February 4, 2013

The Citadel Honors 2012 Football Standouts at Awards Banquet

Charleston, S.C. – Darien Robinson, Chris Billingslea and Cass Couey headlined the award winners at The Citadel's annual football banquet held Monday night at the Holliday Alumni Center.

Robinson was named the team's offensive player of the year. The junior B-back rushed for 1,007 yards, the first Bulldog to reach the 1,000-yard mark since 2007, and scored six touchdowns. He ranked seventh in the Southern Conference and 39th in the nation with an average of 91.5 yards per game and ran for more than 100 yards six times. His career total of 1,969 yards entering his senior season ranks 12th in school history.

Billingslea was chosen the team's top defensive player in his final year at The Citadel. The defensive end ranked fourth on the Bulldogs with 51 tackles while leading the team with 9.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. He was named second team All-SoCon for the second straight year.

He played in all 44 games in his career with 39 consecutive starts since moving into the lineup midway through his freshman season. He is tied for seventh in school history with 12 sacks and also finished with 180 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss and 11 passes defensed.

Couey earned his third straight special teams player of the year award after ranking second in the SoCon with an average of 42.4 yards per punt. He was chosen to the All-SoCon second team after earning first team all-conference and third team All-America accolades following his junior season in 2011 when he ranked fifth in the nation in punting.

The starting punter all four seasons at The Citadel, Couey averaged 40.9 yards per punt over the course of his career, the second-highest figure in school history.

The evening got underway with the recognition of 56 lettermen, including fourth-year winners Billingslea, Couey, Greg Adams, Austin Boyle, Davis Boyle, Terrell Dallas, Keith Gamble and VanDyke Jones.

That was followed by the members of the 2012 Southern Conference Fall Academic All-Conference Team. That group included Austin Boyle (3.25, business administration), Davis Boyle (3.25, business administration), Douglas German (3.31, business administration), Brandon McCladdie (3.68, sports management), Yemi Oyegunle (3.83, business administration), Walker Smith (3.80, physical education), Thomas Warren (3.52, business administration) and Carson Smith (4.00, electrical engineering).

McCladdie, a junior cornerback, received a certificate for his selection to the FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star Team and was also the winner of the Ann Seignious Award for academic and football excellence. In addition to his work in the classroom, where he has twice earned Gold Stars (3.7 or higher grade point average), he was a second team All-SoCon selection, picked off two passes, broke up four others and forced three fumbles last season.

McCladdie was joined by Derek Douglas, Keith Carter and Rickey Anderson as recipients of the Captain's Award. Douglas also received the Team Military Captain Award as the person who best merged his work in football, academics and in the Corps. The junior defensive tackle returned to the field in the fourth week of the season following ACL surgery in the spring to anchor the Bulldogs' defensive front.

The Linwood Sykes Award for outstanding effort not only in games but also in practice and offseason workouts was given to junior quarterback Ben Dupree. He rushed for 839 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 25 of 45 passes for 387 yards and three touchdowns last season.

The Citadel Football Association Blood & Guts Award, epitomizing the player who gives total effort on the practice field, was presented to junior cornerback Sadath Jean-Pierre, a three-year letterman who finished the 2012 campaign ranked second on the team with 80 tackles.

Junior Jim Knowles, a two-year starter on the offensive line, received the inaugural JB Weber Academic Achievement Award. This award honors the player who best reaches his academic potential and who serves as an example for his teammates.

The Citadel Brigadier Foundation recognized offensive tackle Cullen Brown with the Team Before Self Award. Brown spent his first two seasons as a tight end before moving to tackle shortly before the start of the 2012 season. He started all 11 games at his new position, consistently earning one of the team's top grades each week.

The Cal McCombs Award, which is given to the player who best represents the virtues of moral character, courage, contribution and commitment, was presented to sophomore linebacker Carson Smith. Smith led the Bulldogs with 91 tackles and was selected the SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week following the Appalachian State game.

Chosen as the scout team players of the year were Julian Walker (offense), Brandon Staton (defense) and Dondray Copeland (special teams). Also recognized was senior Ben Owen, who served as one of the team's filmers.

Awards were also presented for SoCon weekly and postseason honors, including the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the conference to junior Mike Sellers and Kevin Higgins as the league's coach of the year. Offense, defense and special teams player of the game awards for each of The Citadel's seven victories in 2012 were also handed out.

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