Dec. 8, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini football team, families and friends gathered to honor 15 seniors and the season's award winners at the 112th annual football banquet Saturday at the I Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign.
The 15 seniors honored by head coach Tim Beckman and the Illini coaching staff were Jonathan Brown, Jake Feldmeyer, Nick Forzley, Spencer Harris, Steve Hull, Brad Janitz, Tim Kynard, Ryan Lankford, Corey Lewis, Ben Mathis, Miles Osei, Daniel Quintana, Tim Russell, Nathan Scheelhaase and Evan Wilson.
The following are the Illini award winners from the 2013 Illinois Football Banquet:
Outstanding Offensive Player: Nathan Scheelhaase, quarterback
Scheelhaase had one of the best passing seasons in Illinois football history, and finished his four years as the Illini's all-time total offense leader with 10,634 yards. He led the Big Ten in passing yardage, passing touchdowns, total offense and completion percentage, throwing for 3,272 yards and 21 touchdowns, while completing 67 percent of his passes, to earn All-Big Ten honors. Scheelhaase finished his career among the leaders in almost every quarterback category, tying for third with 55 touchdown passes. His career total offense numbers ranked seventh in Big Ten Conference history. A four-year starter, Scheelhaase is the only quarterback in UI history to lead the Illini to bowl victories in back-to-back seasons.
Outstanding Defensive Player: Jonathan Brown, linebacker
Brown led Illinois with 119 tackles, five sacks and 15 tackles-for-loss in 2013, ranking second in the Big Ten in total tackles. His 45.5 career TFLs rank third in school history. Brown's outstanding senior season was capped off by earning All-Big Ten honors. He finished his career with 317 tackles, leading the Illini in tackles in both 2011 and 2013.
Outstanding Special Teams Player: Miles Osei, wide receiver/return specialist
Osei converted full time from quarterback to wide receiver and special teams specialist in 2013, ranking fourth on the team with 35 receptions for 349 yards. He played on all four of the Illini special teams, ranking second on the team in punt returns, with seven for 84 yards (12.0 avg.) and third in kickoff returns with five for 93 (18.6 avg.). He also finished with 10 special teams tackles on the year.
Unsung Hero Award: Jake Feldmeyer, center, and Tim Russell, holder/tight end
2013 Team Captains (voted by players): Jonathan Brown, linebacker; Steve Hull, wide receiver; Tim Kynard, defensive end; Nathan Scheelhaase, quarterback.
Illinois Point Awards (based off season production points)
Offensive Skill (QB/WR): Miles Osei, wide receiver
Offensive Big Skill (TE/RB/FB): Josh Ferguson, running back
Offensive Line: Ted Karras, offensive guard
Defensive Skill (CB/S): V'Angelo Bentley, cornerback
Defensive Big Skill (LB/Star): Mike Svetina, star
Defensive Line: Tim Kynard, defensive end
Special Teams (return/coverage): Miles Osei, wide receiver/return specialist
Wright Commitment to Excellence Award: Steve Hull, wide receiver
The Wright Commitment to Excellence Award is presented each year to a senior who has exemplified persistence in the face of obstacles to achieve success. Hull returned to the offensive side of the ball after three years of playing safety on defense. A shoulder injury sidelined him for much of the 2011 and 2012 seasons and doctors advised that if he wanted to play in 2013, it would be best to move to wide receiver. All Hull did was lead with the team with 59 catches for 993 yards and seven touchdowns, to earn All-Big Ten Honorable Mention recognition. Over the last five games of the season, Hull led the nation in receiving yards with 712.
Bruce Capel Award: Spencer Harris, wide receiver
The Bruce Capel Award is given to the Illini player who displays the most courage, dedication and accomplishment throughout the season. Harris finished the 2013 season third on the team with 39 catches for 328 yards and a touchdown. His best game came at Penn State when he had 10 receptions for 81 yards.
Scholar-Athlete Award: Michael Martin, long snapper and Nathan Scheelhaase, quarterback
Service Above Self Award: Ryan Lankford, wide receiver and Austin Teitsma, defensive tackle
Illini Warrior Effort Award (Weight Room): Corey Lewis, offensive tackle
Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year: Kendrick Foster, running back
Defensive Scout Team Players of the Year: Sean (Taylor) White, linebacker
Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Year: Clayton Fejedelem, star