MSU Football Picks 2015 Captains, Awards Handed Out - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

MSU Football Picks 2015 Captains, Awards Handed Out

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Four players who have travelled far to play football at Montana State, literally and figuratively, were named team captains after a vote of the team on Saturday

The selection of senior defensive tackle Taylor Sheridan, senior receiver Mitch Griebel, junior running back Chad Newell and junior quarterback Dakota Prukop capped MSU's Sonny Holland Classic spring game, bringing the team's spring practice period to a close. Bobcat coach Rob Ash also announced the program's spring award winners.

Ash was pleased with his team's selections of captains for the 2015 season. "I'm very excited about these guys," he said, "because to me they're already leaders of this team without having the title. The title just reinforces that. Interestingly enough I think there are other guys on this football team that are great leaders that weren't able to squeeze into the captains title because we just have a lot of good leaders."

Ash is intrigued by the composition of his team's formal leadership. "The fascinating thing is that they're not all seniors," he said. "A lot of our great leaders on this team are juniors. I think it's important to have senior leadership, and I think those two are clearly the top senior leaders."

While three of the team's 2015 captains reside on the offensive side of the football, two of them rose to prominence in the program on special teams. "Mitch came in as a transfer (from Air Force) and earned the respect of everybody because of his willingness to do anything asked of him," Ash said. "He does whatever he needs to do, and has a tremendous attitude about it. Chad Newell is the same way. He has excelled on special teams, and when given the chance to play running back he was ready."

Taylor Sheridan has contributed in the trenches for the Cats since early in his career, starting as a junior and rotating regularly during his first two seasons. He logged 50 tackles, five for a loss, last season. Ash said Sheridan's leadership was on full display this spring even as he was shelved by injury. "It's especially a good testimony to Taylor because he was unable to go full in spring practice but the guys still recognized his leadership," Ash said.

Prukop emerged as one of the nation's top offensive players as MSU's sophomore quarterback last season, rushing for 966 yards and throwing for 2,559. He accounted for 31 combined rushing and passing touchdowns. He and Newell combined for 39 touchdowns last year, and both come to the captaincy as juniors. "Newell and Prukop are just special guys," Ash said. "They have natural leadership abilities without having to really work at it, without having to be rah-rah cheerleader-type guys. They go play, they lead by example, and they have gained the respect of their teammates."

A trio of offensive linemen (Alex Eekhoff-Hayden Ferguson Award for Courage, Kyle Godecke-Chuck Karnop Award for Toughness, and JP Flynn-D'Agostino Strength Training Award for Linemen scooped up major spring awards on Saturday. Linebacker Wyatt Christensen shares the Karnop award with Godecke, while transfer safety Desman Carter wins the Cliff Hysell Award for Courage. The Jon Montoya Award for Most Improved Defensive Player goes to linebacker Mac Bignell, while the Tom Parac improved offensive player award ends up with tight end Austin Barth. Tight end Beau Sandland and cornerback Bryce Alley also pick up D'Agostino strength awards.

D'AGOSTINO FAMILY WINTER STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING AWARDS Line – JP Flynn (Bettendorf, IA); Stand-Up – Beau Sandland (Simi Valley, CA); Skill – Bryce Alley (Houston, TX)

HAYDEN FERGUSON AWARD FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE Offensive Lineman Alex Eekhoff (Reno, NV)

CHUCK KARNOP AWARD FOR MENTAL & PHYSICAL TOUGHNESS OF CHARACTER Offensive Lineman Kyle Godecke (Dillon, MT) and Linebacker Wyatt Christensen (Fountain Valley, CA)

CLIFF HYSELL AWARD FOR COURAGE

Safety Des Carter (Pomona, CA)

JON MONTOYA AWARD FOR MOST IMPROVED DEFENSIVE PLAYER Linebacker Mac Bignell (Drummond, MT)

TOM PARAC AWARD FOR MOST IMPROVED OFFENSIVE PLAYER Tight End Austin Barth (Columbia Falls, MT)

PRESIDENT'S LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR TEAM CAPTAINS Taylor Sheridan (Littleton, CO), Mitch Griebel (Aurora, CO), RB Chad Newell (Billings, MT), QB Dakota Prukop (Austin, TX)

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