Pirate Football Salutes 2012 Season With Annual Awards Banquet

UABSPORTS.COM Head Coach Ruffin McNeill talks about the 2012 season.
UABSPORTS.COM
Head Coach Ruffin McNeill talks about the 2012 season.
UABSPORTS.COM

Jan. 20, 2013

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - After earning its sixth bowl appearance in the last seven years and compiling its second-highest single-season win total since 1992, East Carolina closed out the 2012 campaign Saturday night as the team, coaches, parents, athletic staff and Pirate Club members gathered for the annual awards banquet at the Greenville Convention Center.

In all, 20 players earned honors after helping the Pirates compile an overall 8-4 mark and match a program-best with a 7-1 Conference USA ledger. Headlining the list were MVP selections Derrell Johnson (defense), Shane Carden (offense) and Justin Hardy (team).

Johnson finished his junior season with 62 tackles and team-bests in sacks (7.0) and TFLs (11.0) from his outside linebacking position, while Carden completed his sophomore campaign and first year as the Pirates' starting quarterback with a 273-of-413, 3,116-yard passing performance that included 23 touchdown throws. Hardy, who starred as an inside receiver and punt returner during his sophomore year, led ECU with 88 catches for 1,105 yards and 11 TDs, while averaging 8.8 yards per return.

Similar to his selection by C-USA in December, junior running back Vintavious Cooper was also the recipient of ECU's Newcomer-of-the-Year Award after becoming the Pirates' first 1,000-yard rusher (1,049) since 2009. During the course of the season, Cooper tallied four 100-yard performances and added seven scores.

Seven were cited as positional players-of-the-year, including senior Andrew Bodenheimer (receivers; 36 catches for 371 yards and three TDs), senior Reggie Bullock (running backs; 80 carries for 387 yards and six TDs), junior Damon Magazu (defensive backs; 80 tackles, six pass breakups), junior Lee Pegues (defensive line; 36 tackles, 4.5 TFLs), junior Will Simmons (offensive line), junior Trent Tignor (special teams; 42.8 punting average) and junior Kyle Tudor (linebackers; 62 tackles, 2.0 TFLs, sack, forced fumble).

Head Coach Ruffin McNeill also recognized players who, according to his coaching staff, made the biggest improvement over the course of season and became high-impact contributors in the starting lineup. Senior tackle Robert Jones, who began his Pirate career as a defensive lineman, took home the honor for the offense, while junior transfer Gabriel Woullard was the defensive choice after netting 49 stops and 3.5 sacks as one of two top outside linebackers.

Senior cornerback Jacobi Jenkins (42 tackles, 11 pass breakups) and Simmons were named the recipients of the Rock Roggeman Heart-of-the-Pirate Award on the defensive and offensive sides of the ball, respectively. The honor, named after the former Pirate linebackers coach who lost his battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2010, symbolizes the display of inspirational and motivational leadership.

Contributions to the program off the field were also saluted as Bodenheimer earned the Morris Foreman Iron Pirate Award, selected by the strength and conditioning staff for unparalleled dedication and hard work in the weight room. Juniors Adhem Elsawi (OL) and Matt Milner (DE) received the Jerry T. Brooks Award for academic achievement. The honor was the third-straight for Milner, who a month ago was also a repeat Academic All-America selection.

The Rick Bankston Memorial Award, given to outstanding scout team players, went to freshman Drayvon Fairley on defense and sophomore Calvin Easter offense

Rounding out the awards were captain-of-the-year nods to Bodenheimer (offense), Magazu (co-defense), sophomore Jeremy Grove (co-defense) and Cody Lyon (special teams).

2012 EAST CAROLINA FOOTBALL AWARDS
Most Valuable Player
OLB Derrell Johnson, Offense
QB Shane Carden, Defense
WR/PR Justin Hardy, Team

Newcomer-of-the-Year
RB Vintavious Cooper

Positional Players-of-the-Year
Defensive Line - Lee Pegues
Defensive Back - Damon Magazu
Linebacker - Kyle Tudor
Offensive Line - Will Simmons *
Running Back - Reggie Bullock
Wide Receiver - Andrew Bodenheimer
Special Teams - Trent Tignor

Most Improved Players-of-the-Year
OLB Gabriel Woullard, Defense
OT Robert Jones, Offense

Rick Bankston Memorial Award (Scout Team Contributions)
LB Drayvon Fairley, Defense
WR/RB Calvin Easter, Offense

Jerry T. Brooks Award (Academic Achievement)
OL Adhem Elsawi
DE Matt Milner *

Morris Foreman Iron Pirate Award (Strength and Conditioning)
WR Andrew Bodenheimer

Rock Roggeman Heart-of-the-Pirate Award (Inspirational)
CB Jacobi Jenkins, Defense
OG Will Simmons, Offense

Team Captains-of-the-Year
WR Andrew Bodenheimer (offense)
ILB Jeremy Grove (co-defense)
FS Damon Magazu (co-defense)
DB Cody Lyon (special teams)

*denotes repeat selection