By NU Athletic Communications
Lincoln - The Nebraska football program honored its 19-member senior class on Friday night at the Huskers’ annual team banquet at the Lincoln Station in the Haymarket. Seven Husker players were also presented with awards as part of the evening’s program.
Senior quarterback Zac Taylor continued his post-season awards haul, receiving two honors at the banquet. Taylor was chosen as Nebraska’s Offensive MVP in a vote of his teammates, and was also presented with the 2006 Guy Chamberlin Trophy, as voted on by media members who cover Nebraska football on a daily basis. The Chamberlin Trophy is presented to the senior player who has shown by his play and contributions to the betterment of the University of Nebraska football squad that he has the qualities and dedication of Guy Chamberlin to the great Cornhusker tradition.
A native of Norman, Okla., Taylor shattered nearly every passing record at Nebraska, including setting both season and career marks for passing yards and passing touchdowns. Last week he was chosen as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year by both the Big 12 Coaches and the Associated Press.
Defensive end Adam Carriker received Nebraska’s Defensive MVP award for the second straight season. Carriker finished his senior season with a team-leading six sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He finished the regular season with 49 overall tackles, the most among Husker defensive linemen. He closed his senior year in strong fashion, recording five sacks in the final five games of the season. Carriker was picked as the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Big 12 coaches.
Freshman cornerback Rickey Thenarse was honored for his special teams work by being named the Huskers’ 2006 Special Teams MVP. Thenarse was a key member of Nebraska’s kickoff and punt coverage units and routinely made key plays. His efforts helped the Huskers rank 15th nationally in kickoff return defense and 22nd nationally in net punting.
Senior offensive guard Greg Austin was presented with this year’s Tom Novak Trophy. The Novak Trophy is presented to the senior who “best exemplifies courage and determination despite all odds in the manner of Nebraska All-America center Tom Novak.” Austin has started eight games this season despite injuring his knee on two occasions. Austin suffered a career-threatening knee injury as a freshman in 2003, but has battled back to contribute to the Husker offensive line each of the past three seasons.
The Huskers’ third senior award, the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award, was presented to fullback Dane Todd, a Lincoln native. The award is presented annually to the senior player selected by the Husker coaches, who best exemplifies the following qualities: good work ethic, competitiveness, leadership, forthrightness, sense of humor, pride, loyalty and love of Nebraska. Todd is a two-year starter at fullback who has played a key role in Nebraska’s resurgent running attack that has produced more than 180 yards in eight games this season. Todd was a first-team All-Big 12 selection at fullback by the Big 12 coaches and also earned second-team academic All-America honors this season.
The offensive scout team MVP was quarterback Sam Keller, who joined the Nebraska program as a transfer from Arizona State in August. Despite impressive credentials when joining the program, Keller displayed a team-first attitude in helping the Huskers prepare for the opposition each week. On the defensive side, the scout team defensive MVP was junior defensive end Tony Sullivan, a native of Wahoo, Neb.
Todd lead a group of Nebraska’s academic award winners who were also honored at the banquet, including 15 first-team academic All-Big 12 selections.
Approximately 400 people attended the Saturday night banquet. The winners of the Chamberlin and Novak trophies and the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award will also be honored as part of the Outland Trophy Banquet in Omaha on Jan. 11.