ASU Football Holds Annual Awards Banquet

Nov. 30, 2003

The Arizona State University football team held its annual Awards Banquet on Saturday night, November 29 at the Phoenician Resort in Phoenix. The yearly celebration honors those individuals who have made significant contributions to the Sun Devil football program over the past year.

Junior safety Jason Shivers of South Mountain High School in Phoenix won two major awards, the Most Valuable Player on Defense Award and the Babe Alex Demon Award, or special teams Most Valuable Player. Shivers, who tallied 104 tackles in 2003, became the first Sun Devil to lead the team in tackles for three straight seasons. Shivers started 11 of 12 games and added 2.5 tackles for four yards in losses, one quarterback sack for minus two yards, three interceptions for 85 yards and two forced fumbles.

Senior wide receiver Skyler Fulton of Capital High School in Olympia, Washington won the MVP Offensive Player of the Year Award. Fulton tallied 62 receptions for 901 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2003. He averaged 14.5 yards per catch and 75.1 yards receiving per game. His 60 points scored led the team.

Juniors Andrew Walter and Riccardo Stewart won the Cecil Abono Award for Co-Captains. Walter, a 6-5, 221-pound Grand Junction, Colorado product, passed for over 3,000 yards for the second straight season. Walter is the only Sun Devil quarterback in history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a single season and now he has accomplished the feat twice. He completed 221 passes out of 421 attempts for 3,044 yards and 24 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. Walter battled an ankle injury for the final half of the campaign.

Stewart also won the Sun Devil Valor Award, given for courage or great team play. Stewart, of LaVerne, Calif., won the award for the second year in a row. He was second on the team in tackles with 84 stops, including 51 solos. Stewart collected 6.5 tackles for 33 yards in losses, 2.5 quarterback sacks for 22 yards in losses, three interceptions for 19 yards in returns, two forced fumbles and a quarterback hurry. Stewart missed the final game of the season with a neck injury suffered in the Washington State game. Stewart was a season co-captain along with quarterback Andrew Walter.

The Clyde B. Smith Award for academic achievement was given to co-winners Chad Christensen and Lamar Baker. Christensen, a 6-3, 206-pound sophomore quarterback/holder from Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, owns a 3.92 grade-point average in Business at ASU. He served as the primary holder during the 2003 season. Baker, a 5-10, 196-pound sophomore safety from Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona, was a consistent performer on most of the Sun Devil special teams all season. Baker played in 10 games in 2003 and collected four tackles, including a blocked kick in the Washington State game.

The award for Outstanding Offensive Lineman was presented to senior right guard Regis Crawford. Crawford, a 6-3, 304-pounder from Morse High School in San Diego, California, started all 12 games in 2003 and was a consistent member of perhaps the team's finest unit. Crawford was a three-year starter along the offensive line, playing out of position at left tackle a year ago.

The award for the Outstanding Defensive Lineman was presented to junior defensive tackle Jimmy Verdon of Pomona High School, Pomona, California. Verdon registered 44 tackles, including 25 solos in 2003. He added 6.0 tackles for 16 yards in losses and 3.0 quarterback sacks for 12 yards in losses. He also added two interceptions for two yards, two pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.

The Mike Bartholomew Most Improved Player Award was presented to sophomore right tackle Grayling Love. Love, of Valley High School in Sacramento, California, started every game at right tackle except for the final contest versus Arizona. In that game, Love offered his starting spot to senior Tony Aguilar, who was appearing in his final college game. Love is an honorable mention all-Academic Pacific-10 Conference selection. He was perhaps ASU's most consistent offensive lineman in 2003 on a strong unit.

The Gail Scott Most Improved Defensive Player Award was presented to senior defensive lineman Shane Jones and junior defensive end Ishmael Thrower. Jones, a 6-2, 290-pounder from Antelope, California, started all 12 games in 2003 while collecting 51 tackles, including 30 solo stops. Jones added 8.5 tackles for losses of 26 yards and 1.5 quarterback sacks for minus 14 yards in losses. Jones added an interception for 12 yards, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry. Thrower, a 6-1, 229-pounder from Sacramento, California, started 10 of 12 games in '03 and tallied 30 tackles, including 21 solos. He added 8.5 tackles for minus 50 yards in losses and 4.5 quarterback sacks for minus 36 yards. He also collected a pass breakup, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry.

The Special Teams Iron Man Award was given to sophomore safety Matt Fawley of Richardson, Texas. Fawley, 6-1, 211, starred on special teams all season and played on almost 300 special teams plays during the year. He collected 74 tackles on the year, including 46 solos. He added seven tackles for loss for minus 23 yards, one quarterback sack for minus 11 yards, two pass breakups and one forced fumble.

The Tim Landers Iron Man Award for excellence in the weight room was presented to senior fullback Mike Karney of Kentwood High School in Kent, Washington. Karney started 10 of 12 games in 2003 and holds most of the Sun Devil weight room marks that exist. Karney was a favorite of Sun Devil faithful who caught 14 passes for 106 yards and a long of 16 yards.

The co-winners of the Bill Kajikawa Sun Devil Award given to the most outstanding freshmen were Kyle Caldwell and Loren Wade. Caldwell is a 6-4, 260-pound true freshman defensive end from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Caldwell played in 11 games in 2003 and tallied 18 total tackles, including 10 solo stops. He also added three tackles for nine yards in losses, two quarterback sacks for eight yards in losses, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Wade, a 6-0, 211-pound redshirt freshman tailback from Serra High School in Gardena, California, set the ASU freshman rushing record with 773 yards on 136 carries and a team-high five touchdowns in 2003. The old record was 694 yards set by Leon Burton in 1955. Wade recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the year in the season-ending 28-7 victory over Arizona Saturday with 120 yards on 18 carries. His 5.7 yards-per-carry average in '03 was the best mark by a Sun Devil back since Terry Battle (6.5) in 1996.

The McBurney Scout Team Award for offense was given to redshirt freshman wide receiver Rudy Burgess as the best offensive scout team player. The 5-11, 180-pounder from Desert High School in Edwards, Calif., has sparkled offensively for the scout team all Fall. Burgess is the second straight freshman wideout to win the award as Terry Richardson received the award last year.

The Glen Hawkins Scout Team Award for defense was presented to redshirt freshman safety Josh Barrett as the best defensive scout team player. The 6-1, 195-pounder is from Reno High School in Reno, Nevada.

The Frank Kush Award, given for outstanding support of the ASU football program, was presented to Dennis 'Bird' Conry. Conry, owner of the Stockyards Restaurant, who passed away during the season. The award is sponsored by the Varsity 'A' Association.

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