Jan. 22, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- University of Notre Dame junior wide receiver Michael Floyd captured the 2010 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award at the 90th Notre Dame Football Awards Ceremony. Floyd was selected in a vote by the Fighting Irish football team and the MVP award was one of 11 presented Saturday afternoon at the show sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.
Floyd (St. Paul, Minn.) led the Irish with 79 receptions for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 79 catches ranked second in Notre Dame single-season history, while his 12 touchdowns tied for fourth most in a season and his 1,025 receiving yards ranked seventh.
Floyd started 12 games in 2010 - missing only the Navy game - and was at his best in the second half of the season. Despite sitting out much of the third and fourth quarters versus both Western Michigan and Miami (Fla.), Floyd totaled 44 receptions for 558 yards and nine touchdowns in the final six games of 2010.
Senior running back Robert Hughes received the Nick Pietrosante Award. The Pietrosante Award is given to the student-athlete who best exemplified the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride of the late Irish All-America fullback. Pietrosante, Notre Dame's leading rusher in 1957 and '58 (and later a number-one draft pick and two-time all-pro selection with the Detroit Lions), died of cancer on Feb. 6, 1988. The recipient is determined by a vote of the players and past winners have included Kyle McCarthy, Maurice Crum Jr., Mike Anello, John Carlson, Jeff Faine, Aaron Taylor, Tom Zbikowski and Chris Zorich.
Hughes (Chicago, Ill.) finished the year with a modest 300 yards rushing and two touchdowns, but his efforts in 2010 far exceeded those numbers. He totaled 15 yards on five carries over Notre Dame's first six games, but following the season-ending injury to fellow senior Armando Allen Jr., Hughes recorded 285 yards on 63 carries over the final six contests of the regular season, including 69 yards on 11 carries against USC and 81 yards on 27 carries in the Hyundai Sun Bowl versus Miami (Fla.). He rumbled for 36 yards alone on a seven play, 77-yard go-ahead touchdown drive against the Trojans, capping the march with a five-yard touchdown plunge to help the Irish snap USC's eight-game winning streak in the series.
Sophomore offensive tackle Zack Martin (Indianapolis, Ind.) won the Guardian of the Year Award from the Guardian Life Insurance Company (a sponsor of Irish football on ISP radio broadcasts) as the top offensive lineman. One of four players on the Irish offensive line to start all 13 games this year, Martin opened 11 contests at left tackle, two at right tackle and was predominantly responsible for blocking the blindside of Notre Dame's quarterbacks. He was a key reason the Irish allowed only 20 sacks in 2010, which averaged out to 1.54 per game. Notre Dame has not allowed fewer sacks per game since 1998. Martin also earned the Jimmy Rogers, Jr. Most Valuable Lineman Award following the Hyundai Sun Bowl victory over Miami (Fla.).
Senior nose guard Ian Williams (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) claimed the Lineman of the Year Award by the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Williams, who missed the final four games of the regular season with a knee injury, started nine games and finished the season with 38 tackles, 17 solo stops, 21 assisted tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss (18 yards), 1.5 sacks (16 yards), one interception and one pass breakup.
Senior place kicker David Ruffer (Oakton, Va.) was honored with the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. Ruffer, who was named to the 2010 First Team ESPN Academic All-America® Football Team, earned a 3.90 grade-point average while studying economics. He excelled on the field as well. Ruffer was a finalist for the 2010 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Discover Orange Bowl. He converted the first 23 field goal attempts of his career to set a school record. Ruffer's streak was the longest in the Football Bowl Subdivision when it ended. He also established a school record for consecutive field goals made in a single season with 18. Ruffer's 18 field goals in 2010 ranked third-best in school history. He also became the second kicker in Irish history to convert a pair of 50-yard field goals in the same season.
Freshman quarterback Tommy Rees captured the inaugural Next Man In Award. Rees stepped into action following the season-ending injury of junior Dayne Crist in the Tulsa game. He proceeded to complete 33 of 54 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns versus the Golden Hurricane. Rees was the first Irish freshman quarterback to ever throw four touchdown passes in a single game. His 334 yards passing was the most ever by a quarterback that did not start the game. Rees' 300-yard passing game was the 35th in school history and second-ever by a Notre Dame freshman.
Rees (Lake Forest, Ill.) led the Irish to four consecutive victories to end the 2010 season, including a win over No. 15 Utah, a victory over archrival USC and a rout of Miami (Fla.) in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. He completed 61.0 percent of his passes (100 of 164) for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns. Rees registered a passing efficiency rating of 132.0. Rees' 12 touchdown passes set a single-season freshman school record. He also established a single-season freshman record in completion percentage (.610).
Rees became the first freshman quarterback in Notre Dame history to ever lead the Irish to a victory in a bowl game. He was also the first-ever, first-year starter (regardless of class) to lead Notre Dame to a bowl game victory.
Other awards handed out included: Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year to freshman running back Cameron Roberson, Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year to freshman linebacker Kendall Moore, Offensive Newcomer of the Year to sophomore tight end Tyler Eifert, Defensive Newcomer of the Year to freshman linebacker Prince Shembo and Special Teams Player of the Year to freshman wide receiver Bennett Jackson.
Making the presentations at the banquet were Chuck Martin, Notre Dame defensive backs coach; Tony Alford, Notre Dame wide receivers coach; Mike Denbrock, Notre Dame tight ends coach; Bob Diaco, Notre Dame defensive coordinator; Mike Elston, Notre Dame defensive line coach/special teams coordinator; Tim Hinton, Notre Dame running backs coach; Kerry Cooks, Notre Dame outside linebackers coach; Ed Warinner, Notre Dame offensive line coach; Pete Gillin, president of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley; Charlie Molnar, Notre Dame offensive coordinator; Joe Restic, Monogram Club President; Brian Kelly, Notre Dame head coach. Notre Dame Sports Properties director of media productions Jack Nolan served as the master of ceremonies.