Highland Hundred Banquet Honors 2012 Seniors
Dec. 9, 2012
The Highland Hundred, the University of Memphis' football booster organization, honored 16 seniors and recognized postseason award winners during the team's annual banquet held on campus at the Holiday Inn Sunday.
The Tigers' 16 seniors laid the foundation for the program's future, helping lead a Memphis team which finished the year by winning its last three conference games. At 4-4 in Conference USA play, Memphis won more league games in 2012 than the last three seasons combined.
Memphis' 2012 senior class included linebacker Chris Bertucci, linebacker Akeem Davis, offensive lineman Jordan Devey, defensive lineman Zach Gholson, place kicker Paulo Henriques, linebacker Ricky Holloway, defensive back Mitch Huelsing, linebacker Kenyata Johnson, defensive back Tarondal Phillips, defensive lineman Jimmy Robinson, wide receiver Marcus Rucker, snapper Jeremy Singler, defensive back Cannon Smith, defensive back Robert Steeples, defensive back DeAndre Thompson and punter/holder Austin Weaver.
Headlining the individual awards Sunday night was Devey, who received the DeAngelo Williams Most Valuable Player Award.
Devey started all 24 games of his two-year career at Memphis and played every offensive snap during his career. The American Fork, Utah, native played 1,558 consecutive offensive plays for the Tigers. In 2012, Devey started 10 games at left tackle and two at right guard. He played three different positions (left tackle, left guard and right guard) in victories over Rice and UAB.
Junior transfer Brandon Hayes received the Isaac Bruce Offensive Player of the Year Award.
Hayes, a walkon to the Memphis program, did not see his first action of the season until the fourth game of the year. He went on to lead the Tigers in rushing, carrying the ball 118 times for 576 yards and six touchdowns. He closed out the season with back-to-back, 100-yard rushing games against UAB and Southern Miss. The Chicago native ran for a combined 242 yards and scored five touchdowns in the final two games of the season.
Devey and Hayes led a Memphis offense which raised its total offense total in Conference USA play from 243 yards per game in 2011 to 327 yards an outing this year, a 26-percent increase in yardage from last season. The Tigers raised their rushing offensive total by 63 percent.
Newcomer Tank Jakes received the John Bramlett Defensive Player of the Year Award.
During his sophomore season, Jakes tallied 48 total tackles including 8 ½ for lost yardage (32 yards) and two quarterback sacks. He returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown against Tulane. The victory began the Tigers' season-ending, three-game win streak which was a first since the 2007 season. The Phenix, Ala., native ranked third on the team in tackles for lost yards and sixth on the team in tackles.
Memphis led Conference USA in total defense in league games played, giving up just 331 yards per game. Memphis' defense lowered the total yardage allowed in conference games from the previous season by 30 percent.
For the year, Memphis ranked 48th nationally in defense (383.58 yards per game). The Tigers made a 69-position improvement from the 2011 season when they ranked 117th with a 491.00 total defense average.
Junior punter Tom Hornsey received the Joe Allison Special Teams Player of the Year Award.
Hornsey ranked among the Top 20 nationally in punting, averaging 43.43 yards per punt. During the season, the Geelong, Victoria, Australia, native placed 25 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line. He had 10 of his punts downed inside opponents' five-yard line.
Davis received the True Tiger award which "represents what we represent" within the program.
In addition to ranking third on the team with 68 total tackles, Davis has been highly involved in the community both here in Memphis as well as his hometown of Laurel, Miss. Davis was one of 10 finalists for the ARA (Awards and Recognition Association) Sportsmanship Award given annually to the collegiate football player who best personifies the spirit of sportsmanship.
Linebacker Darius Ridgeway, a true freshman from Lafayette, La., received the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year Award. Wide receiver Dontrinell Scott, a true freshman who prepped at Wooddale High School in Memphis received the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year Award.
The University of Memphis football program also paid tribute to its first Leadership Council - Seniors Davis, Devey, Gholson, Henriques and Smith along with junior Jacob Karam, sophomores Charles Harris, Bakari Hollier and Bobby McCain and freshman Tyriq Patrick.
The Highland Hundred also paid tribute to one of its members as Tony Gibbs received the Bobby Wharton Labor of Love Award. The award was created to recognize exceptional commitment and dedication to the Tiger Football program and the Highland Hundred.