April 7, 2013
Junior cornerback Phillip Gaines was honored by his teammates with the Owls highest football honor on Sunday, winning the George Martin Award as Rice Football's Most Valuable Player for the 2012 season. Gaines received the honor during the Owls 2012 Football Awards Banquet which was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel-Greenway Plaza in Houston.
Gaines returned to the playing field last fall after missing most of 2011 with an injury and earned consensus All-Conference USA honors. He led CUSA and was second nationally with 18 pass breakups and his total does not include the most important breakup of the year, a strip a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt by Tulane with less than a minute in the game. Gaines 18 breakups also are tied for the 10th most in NCAA history since the statistic was first tracked in 2003.
In addition to being named the team's MVP, Gaines was named one of four captains for the 2012 season, joining seniors Vance McDonald, Jared Williams and Luke Willson. He was also named the Owls top defensive back as one of three winners of the Jess Neely Defense Awards, joining defensive tackle Christian Covington and linebackers Cameron Nwosu and James Radcliffe who tied for the linebacker award.
Covington won the Lipscomb Award as the Owls top freshman as well as the Joe Davis Award as the most improved player in 2012 Spring Drills. Quarterback Taylor McHargue was named the winner of the Bill Whitmore Award as the most improved player in the spring of 2012.
Michael Kutzler, a former walkon linebacker and special teams leader, was named the winner of the 2012 James Glanville Award for his combination of academic and athletic achievement.
Jordan Taylor, who led the Owls in receiving and capped his year by setting Rice bowl receiving records while being named the Rice Most Outstanding Player in the Armed Forces Bowl, was named the winner of the George R. Brown offensive award for receivers, joining running back Charles Ross and center Nate Richards in being honored as the Owls top offensive performers.
Safety Julius White, who became standout during the season while fighting off injuries, won the "Bloody Joe" Davis Award, which honors competitive spirit and the ability to rise above pain & injury.
Graduating senior tight end Luke Willson was presented the Billy Ed Daniels Award for exhibiting the qualities most desired in a teammate.
The awards banquet wrapped up a weekend of festivities to end the Owls' 2013 Spring Drills.