Nine awards were handed out at the Houston Cougars annual postseason football banquet Friday night at the Bayou City Event Center in Houston.
Andre Ware Offensive MVP: junior running back Charles Sims
Sims missed three games and the second half three other games but still finished with 851 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns along with 37 receptions for 373 yards and three scores.
Wilson Whitley Defensive MVP: senior linebacker Phillip Steward
This team captain not only led the team with 128 tackles but he also led Conference USA with 11 sacks and five forced fumbles.
Special Teams Co-MVP: junior punter Richie Leone and senior kicker Matt Hogan Leone set the Houston single-season punting average record. Hogan became just the 10th kicker in NCAA history to eclipse 400 points in a career.
Offensive Scout Team MVP: true freshmen running back Justin Hicks
Defensive Scout Team MVP: true freshman defensive back Jarrett Irving
Committed Cougar Award: junior wide receiver Shane Ros
This walk-on went from a valuable player on special teams to working his way into Houston’s staring lineup as a valuable receiver.
Senior long snapper Brandon Hartson received the President’s Academic Excellence Award from Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Development Maria Peden. Hartson is a kinesiology-exercise science major with a double minor in the classroom. He had 126 long snaps this season without a miscue.
Sophomore center Bryce Redman received the Tom Wilson Weight Room Off-Season MVP award from UH’s Co-Director of Sports Performance Brian Odom.
The last award of the night was perhaps the most emotional. Senior cornerback D.J. Hayden and his mother, Tori, presented long-time Houston trainer Mike “Doc” O’Shea with the Bill Yeoman Special Contribution Award for his efforts and response to Hayden’s life-threatening injury suffered at practice on Nov. 6.