Nguyen named Grizzly MVP

MISSOULA — Running back and returner Peter Nguyen was named The University of Montana’s 2012 Steve Carlson Award winner, given annually to the team’s Most Valuable Player.

Montana’s football team awards were presented by Griz head football coach Mick Delaney today (Sunday, Nov. 18) at the squad’s annual banquet at the Doubletree Hotel.

Nguyen, a 5-foot-8, 182-pound senior from Seattle, Wash., led the Grizzlies in rushing with 926 yards this season – the 14th gained in one season at Montana.  Nguyen, UM’s offensive team captain this year, is ranked 51st in the FCS in rushing (84.18 ypg) and 50th in all-purpose yards (118.73 ypg).  He finished his career ranked sixth in career rush yards with 1,985 and all-purpose yards with 4,338.

Wide receiver Sam Gratton, a 6-0, 198-pound senior from Billings and Greg Hardy, a 6-5, 245-pound senior tight end from Fairview, were voted the co-recipients of the Terry Dillon Award (outstanding back or receiver).

Gratton and Hardy tied this season for the most receptions with 29.  Gratton had 397 receiving yards for 4 touchdowns, while Hardy had 273 yards and a score. Gratton had 121 career catches for  1,423 yards, and 13 touchdowns.  Career-wise Hardy had 68 catches for 648 yards.  Both players were three-year starters.

Jake Hendrickson and Danny Kistler Jr. were recognized as Montana’s outstanding offensive linemen, and the co-recipients of the Paul Weskamp Award.  A 6-3 ½, 300-pound senior from Gilbert, Ariz., Hendrickson started all 11 games at left guard this season. A two-year starter, Kistler, a 6-8, 325-pound junior from Seattle, Wash., started 11 contests at right tackle this season after starting 14 games at left guard in 2011.

Local product Zack Wagenmann, a 6-3 ½, 240-pound defensive end from Missoula, was tabbed UM’s outstanding defensive lineman and was presented the Larry Miller Award.  Wagenmann is currently ranked second in the Big Sky in sacks with 11.5, and is fifth in the FCS, averaging 1.05 sacks a game.  He was second on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss, and UM’s sixth leading tackler (tie) with 50 stops.

Junior linebacker Brock Coyle was selected as the team’s hardest hitter, receiving the Golden Helmet Award.   A 6-2, 240-pounder from Bozeman, Mont., Coyle led the Grizzlies with 107 tackles and had a career-high 19 stops against Montana State in UM’s final game of the season.  He is ranked 289th (tie) in the nation averaging 9.73 tackles a game.

Redshirt freshman Nate Harris, a 5-10, 180-pound cornerback from Chino, Calif.,  was chosen as the Grizzlies’ “Special Teams Player of the Year.” Harris, who played in 11 games and started in two this season, was UM’s 14th leading tackler with 26 stops.

The Tony Barbour Award, which goes to the player who best exemplifies the values and work ethic of Grizzly football, was given to linebacker Jordan Tripp.  A 6-3 ½, 244-pound junior from Missoula, Tripp was Montana’s second leading tackler with 95 stops, and had a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss.  He was Montana’s team captain on defense.

Senior defensive end Josh Harris was voted the recipient of the Pat Norwood Award (“Most Inspirational Player”).  The Kalispell native has battled injuries the past few seasons, but started 10 of 11 games this year and was the Grizzlies’ ninth leading tackler with 39 stops, and third in tackles for loss with 7.5.

The “Scout Team Player of the Year” on offense was redshirt freshman quarterback Brady Gustafson, a 6-7, 215-pounder from Billings (West HS), Mont.

The “Scout Team Player of the Year” on defense was redshirt freshman cornerback J.R. Nelson, from Hacienda Heights (Glen A. Wilson HS), Calif.

— UM Sports Information