NAU chooses team award winners at banquet
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona football team celebrated the 2012 season at its annual banquet Sunday night. Junior running back Zach Bauman was named the Offensive Player of the Year, while safety Lucky Dozier was selected the Defensive Player of the Year and punter/kicker Andy Wilder was chosen as Special Teams Player of the Year.
Bauman rushed for 1,182 yards, the seventh-best single-season total in school history, while recording his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, becoming the only player in school history to accomplish that feat. He averaged 107.5 yards per game, the 19th-best total in the FCS, while posting five 100-yard rushing performances on the season.
“I understand this is an individual accolade,” said Bauman. “But it takes 11 guys doing the right thing on every play in order for one player to stand out. It is a testament to the offense as a whole. I want to thank the coaches and players for looking at me as the offensive MVP.”
As an All-Big Sky first-team choice, Dozier ranked fourth on the team in tackles with 57 and tied for the Big Sky Conference lead with four interceptions. The Sacramento, Calif., native added five passes deflections, the second-best total on the team.
“It means a lot to me because I am surprised my coaches and teammates look at me that way,” said Dozier. “I give the credit to my teammates and coaches and thank them for believing in me.”
Wilder led the nation in punting with a 46.3-yards-per-punt average with 25 punts of 50 or more yards during the season. He was named a Sports Network First-Team All-America selection on Monday. Senior punt returner Austin Shanks was named to the Sports Network Second-Team All-America team, while fullback Jake Hess was named to the Sports Network Third-Team All-America unit.
Shanks led the nation in punt returns with a 19.8 yards per kick return average on 17 returns. The Pacoima, Calif., product returned two punts for touchdowns, including a 74-yard return against Fort Lewis and 75-yard return versus UNLV. The 75-yard return was the sixth-longest run back in school history and the longest since Pete Mandley’s 85-yard return against Fresno State in 1983.
The Big Sky led all FCS leagues with 16 selections to the first, second and third All-America teams. Five conference players made the first team, eight made the second team and three were on the third team.
2012 NAU BANQUET AWARDS
Offensive Player of the Year: Zach Bauman
Defensive Player of the Year: Lucky Dozier
Special Teams Player of the Year: Andy Wilder
Offensive Most Improved Player: Jordan Perry
Defensive Most Improved Player: Devin Willis
Competitive Greatness Award: Trey Gilleo
Offensive Most Inspirational Player of the Year, David Couture Award: Jake Hess
Defensive Most Inspirational Player of the Year, Stevon Thomas Award: Tim Wilkinson
Junior of the Year, Offense: Drew Emanuel
Junior of the Year, Defense: Marc Thompson
Sophomore of the Year, Offense: R. J. Rickert
Sophomore of the Year, Defense: Austin Hasquet
Freshman of the Year, Offense: Casey Jahn
Freshman of the Year, Defense: Zach McDonnell
Offensive Playmaker of the Year: Ify Umodu
Defensive Playmaker of the Year: Anders Battle
Offensive Newcomer of the Year: Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnsen
Defensive Newcomer of the Year: Blair Wishom
Comeback Player of the Year, Offense: Cary Grossart
Comeback Player of the Year, Defense: Zach McDonnell
Scout Team Player of the Year, Offense: Jim Herrero
Scout Team Player of the Year, Defense: Louis Collins