LEXINGTON, Ky. –Wide receiver/quarterback/kick returner Randall Cobb and defensive tackle Corey Peters received multiple honors in the University of Kentucky football team awards for the 2009 season.
Cobb was voted the Wildcats’ most valuable player in balloting by the Kentucky team members, one of two awards elected by the squad.
A sophomore from Alcoa, Tenn., Cobb leads the team in pass receiving with 37 catches for 427 yards and four touchdowns. While operating at quarterback out of the “WildCobb” formation, he has rushed for 537 yards and 10 TDs. He’s also averaging 13.5 yards on punt returns and 26.5 yards on kickoff returns. He ranks second in the SEC in touchdowns and third in the league in scoring, punt returns and all-purpose yardage.
The coaching staff named Cobb as the team’s most outstanding offensive player and Peters as the team’s most outstanding defensive player. A senior from Louisville, Peters notched 52 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, four quarterback sacks and five pass breakups. He led SEC defensive tackles in sacks and tackles for loss.
The other honor voted by the players, the team’s most inspirational player, was shared by Cobb and senior linebacker Sam Maxwell (Hartwell, Ga.). Maxwell totaled 80 tackles this season, along with six interceptions, the most pickoffs ever in one season by a UK linebacker, and seven pass breakups.
Peters and senior tight end Ross Bogue (Suwanee, Ga.) were bestowed with the Jerry Claiborne Award as the players who best exemplify the ideals of academic success and team attitude associated with one of UK’s most popular head coaches. Peters and Bogue have career grade-point averages over 3.0, with Bogue having graduated already and Peters set to graduate at the conclusion of the current semester.
A pair of seniors received the team’s most outstanding offensive lineman award, tackle Zipp Duncan (Magnolia, Ky.) and center Jorge Gonzalez (Tampa, Fla.). Duncan and Gonzalez have led the O-Line that is helping UK average 193.2 rushing yards per game, the team’s best mark since 1995. UK ranks in the top 25 nationally in rushing yardage, fewest quarterback sacks allowed and fewest tackles for loss allowed.
Senior John Conner (West Chester, Ohio) was chosen as the special teams player of the year for his outstanding performance in the kicking game. Also the team’s starting fullback, Conner has rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns this season while catching five passes for 46 yards and one TD. In addition, he is a tremendous blocker.
The most improved player was won by a pair of sophomores, offensive guard Stuart Hines (Bowling Green, Ky.) and linebacker Danny Trevathan (Leesburg, Fla.). Hines is a part of the line that is helping UK average 193.2 rushing yards per game, the team’s best mark since 1995. UK ranks in the top 25 nationally in rushing yardage, fewest quarterback sacks allowed and fewest tackles for loss allowed.
The most outstanding first-year player honors went to freshman quarterback Morgan Newton, along with junior defensive end DeQuin Evans. Originally headed for a redshirt season, Newton (Carmel, Ind.) started the last seven games after Mike Hartline was injured, helping lead UK to a 5-2 record. He completed 62 of 112 passes (55.4 percent) for 608 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 93 net yards and two TDs. Evans (Long Beach, Calif.) made a great adjustment in his transfer from junior college. He collected 36 tackles and led the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks.
Two Wildcats are rewarded for their dedication in practice as the most valuable scout team players. This year’s honorees are a pair of true freshmen, center Sam Simpson (Lexington) and defensive tackle Mister Cobble (Louisville).
A summary of the awards is below:
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
The recipient will be the player judged to have contributed the most to the team’s success, its biggest contributor with his play of the field. The award is selected by a vote of the team members. WINNER: Randall Cobb
MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER
This award is given to the squad’s best performer for the offensive unit, recognizing the best execution at his position of all team members. This award is determined by the coaching staff. WINNER: Randall Cobb
MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
This award is given to the squad’s best performer on the defensive squad, recognizing the best execution at his position of all team members. This award is determined by the coaching staff. WINNER: Corey Peters
MOST INSPIRATIONAL PLAYER
The winner of this award will have demonstrated outstanding leadership and motivation through his play and actions on and off the field, both during competition and practice as an ultimate team player. This award is given following a vote of the team’s members. WINNER: Randall Cobb, Sam Maxwell
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
The recipient will be the squad member who has made the most improvement in his play and contribution to the team’s success. It can be awarded based on progress since last spring, improvement from fall camp or development throughout the season. The coaches will select the winner of this award. WINNER: Danny Trevathan, Stuart Hines
OUTSTANDING FIRST-YEAR PLAYER
This award recognizes the efforts and performance of the top squad member in his first year in the football program. Those in consideration include freshmen and transfers. The award will be determined by members of the coaching staff. WINNER: Morgan Newton, DeQuin Evans
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
This award will honor the player who made the biggest contribution to the squad’s success as a member of one or more of the special teams. The recipient will be selected by the coaches. WINNER: John Conner
MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
This award will be given to a member of the offensive line who consistently plays at a high level and contributes to the team’s success and production. This award will be based on game grades and the recommendation of the coaching staff. WINNER: Zipp Duncan, Jorge Gonzalez
JERRY CLAIBORNE AWARD
The recipient of the award will be a senior who exemplifies the attributes and ideals championed by one of Kentucky’s outstanding former head coaches. It will be based upon academic success and the display of a team-oriented attitude throughout the season. It will be selected by the coaching staff. WINNER: Ross Bogue, Corey Peters
MOST VALUABLE SCOUT TEAM PLAYERS
The awards honor another unsung facet of a football program, the players who perform on the scout teams during practice sessions. The honorees will be selected based on effort, attitude and performance in contributing behind the scenes to the team’s success. They will be determined by members of the coaching staff. WINNERS: Sam Simpson (Offense), Mister Cobble (Defense)