Dec. 2, 2005
Record-setting juniors Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija - who currently lead the nation in touchdown passes (32) and touchdown receptions (15), respectively - Friday night shared the 2005 Notre Dame football MVP award, presented by the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
Those awards were among others presented at the 85th Notre Dame Football Banquet at the Joyce Center on the University of Notre Dame campus. Former Irish head coach Lou Holtz served as guest speaker in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,900. The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley sponsors the event.
Quinn (from Dublin, Ohio) already in `05 has set 17 single-game, single-season and career records for his passing. He's already Notre Dame's career leader in passing yards (8,050), pass completions (609) and TD passes (58). With the prospect of a bowl game remaining to add to his '05 totals, Quinn already owns the single-season marks for passing yards (3,633), completions (263) and TD throws (32). He set an Irish single-game mark this fall with his six TD passes versus BYU. He's one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year Award and one of three finalists for the `05 Davey O'Brien Award as the top quarterback nationally. Quinn is majoring in finance and political science, pursuing dual degrees from the Mendoza College of Business and the College of Arts and Letters.
Samardzija (from Valparaiso, Ind.) has enjoyed a breakout '05 season in which he already has established Irish single-season highs for reception yardage (1,190) and TD receptions (15). He has caught 71 passes so far in '05, just six away from the Notre Dame single-season mark of 77 by Tom Gatewood in 1970. One of three finalists for the '05 Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the country, Samardzija is a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business.
Senior offensive guard Dan Stevenson won the Guardian of the Year Award from the Guardian Life Insurance Company (a sponsor of Irish football on Westwood One radio broadcasts) as the top offensive lineman. He's a three-year starter at guard for the Irish, starting all 11 games in '05 at right guard. He helped pave the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in '05 (Darius Walker at 1,106 yards), the all-time single-season receiver at Notre Dame (Samardzija), a second receiver in Maurice Stovall who tied the previous single-season TD reception mark and a quarterback (Quinn) who rewrote the Irish record book. Stevenson (from Barrington, Ill.) currently is enrolled in graduate coursework after earning his degree last May as a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business.
Junior defensive end Victor Abiamiri (from Randallstown, Md.) won the Lineman of the Year Award from the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. He has led all Irish defensive linemen in '05 with 46 overall tackles, 15 tackles for loss and a team-leading eight sacks. He's enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business as a finance major.
Three seniors, linebacker Corey Mays, wide receiver Maurice Stovall and tight end Anthony Fasano, and a junior -- safety Tom Zbikowski -- shared the Nick Pietrosante Award as the individuals who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride shown by the late Irish All-America fullback. Pietrosante, Notre Dame's leading rusher in '57 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.
Mays (from Chicago, Ill.) stands second on the squad in tackles in '05 with 68, to go with 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three fumble recoveries. He started all 11 regular-season games and is in graduate studies this fall after earning his degree in psychology last spring from the College of Arts and Letters.
Stovall (from Philadelphia, Pa.) has caught 60 passes for 1,023 yards and 11 TDs - joining Samardzija as only the third and fourth Irish players to ever hit the 1,000-yard mark in reception yardage in a single season. Stovall is a sociology and computer applications major in the College of Arts and Letters.
Fasano (from Verona, N.J.) ranks behind only Samardzija and Stovall in receptions for '05 with 45 for 564 yards and two TDs (he now has 90 career catches for 1,100 yards). One of three finalists for the '05 John Mackey Award as the top tight end nationally, Fasano is a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business.
Zbikowski (from Arlington Heights, Ill.) ranks as the top Irish name both at strong safety and as a punt returner. He ranks seventh nationally with his average of 14.6 yards per punt return, including two for TDs - and he also has notched 62 tackles and a team-leading five interceptions (two of those returned for TDs). He's a sociology and computer applications major in the College of Arts and Letters.
Senior linebacker Brandon Hoyte, like Quinn voted a '05 Irish captain by his teammates, received the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award from the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. He owns a 3.139 grade-point average while pursuing a double major in psychology and management from the College of Arts and Letters and the Mendoza College of Business. The senior from Parlin, N.J., leads the Irish in tackles in '05 with 82, to go with a team-leading 15.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
Junior defensive tackle Trevor Laws (from Burnsville, Minn.) and senior offensive guard Dan Santucci (from Harwood Heights, Ill.) shared the Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year Award. They were two of 11 weekly winners announced during Westwood One national radio broadcasts of Irish games in 2005. Laws is a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business who boasts a 3.150 grade-point average - while Santucci also majors in marketing in the Mendoza College of Business and owns a 3.261 average. Santucci started all 11 games in '05 at left offensive guard, while Laws also started all 11 contests, making 32 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack and a half.
Other weekly winners (in addition to Laws and Santucci) were senior offensive wide receiver Rob Woods, senior safety Jake Carney, junior kicker Carl Gioia, junior tight end John Carlson, senior offensive guard Brian Mattes, Stevenson, senior defensive end Chris Frome, senior wide receiver Brandon Harris and Hoyte.