As part of the banquet program, the winners of
the 2007 Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams MVP were announced, as well as
the Scout Team Players of the Year. Those five award winners were chosen by a
vote of their teammates.
In addition, three traditional Nebraska senior
awards were presented, as the winners of the Chamberlin Trophy, Novak Trophy and
the Fischer Native Son Award were announced. The Chamberlin and Novak awards
were voted on by media members, while the Native Son Award was chosen by members
of the 2007 Nebraska coaching staff.
The winners of the MVP awards for 2007 are
senior wide receiver Maurice Purify (offense), senior
linebacker Steve Octavien (defense) and sophomore safety
Rickey Thenarse (special teams.)
Purify captured the offensive award after an outstanding
2007 season in which he caught 57 passes for 814 yards and nine touchdowns. The
57 catches and the nine touchdowns were both the second-most in school history,
while his 814 receiving yards rank third on the single-season charts. The 6-4,
220-pound Purify finished his two-year Husker career with 91 receptions and 16
A native of Naples , Fla. , Octavien rebounded
from two-injury plagued seasons to lead the Husker defense in 2007. Octavien
finished the year with a team-high 92 tackles, including 56 solo stops. The 6-0,
240-pound WILL linebacker also led the Huskers with 15 tackles for loss totaling
52 yards and a team-high nine quarterback hurries.
Thenarse has been selected as the winner of the
special teams award for the second straight year. Thenarse excelled on nearly
every Nebraska special teams unit, while also playing a key role in the
secondary. He finished the year with 28 total tackles, many of which came on
special teams. His play helped Nebraska rank among the Big 12’s best units in
punt and kickoff return coverage.
Senior cornerback Cortney Grixby
was honored with this year’s Tom Novak Trophy. The Novak Trophy is
presented to the senior who “best exemplifies courage and determination despite
all odds in the manner of Nebraska All-America center Tom Novak.” The 5-9,
170-pound Grixby was a three-year starter and two-time honorable-mention All-Big
12 selection who finished sixth in school history with 32 career pass breakups.
Linebacker Bo Ruud was
awared the Guy Chamberlin Trophy, which is presented annually to the senior player who has shown by the play and contributions to
the betterment of the University of Nebraska football squad that he has the
qualities and dedication of Guy Chamberlin to the great Cornhusker tradition.
Ruud has been among Nebraska ’s top defenders each of the past three years, and
finished his senior season with 54 tackles and a pair of interception returns
for touchdowns. Ruud’s older brother, Barrett, was the 2004 recipient of the
The Huskers’ third senior award, the Cletus
Fischer Native Son Award, was presented to safety Ben Eisenhart,
a native of Culbertson. The award is presented annually to the senior
player selected by the Husker coaches, who best exemplifies the following
qualities: good work ethic, competitiveness, leadership, forthrightness, sense
of humor, pride, loyalty and love of Nebraska . Eisenhart has been a special
teams standout throughout his Nebraska career, and played an increased role in
the secondary this fall. Originally a walk-on, Eisenhart earned a scholarship in
2006. He finished his senior season with 41 tackles.
The offensive scout team MVP was quarterback
Zac Lee, who engineered the scout team offense throughout
the fall. Lee’s selection marks the second straight year a quarterback has won
the award after Sam Keller was last year’s winner. Lee has three seasons of
eligibility left with the Huskers. The defensive scout team MVP was senior
defensive end Thomas Rice. The Lincoln native has been a
scout team leader throughout his career. Rice made the most of his opportunity
to play against Kansas State this fall, making an unassisted tackle on one of
his first snaps.
Nebraska academic award winners were also
honored at the banquet, led by J.B. Phillips who earned first-team CoSIDA
Academic All-District VII honoree. Junior student manager Jeff Dannehl was also
presented the Tom and Terri Burnell Student Manager Scholarship.
Approximately 400 people attended the Saturday
night banquet. The winners of the Chamberlin and Novak trophies and the Cletus
Fischer Native Son Award will also be honored as part of the Outland Trophy
Banquet in Omaha on Jan. 10.