Dec. 5, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Fifth-year senior Maurice Crum Jr. and senior Mike Anello both received two awards Friday evening at the 88th Notre Dame Football Banquet. Crum was named the 2008 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player and shared the Nick Pietrosante Award with Anello. Anello was also honored with the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award.
Those awards along with the Lineman of the Year and Guardian of the Year were presented Friday evening at the Joyce Center on the University of Notre Dame campus. Former Irish All-American Joe Theismann served as the guest speaker at the event sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.
In voting conducted by the Notre Dame football team, Crum was the clear winner of the MVP award, concluding a solid Notre Dame career. Crum ranks eighth in school history with 303 career tackles and became just the ninth Irish player to reach 300 tackles. This year, Crum ranks third on the team with 63 tackles including 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass breakup. He became just he 17th player in the football program's history to be named captain twice and was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award this year. Crum graduated in May with a degree in sociology and is currently enrolled in the graduate studies program.
Crum also shared the Nick Pietrosante Award with Anello. 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 '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. The recipient is determined by a vote of the players and past winners have included John Carlson, Jeff Faine, Aaron Taylor, Tom Zbikowski and Chris Zorich.
Anello, a walk-on who earned a scholarship this year, was named recipient of the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award from the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. The special teams stalwart tallied 23 tackles this year, tying him for 12th on the team. Anello added two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and blocked one kick that was returned for a touchdown. He owns a 3.93 grade-point average and has posted a 4.0 GPA in his finance courses (his major). A member of the dean's list every semester, Anello is set to graduate in two weeks after just 3.5 years at Notre Dame. Last week he was named a second-team Academic All-American after previously being recognized as a first-team Academic All-District V student-athlete.
Senior Mike Turkovich 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 offensive line to start all 12 games this year for the Irish, Turkovich opened every contest at left tackle and was responsible for blocking the blindside of Jimmy Clausen. He was a key reason Notre Dame cut its sack total from 58 in 2007 to 20 in 2008, the fewest by an Irish team since 2000. After starting all 12 games last year at left guard, Turkovich moved to left tackle in the spring and won the job during spring practices. He is set to graduate in May with a degree in management-consulting from the Mendoza College of Business.
Senior Pat Kuntz claimed the Lineman of the Year Award by the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation for the second straight year. The defensive end who also spent time as a defensive tackle this year helped anchor the defensive line again in 2008 and was the top tackler among Irish linemen. He started every game this year en route to 41 tackles including career-high totals of eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. The 3.5 sacks were tied for team-high honors while the eight tackles for loss ranked second on the team. Kuntz added one interception, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup this year.
Junior Chris Stewart was honored as the ISP/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year. A history major in the College of Arts and Letters, Stewart boasts a 3.53 GPA while starting nine games at right guard and helping the improvement of the Irish offensive line. An academic all-district nominee, Stewart is a member of the Academic Honors Program at Notre Dame as well as the school's history honors program. He was also selected to Phi Alpha Theta, the national honor society for undergraduates studying history. Stewart was one of 12 weekly student-athlete academic honorees announced during ISP broadcasts of Irish games in 2008.
Making the presentations at the banquet were Dick Nussbaum, first vice-president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club; Phil Krause, representing the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation; John Latina, Notre Dame offensive line coach; Mike Haywood, Notre Dame offensive coordinator/running backs coach; Ron Powlus, Notre Dame quarterbacks coach; and Kevin Redar, president of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. South Bend's WNDU-TV sports director Jeff Jeffers served as the master of ceremonies for the banquet.