April 13, 2014
Charles Ross, who blasted his way for the most yards rushing by a Rice player in 21 years, was named the winner of the 2013 George Martin Award as the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 Conference USA champion Owls during the team's annual awards banquet which was held on Sunday afternoon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel-Greenway Plaza in Houston.
An overflow crowd honored Rice's first outright conference champions since 1957 and we led by junior defensive back Malcolm Hill in saluting Joyce Rannals, whose battle with breast cancer inspired the team to don pink "Team Joyce" wrist bands as part of a successful effort to raise funds to help with her expenses.
Ross rushed for 1,280 yards, which ranks fourth in school history, trailing on the three standout seasons of Doak Walker Award winner Trevor Cobb, while scoring 15 touchdowns on the ground, one shy of Benji Wood's 15 in 1997. He finished his career ranked second in school history with 2,689 yards on the ground. He was unable to attend the ceremony due to a workout with an NFL team.
Seniors Cody Bauer, Michael Kutzler and Turner Petersen were voted to join fellow seniors Taylor McHargue and Phillip Gaines as captains for the C-USA titlists. McHargue and Gaines had been named prior to the start of the season.
Explosive running back Jowan Davis received the Joe F. Lipscomb Award as the Owls' top freshman after finishing second to Ross with 476 yards on the ground last year.
Kutlzer, the former walk-on who stepped into a starting role at linebacker as a senior and responded by earning second-team, all-conference honors picked up his second consecutive James Glanville Award for his combination of academic and athletic achievement.
Ross joined with Nate Richards and Jordan Taylor in receiving the George R. Brown Offensive Awards, while Gaines and Kutzler joined sophomore Christian Covington in receiving the Jess Neely Defensive Awards.
Bauer, who overcame numerous injuries to become a standout defensive end on back-to-back bowl teams, won the "Bloody Joe" Davis Award, which honors competitive spirit and the ability to rise above pain & injury.
Petersen was presented the Billy Ed Daniels Award for exhibiting the qualities most desired in a teammate.
Running back Luke Turner and defensive tackle Stuart Mouchantaf were presented the Bill Whitmore (offense) and Joe Davis (defense) Awards which go to the most improved players on each side of the ball during the previous year's spring practice.
The annual awards banquet closed out a weekend of activities that included the annual Blue-Gray Spring game and the Rice Football Golf Tournament and officially draws the spring activity to a close. The Owls will report to camp on August 3 to begin drills for the 2014 season opener on August 30 at Notre Dame.