Nov. 30, 1997
Tillman and Redmond Named MVPs at 1997 Bashas' Football Banquet
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Head coach Bruce Snyder and the Sun Angel Foundation recognized 21 ASU seniors and handed out 20 postseason awards at the 1997 Bashas' Football Awards Banquet Sunday at The Phoenician. Senior Pat Tillman received three awards, including being named the Most Valuable Defensive Player. Sophomore J.R. Redmond was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player.
Tillman, a senior from San Jose, Calif., who was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1997, registered a team-high 93 tackles in leading the Pac-10's most stingy defense which allowed just 18.5 points per game. Tillman, a two-time Pac-10 and District All-Academic selection, also received the Clyde B. Smith Award for upper classmen recognizing the player with the highest academic average. Tillman has a 3.82 GPA in marketing.
Tillman also joined fellow seniors Jason Simmons, Damien Richardson, Kyle Murphy and Michael Martin as recipients of the Cecil Abono Co-Captain Awards. Simmons and Murphy also received the Sun Devil Iron Men Awards, given annually to ASU's outstanding weightlifter. Simmons and Richardson, both second-team All Pac-10 picks, led a defensive secondary that posted the lowest defensive pass efficiency rating in the Pac-10 since 1975. Murphy, a first-team All-Pac-10 performer, was the veteran leader of ASU's offensive line which spearheaded the best rushing attack in the Pac-10, averaging 193.8 yards per game. Martin, an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection, was ASU's starting tailback and second-leading rusher, but most importantly posted a 17-2 record as a starter.
Redmond, from Carson, Calif., who was named first-team All-Pac-10 last week, earned the offensive MVP award by leading the conference in all-purpose yardage and the team rushing this season. Redmond gained 865 yards on the ground and totalled 1,590 all-purpose yards.
The Clyde B. Smith Award for under classmen went to redshirt freshman wide receiver Brian Forth, who maintains a 3.42 GPA in business.
Ryan Kealy, ASU's freshman quarterback, who established ASU freshman records in completions, touchdowns and passing yards, was awarded the Bill Kajikawa Sun Devil Award recognizing the outstanding freshman. A native of Phoenix, Kealy completed 162 of 297 passes for 2,137 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
Kealy also joined tailback Marlon Farlow in being recognized as the most improved offensive players with the Mike Bartholomew Award. Farlow, a junior from Rialto, Calif., gained 458 yards and averaged 7.9 yards per carry as ASU's third-string tailback. Snyder named Hamilton Mee the defense's most improved player with the Gail Scott Award. Mee, a senior from Mingus, Ariz., registered 26 tackles and 6.5 sacks as a starting rush end.
The Babe Alex Demon Award, recognizing excellence on special teams, was given to seniors Robert Nycz and Marcus Williams. Nycz, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection, connected on 16 of 23 field goals this season and all 33 extra points while leading the Sun Devils in scoring with 81 points. Williams, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection, registered the best punting average, 43.6 ypp, at ASU since 1984. In addition, Williams handled ASU's kickoff duties and booted 30 touchbacks in 64 kickoffs this season.
Freshman wide receiver Aaron Dumsch was recognized as the McBurney Scout Team Award winner for offense while freshman defensive lineman Levi Jones was presented with the Glenn Hawkins Scout Team award for defense.
The Frank Kush Award, exemplifying an alumnus who has been instrumental in furthering the ASU football program, was given to Bill Post.
1997 Bashas' Football Awards Banquet Winners Offensive MVP J.R. Redmond Defensive MVP Pat Tillman Clyde B Smith Award (upper classmen) Pat Tillman Clyde B. Smith Award (under classmen) Brian Forth Babe Alex Demon Award Robert Nycz & Marcus Williams Bill Kajikawa Sun Devil Award Ryan Kealy Mike Bartholomew Most Improved Award Marlon Farlow & Ryan Kealy Gail Scott Most Improved Award Hamilton Mee Sun Devil Iron Men Awards Jason Simmons & Kyle Murphy McBurney Scout Team Award Aaron Dumsch Glenn Hawkins Scout Team Award Levi Jones Cecil Abono Co-Captain Awards Michael Martin, Kyle Murphy, Damien Richardson Jason Simmons & Pat Tillman Frank Kush Award Bill Post