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Football Program Honors Seniors at Annual Banquet

EASTON, Pa. – Lafayette football officially closed the 2016 season on March 5, with the program’s annual banquet in Marquis Hall.

Mike Joseph ’88 served as the emcee, joining with the coaching staff and athletic administrations officials to dole out the awards.

In the positional awards category, junior Cam Smith was named the Offensive Line MVP. The left tackle has played 24 games over his three-year career, 11 of which came this 2016 season. Smith also claimed the David Nelson ’06 Award of Valor, presented annually to a player who displays an exceptional amount of heart and courage. Smith played the entire season with two torn labrums, raising his level of play as the season progressed.

The Offensive Back MVP went to H-back/tight end Dylan Wadsworth. The junior caught 43 balls for 591 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 14.1 yards per catch this season—his most competitive one yet. Wadsworth also took home the final award of the night, the coveted Hugh H. “Stoney” Jones ’27 Award, given to the team’s overall MVP. Wadsworth was selected to this year’s All-Patriot League First-Team after being named Most Improved Player his first two seasons.

Classmate Matt Mrazek garnered Receiver MVP honors for the second year in a row, reeling in 71 catches for 755 yards and eight touchdowns. Mrazek tallied his best statistics of the season against Holy Cross where he had 11 catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns, his second three-touchdown performance of the 2016 season.

Junior Beau Bosch was named the Defensive Line MVP, starting in 10 of 11 games at defensive end this season. He made 36 tackles with 8.5 for loss, including 3.5 sacks. Sophomore Jerry Powe earned the Linebacker MVP, finishing third on the team with 78 tackles and second on the team with tackles for loss. Powe started every game at the STRIKE position this season, making a career-high 10 tackles against Georgetown and ending the game with a pair of sacks.

Senior Phillip Parham earned the Defensive Back MVP honor after a season in which he finished fifth on the team with 49 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a blocked kick.

Senior Ryan Forrester was tabbed as the Special Teams MVP, serving as the starting punter all four seasons and finishing in the top 10 for single-season punting average.

Two juniors, pass catcher Nick Franzese and defensive lineman Andy Labudev earned the Most Improved Player Award. Franzese made 17 catches for 220 yards on the season and reeled in three balls for 51 yards and a touchdown at Army. Labudev made 24 tackles with three sacks, while starting all 11 games at defensive tackle.

Senior defensive lineman Duncan Sparks and junior running back Rajhan Meriwether were the recipients of the Scout Team Awards, representing a unit that plays a vital role in preparing the team for Saturdays.

Lafayette awarded three players with the Rookie of the Year Award. Utility freshman Yasir Thomas, who divided time between wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner, played in 11 games with four starts. Thomas totaled 15 catches for 132 yards with one touchdown and 14 tackles with one interception on the season. Fellow freshman Eric Mitchell saw action in all 11 games with seven starts at cornerback, while also serving as a kick returner. He finished sixth on the team in tackles. The final rookie recognition went to defensive tackle Demetrius Breedlove, who played in nine games this season while starting four of the final five and ending with 25 tackles.

The Unsung Hero Award went to junior Michael Shiffert, a reliable presence on special teams, and classmate Mike Donnelly, a versatile offensive lineman who has spent time in the front five the past two seasons.

Freshman Mike Dunn earned the McGaughey Memorial Award, given annually to the outstanding players on both teams in the Lafayette-Bucknell game. Dunn had 58 rushing yards and a touchdown to go with three catches in the annual meeting.

The Maroon and White have turned their attention to the spring preparatory season, opening practice on March 21. They will play their Maroon-White Spring game on April 22 at 1 p.m. The 2017 season commences on Sept. 2 at Monmouth.