DURHAM, N.H.--Six members of the 2003 University of New Hampshire football team were honored today for their efforts on and off the football field at the squad's annual football awards banquet held on the UNH campus Saturday afternoon.
Senior linebacker Chris Robinson (Medford, N.Y.) was named the team MVP for 2003. He came back from missing last season due to injury to have the best campaign of his career for the Wildcats. A 12-game starter, he was the team's top tackler (68-68-136) and was ranked nationally for most of the season in that category. His mark of 136 tackles in a season was the second-best total ever by a UNH football player. A first-team All-New England selection and a second-team All-Atlantic 10 pick, Robinson also had seven tackles for a loss, an interception, seven pass breakups and three fumble recoveries.
Senior tri-captain and offensive lineman Jon Hart (Sayville, N.Y.) was the only player to receive two awards, as he was the recipient of the Bill Bowes Coaches Award and the Eugene K. Auerbach Student-Athlete Award. Hart, who was a third-team All-Atlantic 10 selection at offensive tackle, may be the only player in I-AA football to have been recruited as a quarterback, moved to tight end and then finally to offensive tackle. In the process, he worked very hard in the weight room to get bigger and stronger. He was one of the main reasons that the line provided some of the best pass protection in the conference, and he helped the Wildcat offense average 414.0 yards per game. Hart was also an outstanding student at UNH as evidenced by the fact that he was honored by the Atlantic 10 for his academic excellence on the All-Academic squad. Hart, who is a graduate student majoring in secondary education, checks in with a grade point average of 3.57 and hopes to become an English teacher.
Senior wide receiver Jermaine Stevens (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) was the recipient of the Jack French Unsung Hero Award. Stevens was the team's fifth-leading receiver in 2003, making 24 catches for 347 yards, while also recording one touchdown. Stevens had the highest average per catch on the squad with a mark of 14.5 yards per reception.
The recipient of the Jock McKenzie and Bob Demers 12th Player Award was senior safety and tri-captain Brandon Taylor (Eatontown, N.J.). Taylor, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, played in only five games, but continued to serve an important role in helping his younger teammates improve as the season progressed. UNH finished strong, winning three of its last four games, including a key 47-27 win over top 25 rival Maine. Taylor completed the season with 18 total tackles and one tackle for a loss.
Senior linebacker and tri-captain George Yasso (Bethlehem, Pa.) was named the recipient of the Buck Buchanan Distinguished Service Award for his efforts on and off the field. Yasso completed the season as the squad's fourth-leading tackler (33-30-63) and also had seven tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks one interception, two pass deflections, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Senior defensive lineman Jeremy Hincman (Peabody, Mass.) received the Bo Dickson Spirit Award as one of the team's hardest-working men in the trenches. In addition Hincman played through some painful nagging injuries, especially early in the season. Hincman started in all 12 games for the 'Cats and was the squad's top tackler on the defensive line with (19-34-53). He also had four tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Sixth-year head coach Sean McDonnell also announced some important dates that fans may want to be aware. The team will be the host of the annual Andy Mooradian Cat Club Golf Tournament on May 7. And, on May 8 the football team will play in its annual Spring Blue/White Scrimmage.