The UConn football team held its annual awards banquet Sunday afternoon and defensive tackle Deon McPhee won the team's Most Valuable Player Award.
McPhee recorded a career-high 31 tackles this season, including 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He helped the Huskies defense rank among the nation's top 10 for the entire season, including two weeks at No. 1 in total defense.
UConn's 297.2 yards per game in total defense is its lowest since 1979 when the Huskies allowed 289.4 yards per outing.
Junior running back Terry Caulley was named the Offensive MVP. Caulley returned this season after 23 months of rehabilitating a severe knee injury suffered on September 27, 2003.
Caulley led UConn with 659 yards and six touchdowns on 141 carries and caught 27 passes (third on the team) for 176 yards.
Senior linebacker James Hargrave was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year. The team co-captain was the only linebacker to start all 11 games for the Huskies, even though he played several games with a broken thumb.
Hargrave was third on the team with 62 tackles and led the Huskies with 13.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He also forced two fumbles, recovered one, broke up three passes and made the second interception of his career in UConn's 15-10 win over South Florida.
Sophomore safety Marvin Taylor received the Special Teams Player of the Year honor after he played on both punts and kickoffs, in addition to his starting role as a safety.
On the suggestion of former UConn assistant coach "Red" Kelin, Randy Edsall added the Joseph M. Giannelli Unsung Hero Award to the existing list of annual UConn football prizes.
A World War II veteran who passed away in 2002, Giannelli was a respected 37-year veteran of the UConn coaching staff, spending 15 years with the school's football program, 20 years with the men's golf team and two seasons coaching men's lacrosse.
The award will forever be presented to a UConn football player, selected by the coaches, who best displays effort, dedication and steady performance without notice and acclaim, making a significant, but perhaps hidden, contribution to the program.
The award's inaugural winner was senior walk-on quarterback Shane Fogarty who served as the team's holder for kicks this season and has worked as the scout team's quarterback throughout his career.
The Scholar Athlete Award was renamed the John L. Toner Scholar Athlete Award in honor of the former head football coach and director of athletics who went on to serve as president of the NCAA.
It was presented to senior wide receiver Aaron Smith, who has worked with numerous charitable organizations in Connecticut's inner cities while working toward a degree in political science.
UConn has nominated Smith for the prestigious Do Something BRICK Awards, which recognize those who are 25-and-under who identify problems in their communities and do something to change their world.
The Football Alumni Award (formerly the Huddle Club Award) went to senior defensive end Shawn Mayne. The honor is bestowed upon the player who best exhibits leadership and dedication and is viewed as the ultimate team player.
Mayne started all 11 games this year and led the defensive linemen with 42 tackles. He led the line and ranked third on the team with 10.5 tackles for loss and had four sacks.
The Kendall Madison Award was given to senior offensive tackle Grant Preston. After he battled through countless injuries to start 47 career games, Preston was recognized for being a "strong team player whose dedication, hard work and outstanding citizenship best exemplify the strong spirit of the UConn Huskies."
The award is named for the former UConn player who was tragically killed in the mid-1990s in his attempt to break up a bar room fight.
The Brian Kozlowski Award was given to senior linebacker Taurien Sowell for being courageous, hard-working and productive. The award is named for the former UConn player and current Washington Redskins tight end.
Sowell was not offered scholarships by any other Division I-A program out of Bridgeport (Conn.) Central, but he fought his way up the depth chart over his career, becoming the team's starting middle linebacker in 2005. He played each of the last two games on a badly sprained ankle.
Sowell had 51 tackles, 6.5 of them for loss and 2.5 sacks this season. In the three games he missed with his ankle injury (Rutgers, West Virginia and Pittsburgh), UConn was 0-3 and it allowed 357.3 yards per game. The Huskies went 5-3 and allowed 274.6 yards per game when Sowell was in the lineup.
Information in this story was provided by a University of Connecticut Athletic Communications press release.
Adam Gorney covers UConn sports for Rivals.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.