DENTON, Texas (1/26/08) Junior wide receiver Casey Fitzgerald took home the Odus Mitchell Award as the Mean Green’s most valuable player Saturday night at the North Texas Football Banquet. More than 550 people attended the annual event.
After breaking numerous Sun Belt and North Texas records, junior wide out Fitzgerald was one of two North Texas football players selected to the first-team all-conference team. Fitzgerald finished the season ranked sixth in the NCAA in receiving yards per game with 110.2 and third with 9.25 receptions per game. Starting all 12 games for North Texas at receiver, Fitzgerald was one of only two receivers in America this season with at least 100 catches, 1,200 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. He broke Sun Belt single-season records in receiving yards (1,322), receptions (104), receiving touchdowns (12) and receiving yards per game (114.9). His 104 receptions and 1,322 yards also set North Texas records. Fitzgerald also took home the Steve Ramsey Award for the most outstanding offensive player.
Jeremiah Chapman, a graduating senior from China Spring, Texas, was honored as the Joe Greene recipient for the most outstanding defensive player. Chapman, also a first-team All-Sun Belt pick, led the conference with 17 tackles for loss and was fourth in sacks with five. He recorded a tackle for loss in 10 of the Mean Green’s 12 games. Chapman tallied a career-high 16 tackles including 2.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in win over Western Kentucky earning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors for his effort. The 16 tackle-performance was the third-best single-game effort in the Sun Belt this year and the best by any North Texas defender this season.
Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, Giovanni Vizza earned the JaQuay Wilbrun Award for the Mean Green’s best offensive back. Vizza rushed for nearly 300 yards in his first year as the North Texas signal caller. He also led the nation among true freshmen in pass attempts (383), pass completions (223), passing yards (2,388) and passing touchdowns (16). Kelvin Drake rounded out the offensive awards receiving the award for the best offensive lineman.
The Shawn Kramer, which is annually given to the team’s most inspirational player, went to junior wide out Isiah Smith. Truman Spencer was awarded the Abner Haynes Award for the most outstanding special teams player. Spencer averaged 41.2 yards per punt, twice recording a Sun-Belt long punt of 73 yards against both SMU and Middle Tennessee.
Other players receiving awards Saturday night were Craig Robertson and Antoine Bush. Robertson, who earned honorable mention honors on the Scout.com Freshman All-America Team, picked up the award as the Mean Green’s most outstanding linebacker. Bush, a sophomore from Tyler, Texas, was honored as most outstanding defensive back. Montey Stevenson took home the award as the Mean Green’s best defensive lineman.
2007 NORTH TEXAS FOOTBALL AWARDS
Odus Mitchell Award (Team MVP)
- Casey Fitzgerald
Steve Ramsey Award (Outstanding Offensive Player)
- Casey Fitzgerald
JaQuay Wilburn Award (Outstanding Offensive Back)
- Giovanni Vizza
Phillip Armour Award (Outstanding Offensive Lineman)
- Kelvin Drake
Abner Haynes Award (Outstanding Special Teams)
- Truman Spencer
Shawn Kramer Award (Most Inspirational)
- Isiah Smith
Joe Greene Award (Outstanding Defensive Player)
- Jeremiah Chapman
Byron Gross Award (Outstanding Linebacker)
- Craig Robertson
Bill Brashier Award (Outstanding Defensive Back)
- Antoine Bush
Bill Bishop Award (Outstanding Defensive Lineman)
- Montey Stevenson