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Captains announced, team awards presented at annual Football Dinner


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Four departing seniors were announced as the permanent football team captains to fulfill the 2012 Golden Eagle season, and team award winners were declared at Tennessee Tech's annual Football Awards Dinner Sunday afternoon. The team also celebrated its Senior Class.

Rover Will Johnson, quarterback Tre Lamb, linebacker Matt Moran and linebacker Tommie McBride were introduced by head coach Watson Brown as the choice of their teammates to serve as captains of the 2012 season. Johnson, Lamb and Moran have all graduated, while McBride is scheduled to receive his degree next month.

Brown began the event by recognizing several members of the 1972 OVC Champion Golden Eagle team who were on hand for the event. The 2012 team was celebrating the 40-year anniversary of the 1972 championship with a decal signifying the year on their helmets.

Team awards were then presented by a variety of assistant coaches and staff.

The team's Academic Award, presented by Academic Advisor Justin Hilliard, went to Brett Dillard, a pre-dentistry major from Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

Assistant coach Sam Williamson presented three awards, beginning with the Unsung Hero Award which went to senior long snapper Jordan Adams. A business major from Union Grove, Ga., Adams handled long snaps for four years.

The Sonny Allen Leadership Award was presented to Moran, a senior from Fayetteville, Tenn., and a two-year starter at inside linebacker. Williamson's final presentation was the Most Valuable Defensive Lineman Award. He announced the winner as Tommie McBride, a senior from Cincinnati who played three different positions in his final season.

Next came former assistant coach Thomas Cox, who announced the Most Valuable Offensive Lineman Award. That honor went to Michael Baker, a senior from Westmoreland, Tenn., who will graduate in May. Baker was a three-year starter at center.

Assistant coach Chris Grimes was called upon to introduce the winner of the Most Valuable Special Teams Player Award. He called on punter Chad Zinchini a junior from Hendersonville, Tenn.,, who led the conference and was named all-OVC in his first season on the roster.

The Most Valuable Receiver Award was announced by assistant coach Lee Sweeney, who announced it was a two-way tie for the honor. The winners were junior Da'Rick Rogers and sophomore Cody Matthews. Rogers led the team with 61 catches for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Matthews had 28 catches for 477 yards and four touchdowns.

Sweeney also announced the Bill Dupes Inspiration Award, with the winner -- Cody Matthews -- introduced by Mark Dupes, son of the former coach and player for whom the award is named. A sophomore from Gallatin who had the highest average yards per catch on the squad.

Assistant coach Steven Brown was next to the podium, announcing a couple of awards. First was the Most Valuable Offensive Back Award, an honor that was shared by Bud Golden and Adam Urbano. Golden, a junior from Cincinnati, had 327 yards in 74 carries with two touchdowns. Urbano, a senior from Calhoun, Ga.,  rushed for 382 yards on 77 carries with three touchdowns.

Brown announced the Most Valuable Offensive Player Award winner as senior quarterback Tre Lamb. Before missing the final four games because of his injuries, Lamb was on course to shatter nearly every school passing and total offense record. He already set more than 20 school standards in his final two seasons, this year passing for 1,872 yards and 17 touchdowns in eight games. He finished with 45 career TD passes and more than 5,000 passing yards.

The Tony Stone Bumble Bee DB Award, presented by assistant coach Sidney Powell, went to Johnson, who finished his senior season with 83 tackles and six passes broken up.

The Tech Pride Award, presented by associate head coach Billy Taylor, went to senior Taylor Hennigan (in photo). A December graduate, Hennigan was a four-year letterman who began his career as a wide reciever before moving to free safety and special teams the past three years.

Taylor also announced the Most Valuable Linebacker Award and the Most Valuable Defensive Player Award. The first of those was a shared honor, going to sophomore Tra'Darius Goff and senior Howard Griffin. Goff, a linebacker from Coumbia, Tenn., topped the Golden Eagles with 101 total tackles. Griffin, a three-year starter from Nashville, had 76 tackles in his final season.

Will Johnson was called to the front one more time for the Defensive MVP Award. He returned to the field in 2012 after being lost for the year with a serious knee injury on the opening kickoff of the ninth game of the 2011 season.

The Robert Hill Johnson Award, considered the top honor presented to a Golden Eagle player and the Mosst Valuable Player on the team, was previously announced in February. Brown announced to the audience that the winner was quarterback Tre Lamb, before including him in the four players tabbed as team captains.

The final activity at the dinner was a recognition of the seniors who were able to attend (six were not able to attend) along with their parents. The seniors inluded:
LS Jordan Adams, Union Grove, Ga.
OL Slade Adams, Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
Equipment manager John ALbertson, Cookeville, Tenn.
OL Michael Baker, Westmoreland, Tenn.
OL Hunter Beedle, Kingsport, Tenn.
DE Zac Bush, Morristown, Tenn.
LB Marcus Edwards, Alabaster, Ala.
RB Taylor Fletcher, Kingsport, Tenn.
Video coordinator Lee Gatts, Livingston, Tenn.
FS Taylor Hennigan, Cookeville, Tenn.
DB Will Johnson, Nashville, Tenn.
QB Tre Lamb, Calhoun, Ga.
DE/LB Tommie McBride, Cincinnati, Ohio
LB Matt Moran, Fayetteville, Tenn.
TE William Stevens, Brentwood, Tenn.
WR Ryan Tilghman, Columbia, Tenn.
HB Kedrick Towles, Antioch, Tenn.
RB Adam Urbano, Calhoun, Ga.
DT Ladarrius Verge, Murfreesboro, Tenn.