Lattimore Named Team MVP at Post-Season Banquet
TAMPA, DEC. 15, 2013 – Senior linebacker DeDe Lattimore (Athens, Ga.), who finished his career second all-time on the USF career tackles chart, was named the John and Cynthia Ruzic Team MVP at the annual USF football post-season banquet held at the Marshall Center on the USF campus Sunday.
Lattimore was among 15 Bulls seniors honored on the night. The Bulls’ coaching staff handed out 17 season awards and head coach Willie Taggart brought to a close the 2013 season, his first at the helm.
“I’d like to thank these seniors,” Taggart told a full banquet hall. “Every last one of those guys bought into what we are doing. Every last one of them love this University.
“We’ve laid the foundation. Our guys understand how we are going to do things around here. I think the future is really bright for USF Football.”
Lattimore, a second team All-AAC selection, posted a career-high 18 tackles in his final game at Rutgers to lead the Bulls with a career-best 98 tackles on the season and finish second all-time at USF with 337 career tackles. Lattimore led the conference and ranked 10th in the FBS forcing four fumbles on the year and was second in the conference recovering three. He led the Buls in tackles in five games and posted 32 more tackles than the next closest USF player.
Lattimore also joined sophomore quarterback Matt Floyd (Milton) and junior kicker Marvin Kloss (Naples) in receiving Captains Awards on the night.
Kloss, who became the program’s first-ever major college football award finalist as he finished among the top three for the Lou Groza College Kicker Award, was named Special Teams MVP Award winner after he scored 42 percent of the team’s points and led the nation with 11 field goals of 40 yards or more and four of 50 yards or more. Kloss made 18 field goals on the year, coming one shy of the USF record, and had a USF record run of 13 straight made field goals, including four in a victory over Cincinnati. He earned second team All-America honors from Athlon Sports earlier in the week.
Junior wide receiver Andre Davis (Tampa) earned the Offensive MVP Award after he set a USF record with 735 receiving yards on the season and finished tied for fourth on the season receptions chart with 49. Davis surged at the end of the year as he became the first USF player to post three-consecutive 100-yard receiving games in contests at Houston and vs. Memphis and SMU.
Senior defensive end Tevim Mims (Round Rock, Texas) earned the Defensive MVP Award as he posted 40 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Mims, who missed two games in the middle of the season due to injury, finished his career with 75 career tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss.
The Frank Morsani Leadership Award was presented to freshman quarterback Mike White (Fort Lauderdale) and junior linebacker Reshard Cliett (Thomasville, Ga.). White started the final five games of the season and posted the best-ever quarterback debut in USF history throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns at Houston. Cliett started 10 games and finished as the Bulls’ second leading tackler with 56 stops and 7.0 tackles for loss.
Safety Nate Godwin (Tampa) earned the Freshman of the Year Award as he started the final nine games of the season and finished fourth on the team with 49 tackles while adding an interception, three pass break-ups and a 75-yard return of a blocked field goal for a touchdown in USF’s win over Cincinnati.
The Offensive Line Award was presented to junior center Austin Reiter (Bradenton). The Rimington Trophy candidate started every game and led the Bulls offensive line unit.
The Defensive Line Award went to senior tackle Elkino Watson (Miami) who posted 28 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks while starting nine games.
The Most Improved Player Award was presented to junior wide receiver Chris Dunkley (Pahokee) who became a very effective special teams weapon returning a punt 50 yards for a touchdown vs. SMU and averaging 24.2 yards per punt return and 22.6 yards per kick return on the year. He also logged seven catches for 87 yards.
The Tough Man Award went to senior defensive end Ryne Giddins (Seffner) who lost his mother to cancer after the third game of the season and was as an inspirational team leader in how he handled the tragic loss. Giddins finished the year with 27 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and five sacks and ranks third all-time at USF with 19.5 career sacks.
The Academic Excellence Award went to senior Luke Sager (Niceville) who also earned second team All-AAC honors earlier in the week. The two-time academic all-conference honoree already earned an undergraduate degree in communications prior to the season and received his master’s degree in entrepreneurship on Saturday in commencement ceremonies at USF.
The Lee Roy Selmon Award was presented to senior quarterback Bobby Eveld (Tampa) who has started at least one game in each of his four seasons at USF. The award is presented to the student-athlete that most reflects Selmon’s devotion to character, personality, loyalty, ability, service and love of fellow man.
The Jim & Laurie Ragsdale Outstanding Walk-On Award went to senior cornerback Brandon Salinas (Orlando) who earned a scholarship in his final campaign and went on to start every game and post 37 tackles.
The Scout Team Award for offense went to redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Eveld (Tampa) and for defense went to sophomore defensive end Daniel Awoleke (Lakeland).
State troopers Jack Hypes and Mike Cendan were honored with the I Got Your 6 Award presented to individuals that have demonstrated loyalty, commitment and service to the 2013 football team and have gone above and beyond the call of duty.