Nov. 20, 2012
OGDEN, Utah - Offensive guard Sean Davies and punter Colton Schmidt were named to the All-Big Sky Conference first team, linebacker Jordan Glass earned second-team honors and seven other Aggies added honorable mention accolades, it was announced by the league on Tuesday morning.
UC Davis just completed its first year in the Big Sky which had 13 teams vying for postseason honors. Named honorable mention for UC Davis were receiver Corey Galindo, center Ray Wilburn, tight end Taylor Sloat, fullback Dalton Turay, defensive tackle Andrew Benjamin, linebacker Byron Gruendl and cornerback Jonathan Perkins.
"Obviously Sean's and Colton's selections were well-deserved," said head coach Bob Biggs. "It's tough when you're the new kid on the block and you have 13 teams in the league. You're not going to get everyone that deserves recognition but this says a lot about the quality of players in our program."
The Big Sky's 13 head coaches selected the individual award winners and all-conference teams and were not allowed to vote for their own players. Co-champion Montana State had six first-team selections while co-champion Eastern Washington had five. The other co-champion, Cal Poly, had two.
All three teams will represent the Big Sky in the NCAA Division I FCS Championship which begins this weekend.
Davies, a 6-foot-4, 297-pound senior from Westlake Village, Calif., was instrumental in the Aggies' improved running attack this season which averaged 136.9 ypg. - it's best average in more than a decade - and highlighted its year with 331 rushing yards at Idaho State in October. Davies started every game that he played during his career, including all 11 games this season.
"Sean was the model of consistency," said Biggs. "As an offensive guard, that's what you want. He consistently graded out probably the highest every week. He came in as a walk-on but just got better and better."
Schmidt, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound senior from Bakersfield, enjoyed the best punting career in Aggie history, capped by a school-record 44.5 average this season, more than two yards further than the school record (42.3) he set last year.
Schmidt, who also set a school record for career average (41.1), had 23 punts land inside the 20 and posted a long punt of 68 yards against Portland State. He also served as UC Davis' kickoff specialist with more than half his 62 kickoffs resulting in touchbacks.
"He was a game-changer," said Biggs. "You don't often see that with a punter but Colton was a game-changer."
Glass, a 6-2, 240-pound senior from nearby Elk Grove, was a force for UC Davis on the defensive side of the ball, leading the team in total tackles (83) and interceptions (3) and tying for team-high honors with three quarterback hurries.
Glass, whose key interception late in the game, 12 tackles and defensive two-point conversion helped the Aggies beat rival Sacramento State 34-27 on Saturday night in the 59th annual Causeway Classic, also highlighted his season with a seven-yard pick-six against then No. 2 Montana State in early October. He had 11 tackles in the game.
Galindo earned his first postseason honor by leading the Aggies with 33 catches for 603 yards including touchdown catches this year of 67 yards against Cal Poly and 72 at Eastern Washington. Wilburn, a 6-2, 280-pound senior from San Bernardino, helped direct UC Davis' offensive line, starting all 11 games at center and 32 games over the past three seasons at the position.
Sloat, a 6-4, 235-pound junior from Fall River Mills, Calif., enjoyed a standout season from his tight end position, catching 30 passes for 428 yards, both second-best on the team. He added two touchdowns, including the eventual game-winner on Saturday with his eight-yard score in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with seven catches for 109 yards.
Turay was a workhorse for the Aggies from his fullback position in his first season of action with the team. The 5-10, 220-pound sophomore from Pleasanton, averaged 4.3 yards a carrry and had a team-high seven touchdowns, including three in the second quarter against Weber State.
On the defensive side, Gruendl, a 6-2, 230-pound senior from Danville, helped UC Davis put together a standout linebacking corps that held down three of the first four positions on the team's tackle charts. He was second with 77 including a team-best 49 solo stops. He had a pair of interceptions, three quarterback hurries and three sacks.
Benjamin, a 6-1, 270-pound senior from nearby Orangevale, was second on the Aggies with 4.5 sacks resulting in 38 yards in losses. He had 10.0 tackles-for-losses and finished with 25 tackles overall.
Perkins helped provide a formidable defensive secondary which fought several key injuries throughout the season. He had a pair of interceptions, including a 69-yard pick against South Dakota State in September which he returned for a touchdown. He also had a key interception in the endzone to turn back Sacramento State on Saturday.
Nine of the Aggies' 10 players recognized by the Big Sky on Monday previously earned all-conference from the Great West Conference which UC Davis was a member of until 2011.
Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee was named the Big Sky's Offensive Player of the Year, the Bobcats' linebacker Jody Owens was selected the Defensive Player of the Year and Southern Utah linebacker Zak Browning was tabbed the Newcomer of the Year.
UC Davis also held its annual banquet on Sunday evening at Freeborn Hall. Team awards were presented to 17 players while parents, former players and administrators were among those honoring retiring head coach Bob Biggs.
A list of the awards is below.
2012 UC DAVIS FOOTBALL AWARDS
JERRY NORRIS AWARD (Most Valuable and Inspirational)
LB Jordan Glass
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
LB Byron Gruendl
C Ray Wilburn
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
P Colton Schmidt
JIM FERRIER AWARD (Outstanding Transfer)
DE Colin Kelly
PALMER MOODY AWARD (Outstanding Sophomore)
FB Dalton Turay
MIKE WISE AWARD (Outstanding Freshmen)
WR Tim Benton
AGGIE PRIDE AWARD
DE Bobby Erskine
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
FS Aaryn Jones
DE Nick King