TULSA, OKLA. --- Several Tiger Football players received honors presented by the coaching staff at the team dinner at the Marriott Southern Hills in Tulsa on Thanksgiving evening.
The awards are typically presented at the Senior Banquet hosted by the Highland Hundred booster organization, but with the coaching change that was announced earlier this month, the banquet was canceled. Instead, the plaques were loaded onto the equipment truck for the team's final trip of the 2009 season to Tulsa.
The Most Valuable Player award was presented to senior receiver Duke Calhoun. The Memphis native leads the team in receiving yards (898) and receptions (64), while holding a 48-game receiving streak that ranks tied for second nationally. He is just 44 yards from becoming only the 10th wide receiver in Conference USA history to log 3,000 career yards. Calhoun holds school records in receptions (208), yards (2,956) and 100-yard receiving games with 10.
Senior running back Curtis Steele was presented the Offensive Player of the Year award and senior defensive lineman Greg Terrell received the Defensive Player of the Year honor. The Special Teams Player of the Year Award was shared by senior punter Matt Reagan and junior deep snapper Keenan Bratcher. Junior center Brad Paul earned the Offensive Lineman of the Year distinction.
Steele leads the team in rushing yards with 1,007, and is only the second Tiger running back in school history to log consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Steele totals five 100-yard games this season, including a 240-yard effort versus UTEP. For his career he boasts 11 games over the century mark, which ranks him tied for second in school history. With his average of 111.89 yards per game, Steele ranks 15th nationally while also leading the squad in scoring with 72 points. In the last six games, he is averaging 144.3 yards and has registered eight rushing touchdowns.
Terrell has started 10 games this season and totals 24 tackles. He has also registered two pass breakups and two sacks. Terrell has recorded at least one tackle in all but one game this season. He has posted 118 career tackles, including 18.5 TFL for minus 72 yards.
Paul has started all 10 of the games he has played this season at center. He missed the UAB game with an elbow injury. He has logged 700 of the team's 711 snaps in the 10 games, and worked a season-high 82 snaps versus UTEP.
Reagan has handled punting, PAT and field goal duties this season, and in his first season as the Tigers' punter, he was named a Ray Guy Award semifinalist. He leads C-USA and ranks second nationally in punting average (45.72). He has handled all but one punt this season and totals 18 over 50 yards and has dropped 23 inside the opponent's 20-yard line. He is also 28-of-29 on PATs and is second on the team with 58 points. A key component to Reagan's success is deep snapper Bratcher, who has served as Memphis' primary long snapper the last three straight seasons. He has started all 11 games this season and has not had an errant snap on 58 punts, 29 PATs and 15 field goals.
The Role Player Award was shared by seniors Arkelon Hall and Josh Weaver, while the Black and Blue Award, which was introduced last year for "toughness on the field," was presented to Steven Turner and Carlos Singleton. True freshman Jimmy Robinson and junior transfer Jermaine McKenzie received the Defensive and Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year honors, respectively.
Seniors Will Hudgens, Curtis Steele and Greg Jackson were selected by their teammates last week to represent this year's squad as the permanent captains. The three received plaques commemorating their leadership role. One of the most prestigious awards, the Top Tiger, was presented to junior offensive lineman Dominik Riley and senior receiver Brian Hall.
After the awards presentation, the players presented Coach West a letterman's jacket that had been signed by members of the team. The squad then watched the senior highlight video to close out this memorable team event.
The Tigers face the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. on CBS College Sports Network.