All-American Predictably, Quinn ceded the first team spot to that Troy Smith guy. Quinn didn't make the Walter Camp All-America list thanks to Smith and Hawaii's Colt Brennan, who put up Ty Detmer-esque numbers this year.
AP Second Team All-American Again behind that Troy Smith guy.
Pontiac Game Changing Performance Nominee Voting is still open, as the game-winning touchdown from the UCLA game is now one of the final ten plays up for this award.
Senior Bowl January 27, 2007 This is the bowl you want to be in if you have NFL aspirations. Both squads are led by current NFL coaching staffs, essentially turning this game into a draft tryout. A few years ago, Marty Schottenheimer coached Phillip Rivers' team. Schottenheimer used that as a chance to teach Rivers his San Diego system, and then Schottenheimer drafted Rivers. Last year, Jay Cutler used an excellent Senior Bowl performance to prove that he belonged with the big boys, and his draft status skyrocketed.

Jeff Samardzija
Walter Camp Foundation Second Team All-American The Walter Camp Foundation is the granddaddy of all All-America selection committees. Samardzija joins record-setting Rice wideout Jarett Dillard on the second team, behind the talented Dwayne Jarrett and Calvin Johnson.
Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American SI places Jarrett, Johnson, Dillard, and Tennessee's Robert Meachem on their first and second teams.
AP Second Team All-American Joining Dillard behind Johnson and Jarrett
Pontiac Game Changing Performance Nominee See above. He's going in! Notre Dame has scored!
Senior Bowl January 27, 2007 This, along with good combine numbers, will help convert any scouts who still have white stereotypes running through their heads. It may also create a craze to recruit the Eastern European athlete.

Rhema McKnight
Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American McKnight is a good player who quietly had a very solid season.
Senior Bowl January 27, 2007 Missing most of last year due to injury, combined with a relatively quiet season, didn't help McKnight's draft status. This will be his chance to shine.

John Carlson
Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American I'm not sure what SI was thinking here, as Matt Spaeth - who won the Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end - also was only able to make honorable mention. Carlson put up outstanding numbers this year. If he hadn't missed the last two games of this season, or if he hadn't burst onto the scene so suddenly, perhaps his trophy case would be much fuller right now.

Ryan Harris
Senior Bowl January 27, 2007 Has it been that long since the "too skinny" kid was thrown into the fire his freshman year? Harris will be given his chance to prove that all of the accolades over the years were well-earned.

Sam Young
Sporting News First Team Freshman All-American Freshman first became eligible to play in 1972. Since then, Young has been Notre Dame's first opening day starter on the offensive line. The important thing, though, is that he played well enough to keep the job. Young proved very early on that Bob Morton's hand holding was rarely needed.

Dan Santucci
East-West Shrine Game January 20, 2007 All postseason senior bowls are an honor. Not bad for someone who started out as a defensive tackle.

Bob Morton
Hula Bowl January 14, 2007 Morton was a four year starter at ND. The big redhead had better bring the extra-strength sunblock to Hawaii.

Victor Abiamiri
Senior Bowl January 27, 2007 Abiamiri is already a Day One pick in the draft. A good performance could make him a Round One pick.

Derek Landri
East-West Shrine Game January 20, 2007 Landri really isn't big enough to play defensive tackle in the pros. The fact that he wasn't picked for the Senior Bowl shows that he isn't considered a top talent right now. But if he plays with the same intensity he's shown all season, he will get the scouts talking.

Tom Zbikowski
Walter Camp Foundation Second Team All-American Zbikowski was named an All-American at defensive back. However, injuries hampered Zbikowski's performance, and limited him to zero interceptions, so one wonders if this is more of a lifetime achievement award. Still, a lifetime achievement award is well-earned in Zbikowski's case.
AP Third Team All-American

Geoff Price
Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American At first I wondered if, like Carlson, Price was hurt a little by coming out of nowhere in his senior season. But then I saw Price finished "only" seventh in the country in punt average. So, honorable mention is fair in this case.