NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Newberry College football team celebrated a successful 2007 season with its annual awards banquet in Eleazer Arena Friday night.
Individual awards were given out, as well as recognition of the senior class. The Class of 2008 finished their career as the winningest senior class in the history of Indian football, and finished their careers with a 20-4 record in the final two seasons and a 15-game winning streak at Setzler Field.
Seniors recognized included Alex Haynes, Charles Brandon, Levi Bennett, Corky Howell, Clifford Crockett, Ryan Lukshis, Corey Smalls, Brandon Clontz, John Newell, Derrick Hines, Jeremy Grogan, Matt Baxley, Jonathan Breaux, Heath Benedict, Trey Wells, Corey Seawell, Tony Ransom, Thomas Chambliss, Craig Jones, Brandon Jones and Devin Robinson.
David Smith, a sophomore from Union, S.C., was honored with the Most Valuable Wide Receiver award. Smith caught 28 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns in his first season as an Indian. He was named second team all-South Atlantic Conference this season.
Alex Haynes, a senior from Summerville, S.C., earned the Most Valuable Offensive Back and Most Valuable Offensive Player awards. Haynes earned his first career All-American honor this season following an outstanding career as one of the top running backs in the SAC and in Newberry history. He wrapped up his career with over 2,500 rushing yards and two consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards or more. He was a first team all-South Atlantic Conference selection in each of the last two seasons and set a Newberry record with 255 rushing yards in the 2007 win over Bowie State. He was also selected to play in the 2007 East Coast Bowl.
Heath Benedict, a senior from Greer, S.C., earned the Most Valuable Offensive Lineman award. Benedict earned three postseason All-American honors for the 2007 season, adding to a list of honors that highlights one of the most successful football careers in Newberry history. Benedict participated in the 2008 Under Armour Senior Bowl - the only Division II player this season, and the first since 2004 - in preparation for April's NFL Draft. He is a three-time first team all-South Atlantic Conference honoree, two-time winner of the SAC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy and a two-time national finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award.
Tony Ransom, a senior from Marion, S.C., earned the Most Valuable Defensive Lineman award. Ransom's 24 career sacks is a Newberry record and he finished his career with 195 career tackles. He also wrapped up his career with 51.5 tackles for a loss. He was named second team all-South Atlantic Conference this year.
The Most Valuable Inside Linebacker award went to Mike Grase, a junior from Rock Hill, S.C. Grase finished the season with 47 tackles on the season, the third most on the team. 5.5 of those tackles were for negative yardage.
The Most Valuable Outside Linebacker award went to Stewart Good, a junior from Rock Hill, S.C. Good forced a fumble, had 39 tackles and broke up three passes in 2007.
Temarcus Thompson, a junior from Greenville, S.C., was named the Most Valuable Defensive Back. Thompson tied for the league lead in interceptions with four picks this year. He also had seven pass breakups and 28 tackles to earn first team all-conference honors.
Antonio Patton, a sophomore from Woodruff, S.C., was named the team's Most Valuable Special Teams Player. Patton earned first team all-SAC honors as a return specialist in his first season at Newberry. He was the conference's statistical champion in punt return yardage, with 12.5 yards per return. He had a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown against Chowan, as well as a 73-yard kickoff return for a score against West Georgia.
Will Newell, a junior linebacker from Irmo, S.C., was named the team's Most Valuable Defensive Player for the second consecutive year. Newell led Newberry with 78 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. All MVP awards were voted on by the Indians' players.
Trey Wells, a senior center from Abbeville, S.C., earned the Most Improved Award, while Derrick Hines, a senior right guard from Spartanburg, S.C., earned the Hustle Award. Three Coaches' Awards were given out as well. Corey Seawell, a senior wide receiver from Columbia, S.C., earned the offensive award, Jonathan Breaux, a senior defensive lineman from Ladson, S.C., earned the defensive award and John Newell, a senior from Irmo, S.C., earned Special Team honors for his duties as long snapper.