Feb. 10, 2012
The annual Naval Academy football banquet was held Friday evening at Alumni Hall where several prestigious awards were handed out. Navy posted a 5-7 record in 2011 and won a record 10th-straight game over rival Army. 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.
Senior defensive end Jabaree Tuani (Madison, 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. Tuani recorded 52 tackles on the year and led or tied for the team lead in tackles for a loss (13), sacks (5.5), forced fumbles (4) and fumble recoveries (3). He was at his best in the Mids season finale against Army, recording six tackles, a tackle for a loss, recovered a fumble that set up Navy's first touchdown and caused a fumble that set up Navy's second touchdown. He was named First-Team All-Independent by the nationwide media panel responsible for the FBS Independent Player of the Week awards and was selected to Phil Steele's 2011 All-Independent First Team. He also was invited to play in the East-West Shrine All-Star Game.
Tuani was also named the winner of the Roger Staubach Award, which is presented to the Navy varsity football player of the graduating class who has contributed the most to the team's success over his playing career. Tuani played in all 52 games that Navy played over the last four years, starting 47 of those games including the final 29. He concluded his career with 220-career tackles, 43 tackles for a loss, 16 sacks, seven pass break-ups, 12 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. His 43 tackles for a loss are the second most in school history, while his 16 sacks tie for third.
Tuani was also as the Tony Rubino Memorial Silver Helmet Award, which is presented to Navy's Most Valuable Player by the Annapolis Touchdown Club. Tuani will receive that award at the Annapolis Touchdown Club Banquet on February 16.
Fullback Alexander Teich
(Conroe, Texas) was the recipient of the Joe Bellino Award, which is presented to the Navy varsity football player of the graduating class who is the leading ground gainer over his playing career, and 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. Teich rushed for 2,146 yards in his career and garnered 2,901 all-purpose yards. The 2,146 rushing yards are the ninth most in school history and the second most by a Navy fullback. Teich will go down in Navy football lore for his performance against Notre Dame as a junior, rushing for 210 yards on 26 carries and catching one pass for 31 yards and a touchdown in Navy's 35-17 victory over the Irish.
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 safety Brian Blick (Greenville, N.C.). Blick played in nine games over his career for the Midshipmen, including six as a senior. Despite not playing as much as some of his teammates, he was one of the strongest leaders on the team and the respect others had for him was shown every game his senior year when he was chosen as one of the players to lead the team out of the tunnel carrying the American flag.
Offensive guard John Dowd (Staten Island, N.Y.) was given 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, as well as 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.
Dowd was a three-year contributor and two-year starter on the offensive line, playing in 39-consecutive games and starting 25-straight contests. He helped Navy rush for 312.3 yards per game in 2011, the most yards rushing by a Navy team since 2007. Dowd is the first player in school history to be named a Three-Time Academic All-American and a Two-Time First-Team Academic All-American. He won an $18,000 NCAA postgraduate scholarship from the National Football Foundation and was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the nation's premier scholar-athlete in the sport of football. Dowd was also a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, which is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School and focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Dowd, who is a mechanical engineering major, has a 3.9 grade-point average and ranks 77th out of 1,127 in the Class of 2012 in overall order of merit.
Slot back Aaron Santiago (Kapolei, Hawai'i) took home the Jeffrey R. Korn Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award, established by Jeff's parents, Dr. and Mrs. Ronald D. Korn, in memory of their son, a member of the Class of 1983. The award is given annually to the first classman on the team who has demonstrated excellence both in the classroom and on the football field. Santiago was a two-year starter, rushing for 467 yards and four touchdowns and catching 16 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns. After scoring two touchdowns in the season-opener of his senior campaign against Delaware, Santiago broke his arm against Western Kentucky and was thought to be out for the year. Instead, he missed just six games and returned to start in the final four games of the season. The Mids were 5-1 this fall in games that Santiago played and averaged 32.8 points per contest in those games. A systems engineering major, he has a 3.38 grade-point average.
Rising sophomore quarterback Cody West (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 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. West will have the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback job in the spring.
Wide receiver Doug Furman (Twinsburg, Ohio) was named the winner of the Cooke Award, which is given to the player who has done the most to promote team spirit. Furman was a three-year contributor at wide receiver and started 11 games in his career, including eight as a senior before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Notre Dame. He led by example with his ferocious blocking and selfless attitude. Furman will formally receive his award at the annual Prizes & Awards ceremony during Commissioning Week.
Senior center Brady DeMell (Mentor, Ohio), senior tackle Ryan Basford (Jacksonville, Fla.) and junior outside linebacker/safety Tra'ves Bush (Johnston, S.C.) were recognized for being named All-East by the head coaches on the Eastern Seaboard.
DeMell and Basford teamed up on the offensive line over the last two seasons and helped Navy rush for 312.3 yards per game in 2011, the most yards rushing by a Navy team since 2007. DeMell played in 39-consecutive games to end his career, including 26-consecutive starts at center, while Basford started 23-consecutive games at tackle. Bush finished second on the team in tackles with 93, intercepted two passes returning one for a touchdown and came up with four tackles for loss while playing both outside linebacker and safety.