Not only did sophomore running back Mark Walton win the University of Miami’s Most Valuable Player award, his 55-yard sprint down the middle for a touchdown in UM’s 51-28 victory against Pittsburgh was named the top play of the regular season.
The Hurricanes (8-4), who will begin practicing Thursday for their Dec. 28 matchup with No. 14 West Virginia (10-2) in the Russell Athletic Bowl, had their Canes Football Awards Show on Sunday night at the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall inside the Frost School of Music.
The Miami coaches gave out 23 annual player awards.
Walton led the team in rushing (1,065 yards) and touchdowns (15).
Quarterback Brad Kaaya won Offensive Player of the Year (3,250 yards and 23 touchdowns), with cornerback Corn Elder winning Defensive Player of the Year (69 tackles, 12 pass breakups, a forced fumble and fumble recovery).
All-ACC punter Justin Vogel (44.2 yards per punt) was named Special Teams Player of the Year.
Senior safety Jamal Carter won the Plumer Award for Leadership, Motivation and Spirit, while junior kicker Michael Badgley and seniors Elder and Danny Isidora won the Melching Leadership Award – voted on by the team.
Defensive tackle Kendrick Norton and Walton earned the KellyUTough Player of the Year Award.
Other award winners: Hard Hitter: Carter and fullback Marquez Williams; The Mariutto Family Scholar Athlete: receiver Braxton Berrios; Community Service Man of the Year: Demetrius Jackson.
Strength Training Athlete: Malcolm Lewis and Zach McCloud; Albert Bentley Most Valuable Walk-Ons: Jordan Butler and Malik Mayweather.
Nick Chickillo Most Improved Players: safety Rayshawn Jenkins, tight end David Njoku and linebacker Michael Smith.
Walt Kichefski Hurricane: linebacker Shaquille Quarterman.
U of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Unsung Hero: defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh, tight end Chris Herndon and Berrios.
Training Room Comeback Player of the Year: linebacker Darrion Owens.
Captains Awards: Elder, Isidora, Kaaya and Vogel.
Scout Team Player of the Year: Offense – Austin Pfenninger; Defense – Teddy Stavetski and Dewayne Washington; Special Teams – Sam York.
Newcomer of the Year: Offense – receiver Ahmmon Richards; Defense – Quarterman; Special Teams – Travis Homer.
Behind Walton’s 55-yard touchdown rush against Pittsburgh, Quarterman’s 17-yard fumble return for a touchdown at Georgia Tech was voted the second best play and Njoku’s flip into the end zone against Pittsburgh was voted the third best play.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN