Naval Academy Honors Football Team At Annual Banquet
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Naval Academy football banquet was held Friday evening at Alumni Hall where several prestigious awards were handed out.
Navy finished the 2016 campaign with 9-5 record, won the AAC West Division title, qualified for a bowl game for the 13th time in the last 14 years and the senior class became the winningest class in school history with a four-year record of 37-16. Navy's nine wins are tied for the fifth most in school history.
Senior quarterback Will Worth (Valrico, Fla.) 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.
Worth entered the season as the back-up quarterback, but after starting quarterback Tago Smith went down with a season-ending injury, Worth stepped in and led the Mids to an 8-2 record and the American Athletic Conference West Division title over the next 10 games before going down with a season-ending injury in the AAC Championship game against Temple.
Worth finished the 2016 campaign with 1,198 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns to go along with his 1,397 passing yards and eight touchdowns. He scored a touchdown in 11-consecutive games, which is the second-longest streak in school history, while his 25 rushing touchdowns are the fourth most in NCAA history by a quarterback. Worth rushed for more than 100 yards in a school-record tying seven-consecutive games, while his eight total 100-yard rushing games also tied the school record. Worth also set school records for passing yards per attempt in a season (11.9), passing efficiency (179.3) and single-season total offense (2,595). He was named the ECAC Player of the Year and the Annapolis Touchdown Silver Helmet Award winner as Navy's Most Valuable Player.
Worth 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. He was also the Cmdr. Ralph Sentmann Award winner, which honors the member of the graduating class from the varsity football team who has achieved the highest ranking in academic order of merit. Ironically enough, Worth's brother, Joe, also won that award his senior year.
Worth was also presented with the American Sports Network FBS Player of the Year award he won earlier this year.
Senior special teams stalwart Ryan Harris (Mission Viejo, Calif.) was named 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.
Harris was one of Navy's emotional leaders and one of the top special teams players in the American Athletic Conference. Harris recorded 44 special teams tackles in his career, including a career-high 17 as a junior.
Senior wide receiver Jamir Tillman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 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.
Tillman will graduate as one of the top receivers in school history, finishing second all-time in career receiving yards (1,620), seventh in career catches (91), fifth in single-season touchdown catches (five) and third in career touchdown catches (10). He was also solid in the classroom, earning over a 3.0 grade point average in each of the last three semesters.
Senior linebacker Daniel Gonzales (Tucson, Ariz.) won the Cooke Award, which is given to the player who has done the most to promote team spirit.
Gonzales, a co-captain, started 30-consecutive games for the Mids before suffering a season-ending injury against Air Force. Even after the injury, Gonzales remained a vocal leader for the team. He finished his career with 174 tackles, six tackles for a loss, four interceptions, one pass break-up and one forced fumble.
Senior slot back Toneo Gulley (Akron, Ohio) 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.
Gulley, a co-captain, had a sensational senior campaign rushing for 427 yards and four touchdowns on just 43 carries (9.9 yards per carry), while catching four passes for 110 yards (27.5 yards per catch) and one touchdown. His season was cut short in the AAC Championship Game when he was injured on the same play that Will Worth was injured and was lost for the year. Gulley finished his career with 693 career rushing yards with eight touchdowns to go along with 140 career receiving yards and one touchdown and 271 career kickoff return yards.
Senior slot back Dishan Romine was named the winner of 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.
Romine gained 2,525 all-purpose yards in his career. He finished with 964 yards rushing and one touchdown on 97 carries (9.9 yards per carry), caught 10 passes for 208 yards (20.8 yards per reception) and returned 52 kickoffs for 1,353 yards (26.0). Romine's career kickoff return average of 26.0 is the third-best average in school history.
Senior tackle Blake Copeland (Muscle Shoals, Ala.) was awarded the Outstanding Lineman 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.
Copeland anchored an offensive line that helped Navy average 37.9 points per game, 438.3 yards of total offense per game and 310.1 yards per game on the ground. Navy set school records in points (531), touchdowns (73), rushing touchdowns (61), total offense (6,136 yards) and yards per play (6.8).
Freshman slot back Tazh Maloy (Pflugerville, Texas) 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.
Maloy is a 2015 graduate of Hendrickson High School and attended the Naval Academy Prep School during the 2015-16 academic year. He earned three varsity letters in football at Hendrickson and was named the 13-6a Offensive MVP his senior year and earned SWA All-State Honorable Mention.