by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) -
Rice junior linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee, who led Conference USA in tackles in his first year as a starter, was named the winner of the 93rd George Martin Award as Most Valuable Player during the Rice Football team’s annual awards banquet which was held on Sunday afternoon.
Despite missing one game with an injury, Ellerbee led C-USA and Rice with 10.7 tackles per game which ranked sixth nationally. His average was the highest by an Owl since Larry Izzo averaged 11 tackles per game in 1995 (122 in 11 games). His 118 total tackles were second in conference and matched Brian Raines’ 2006 total for the 10th most in school history. His 70 solo tackles are tied for 14th in the nation.
He finished his junior season with a 14-tackle effort at Stanford, his seventh double-digit tackle game in 2016 and the most double-digit tackle games since Izzo recorded seven in 1995. He combined with Alex Lyons for 209 tackles, the most for a duo at Rice since Izzo (122) and Jay Lamy (97) combined f or 219 in 1995.
Senior running back Darik Dillard repeated as the winner of the James Glanville Award for his combination of academic and athletic achievement as the O.J. Brigance Award, which is given annually to the Rice University football player who best represents and demonstrates the combined qualities of teamwork, good character, work ethic, and courageous leadership, which are the hallmark of the athletic and professional career of former Owl and NFL player O. J. Brigance.
Wide receiver Kylen Granson, who opened the 2016 season ticketed for a redshirt year but finished second on the team with 33 receptions and 381 yards while playing in eight games after joining the playing rotation was presented with the Joe F. Lipscomb Award as the team’s most outstanding freshman.
Junior linebacker DJ Green was presented with the "Bloody Joe" Davis Award which goes to the player or players who most display the competitive spirit of the legendary Rice assistant coach, rising above pain and injury to be the best player possible.
Sophomore wide receiver Cameron Johnson was presented with the Billy Ed Daniels Award, given to the player who exhibits the qualities most desired in a teammate: hustle, devotion and attitude. The current group of Owls will open their Spring Football drills on March 6.