MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota football team and the Goal Line Club celebrated the 2012 season with its annual awards banquet Sunday afternoon at the Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis.
They did so without head coach Jerry Kill, who was at home recovering after he suffered another seizure during the Gophers’ 26-10 loss to Michigan State on Senior Day at TCF Bank Stadium. University officials said they expect Kill to be back at work on Monday.
The Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the team’s MVP, was given to senior MarQueis Gray. He’s the first player since Laurence Maroney in 2005-05 to get the award to years in a row. Gray was also given with the Paul Giel Award, which goes to the player deemed to have the most unselfishness and most concern about the University of Minnesota.
Running back Donnell Kirkwood received the Bruce Smith Award as the team’s outstanding offensive player, while defensive back Mike Carter was honored with the Carl Eller Award as the Gophers’ outstanding defensive player.
The Tony Dungy Character and Community Service Award was given to Connor Cosgrove. Linebacker Mike Rallis earned the Neil Fredenburg Award, which is given annually to the player who has the most courage and love of the game.
This year was also the first time that the Gary Tinsley Award was handed out. The award, named for the late Tinsley, who played for the Gophers from 2008-11 and died back in April, will be given annually to a player who best embraced Tinsley’s underdog mentality. The inaugural Gary Tinsley Award was presented to Keanon Cooper, Tinsley’s former roommate who found him dead in their dorm.
Other awards of note included the wide receiver of the year, which went to Isaac Fruechte. D.L. Wilhite was named the defensive lineman of the year.
The Gophers (6-6) now wait for where they’ll be selected to play for a bowl game in either late December or even on New Year’s Day.