Dizon Named Football MVP
BROOMFIELD - Senior inside linebacker Jordon Dizon, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus Award runner-up, was selected by his University of Colorado teammates as the Buffaloes' 2007 Most Valuable Player, as the announcement came here Saturday as part of CU's annual football awards banquet at the Omni Interlocken Hotel.
Dizon is the first defensive player to win the MVP award, named for Zack Jordan, since 2000 when safety Michael Lewis shared the honor with offensive tackle Tom Ashworth. Linebacker Jashon Sykes was the last to win it outright in 1999. Dizon also collected the Dave Jones Award as the team's outstanding offensive player.
Senior tailback Hugh Charles was named the John Mack Award winner as the team's most outstanding offensive player. Charles saw very little action at the front end of the season, as he suffered a hamstring injury on CU's third play of the season opener against Colorado State. He missed the Arizona State game and played in spots against Florida State, but once healthy over the final nine games of the season, he would finish with 989 rushing yards and 1,586 all-purpose yards, the most at CU since 2002. He had 1,521 of those yards over the final nine games, the fourth most in the nation in that span.
Dizon, CU's defensive captain, had 160 tackles, which ranked him second in the nation, though was first in solo stops (120). He also set a school record with 19 third down stops and tied for the team lead with 11 tackles for loss, which included four sacks, and had 14 tackles for zero, meaning 25 of his stops went for zero or minus yardage. Add to that two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown in a 31-26 win at Texas Tech, eight quarterback hurries, three passes broken up, two near-sacks, one forced fumble, one caused interception and one touchdown save. He also played on four special teams units over the course of the season.
The Bill McCartney Award for special teams achievement went to redshirt freshman cornerback Jalil Brown, who finished with 31 special team points, the bulk of which came in the second half of the season as his role on coverage and return units increased as injuries mounted. The 31 points were earned on the strength of 13 tackles (10 solo, with two inside-the-20), seven knockdown blocks, five forced fair catches, two "first downfields," awarded for altering a return path, two downed punts and a forced fumble. It was the third highest total to lead the team since the competition was created in 1987.
The Lee Willard Award for the most outstanding freshman went to guard Kai Maiava, who started the final eight games of the season, getting his indoctrination as a starter in CU's 27-24 win over No. 3 Oklahoma. It was the second most starts ever by a true freshman on the offensive line at CU, trailing the nine made by guard Brian Daniels in 2003.
The scout team awards, which recognized those players who shined weekly mimicking opponent schemes and mannerisms went to freshman safety Jason Espinoza (offense; he switched to receiver most weeks for scout team duties), frosh defensive end Conrad Obi (defense) and sophomore safety Bret Smith (special teams).
The complete list of CU award winners announced Saturday, a few selected by the coaching staff and most others, including the most outstanding and the MVP, by the players:
Hang Tough Award (overcame the most adversity): CB Terrence Wheatley
Lee Willard Award (outstanding freshman): OG Kai Maiava
Tyronee "Tiger" Bussey Award (perseverance over adversity, injury and/or illness): FS Ryan Walters
Best Interview (selected by team beat media): DT George Hypolite
Dean Jacob Van Ek Award (academic excellence): TB Byron Ellis
Bill McCartney Award (special teams achievement): CB Jalil Brown
Regiment Award (greatest contribution with least recognition): DT Brandon Nicolas
Derek Singleton Award (spirit, dedication, enthusiasm): QB Cody Hawkins
Tom McMahon Award (dedication and work ethic): WR Dusty Sprague
Eddie Crowder Award (leadership): OT Tyler Polumbus
Offensive Scout Award: FS Jason Espinoza
Defensive Scout Award: DE Conrad Obi
Special Teams Scout Award: SS Bret Smith
Dave Jones Award (outstanding defensive player): ILB Jordon Dizon
John Mack Award (outstanding offensive player): TB Hugh Charles
Zack Jordan Award (most valuable player, selected by teammates): ILB Jordon Dizon
Buffalo Heart Award (selected by "the fans behind the bench"): ILB Jordon Dizon