Dec. 19, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The annual football team banquet was held for the Ohio State Buckeyes today in the Archie Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union. The awards and honors bestowed upon the players, in front of more than 400 friends, family, players and team staff in attendance, included the naming of the team’s captains for the 2011 season and 16 trophies for individual achievement.

Coach Luke Fickell announced at the beginning of the season that he would need everyone to assume leadership roles, and so each week two-to-four players represented the team as game captains. At the conclusion of the regular season the players voted on who they felt should be named as captains, and when all the votes were tallied four individuals stood out as the key leaders of this team, and it will be these four who will be remembered as the 2011 Ohio State Buckeye football captains:

“It is an honor that my teammates have selected me to be a captain,” Brewster said. “I wish things could have gone better. But not one day went by where guys had their heads down. We always found a way to get things done.”

“I want to thank my teammates for all the memories we’ve been through in the last four years,” Sweat said. “And I want to thank them for selecting me to be a captain. It is truly an honor to be named a captain.”

2011 Award Winners
The highlights of the individual awards presented were the naming of the team’s 2011 most valuable player (Dan Herron), the Archie Griffin outstanding offensive player (freshman quarterback Braxton Miller), the Bill Willis outstanding defensive player (John Simon), and the Bo Rein Award as the team’s most inspirational player (senior defensive back Nate Ebner).

Herron was not only a leader this year, but he was also a physical and emotional rock for the Buckeyes. He started the last six games of the season and his return to the playing field coincided with a three-game winning streak for the Buckeyes, during which time he rushed for 114, 160 and 141 yards, respectively, against Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. He rushed for 593 yards and scored five touchdowns on the year, and now ranks among the Top 10 rushers in Ohio State history with 2,787 career yards.

“This is the first year that I’ve counted the most valuable player votes and it was close in a lot of different areas,” Fickell said. “But Herron, the winner of our team MVP award, was an unbelievable example of how to handle adverse situations on and off the field. He was an example to us all.”

Herron’s thoughts were on what it meant to him to be a Buckeye.

“Playing at Ohio State has been a dream come true, and it has truly been an honor,” Herron said. “All the memories and relationships I’ve built here are amazing. I want to thank my teammates for just being great teammates.”

Miller, who took over the starting quarterback duties in the fourth game, truly was the team’s outstanding offensive player by the end of the season. He simply got better and better each week, and he ended up throwing for 997 yards with 11 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also led the team’s rushers with 695 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He was named the team’s outstanding first-year player as well, this coming after the Big Ten Conference had named him its Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year.

Simon, a third-team Associated Press All-American and the only Buckeye to earn first-team all-Big Ten Conference accolades, was relentless all season while playing a number of positions on the defensive line. He leads the Buckeyes with seven quarterback sacks and 15 tackles for loss (for minus-58 yards), figures that rank tied for second and sixth, respectively, in the Big Ten. He also accumulated 50 tackles and broke up three passes.

Ebner was honored with two awards: the players voted him the recipient of the Bo Rein Award and he also earned the Ike Kelly Award as the team’s outstanding special teams player. Nate did not play high school football – he is a world class rugby player, though – but he will play in his 38th game as a Buckeye in the Gator Bowl. He has amassed 30 tackles in his career with the vast majority on special teams. He has 10 tackles this season.

An additional 11 awards were handed out Sunday. The complete list of 2011 Ohio State football award winners includes: 

  • Chris Maxwell, who will graduate this winter with a degree in mechanical engineering, was named the John Galbreath Award winner for academic success.
  • Talented freshman Ryan Shazier, who played in all 12 games, started twice and totaled 47 tackles, was named the recipient of the Agonis Club Rick Meyer Award for his outstanding play in the Penn State game (15 tackles).
  • Braxton Miller was the recipient of the First-Year Offensive Player Award.
  • The First-Year Defensive Player Award was presented to Bradley Roby, the only freshman to start all 12 games and who tied for the team lead in interceptions (three) and PBUs (eight).
  • Nate Ebner earned the Ike Kelly Award for his outstanding play on special teams (10 tackles).
  • The Randy Gradishar Award, presented to the team’s outstanding linebacker, went to senior Andrew Sweat. A second-team all-Big Ten Conference honoree, Sweat totaled 68 tackles in 10 games plus had three pass break-ups, a forced fumble and an interception.
  • Johnathan Hankins was named the Jack Stephenson Award winner as the team’s outstanding defensive lineman. “Big Hank” ranks third on the team with 64 tackles and is second with 11.0 TFLs and 3.0 quarterback sacks.
  • The Arnie Chonko Award, presented to the team’s outstanding defensive back, was awarded to sophomore C.J. Barnett, a second-team all-Big Ten selection who leads the team with 69 tackles and has two interceptions among his eight pass break-ups.
  • Sophomore Corey Brown, who tied for the team lead with 14 receptions and ranked second with 205 receiving yards, earned the Paul Warfield Award as the team’s outstanding receiver.
  • Punishing blocker and talented junior Zach Boren was presented with the Rex Kern Award as the team’s outstanding offensive back.
  • A pair of talented senior leaders on the offensive line – Mike Adams and Michael Brewster – were each named the recipient of the Jim Parker Award as the team’s outstanding offensive linemen. Both players were named second-team all-Big Ten.
  • Returning to the field to play in all 12 games this season after two season-ending injuries, senior “star” Tyler Moeller was presented with the Jim Marshall Warrior Award. Moeller, already an Ohio State graduate (consumer affairs), has a full resume of on-field achievements: 90 career tackles, 9.5 TFLs, four forced fumbles, three PBUs and a quarterback sack. 
  • John Simon was named the Bill Willis Award winner as the team’s outstanding defensive player.
  • Miller received the Archie Griffin Award as the team’s outstanding offensive player.
  • The Bo Rein Award, voted on by the players and given to the most inspirational player on the team, went to Ebner.
  • And the team’s Most Valuable Player award, also voted on by the players, was presented to Dan Herron.