Dec. 4, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen and junior wide receiver Golden Tate shared the 2009 most valuable player award, presented by the Notre Dame Monogram Club at the 89th Notre Dame Football Banquet. The duo was selected in a vote by the 2009 Fighting Irish football team and the MVP award was one of five awards presented Friday evening at the banquet sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.
Clausen completed 289 of 425 passes for 3,722 yards with 28 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He averaged 310.2 passing yards per game, which ranks third in the nation, and passed for at least 300 yards in seven games, a Notre Dame record. Clausen ranks in the top 10 nationally in 12 different categories including ranking second in the country with a passing efficiency of 161.42. His four fourth-quarter comebacks for victories in 2009 are the most in a season by an Irish signal caller and Clausen ranks first or second in 15 different career categories among all Notre Dame quarterbacks. Clausen is on pace to graduate in May from the College of Arts and Letters with a sociology degree.
Tate totaled 93 receptions for 1,496 yards with 15 receiving touchdowns and added two rushing TDs and one punt return TD. He was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and is one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to college football's top wide receiver. Tate tied or set six school records this year including most catches and receiving yards in a season, tied for most TD catches in a season, most receiving yards in a career and most 100-yard receiving games in a season and career. Tate ranks in the top eight nationally in nine different statistical categories and no wide receiver had more games with at least 100 receiving yards this year than Tate's nine games. He also scored at least one touchdown in each of the final 11 contests. Tate is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters and is a sociology major.
Fifth-year senior Kyle McCarthy was selected the Nick Pietrosante Award winner in a vote conducted by the football team. The Pietrosante Award is bestowed upon the player who best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride shown by the late Irish All-America fullback. Pietrosante, Notre Dame's leading rusher in 1957 and 1958 (and later a number-one draft pick and two-time all-pro selection with the Detroit Lions), died of cancer on Feb. 6, 1988. McCarthy led the team in tackles for the second straight season, finishing this year with 101 tackles. He is the only Notre Dame defensive back to ever record at least 100 tackles in a season and McCarthy has done it twice (tallied 110 tackles in 2008). His five interceptions paced the Irish in 2009 and McCarthy also added five pass breakups. McCarthy graduated last May from the Mendoza College of Business with a finance degree.
Senior center Eric Olsen was presented the Guardian of the Year Award, given annually to the top offensive lineman. The Guardian of the Year Award is presented by the Guardian Life Insurance Company, a sponsor of Irish football on ISP Sports radio broadcasts. One of four team captains, Olsen switched from guard to center in his final season and graded out best among Notre Dame's offensive linemen this year. He allowed only one sack in over 450 pass attempts this season and helped Notre Dame's running backs and wide receivers average 5.0 yards per carry in 2009. Olsen is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters and is majoring in industrial design.
Sophomore Darius Fleming was named the Lineman of the Year from the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. Fleming posted a team-best 12 tackles for loss and ranked second on the squad with three sacks. He added 29 tackles, seven quarterback hurries and forced one fumble. Fleming is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business.
Fifth-senior cornerback Mike Anello and senior offensive guard Chris Stewart were both honored with the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. Anello graduated in three and a half years with a finance degree and earned a 3.937 cumulative grade-point average including a perfect 4.0 GPA in his finance courses. He was a second-team Academic All-American for the second year in a row and was recipient of the Paul Conway Award, given annually to the top finance student at Notre Dame. Anello is currently enrolled in the graduate studies program. Stewart earned his history degree in three and a half years and graduated with a 3.536 cumulative GPA. A member of the Academic Honors Program at Notre Dame, Stewart was also a member of the History Honors Program at Notre Dame and was selected to Phi Alpha Theta, the national honors society for history majors. Stewart is currently enrolled in the graduate studies program.
Former Irish head coach Charlie Weis presented each of the awards and spoke to the private audience that included families and guests of the players, coaches and staff members.