Valparaiso head football coach Dave Cecchini announced the program's year-end awards for the 2014 season at the team banquet Sunday evening. Eight different Crusaders were recognized for their accomplishments on and off the field.
Senior Tanner Kuramata (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Claremont) was elected as the Offensive Most Valuable Player for the second straight season. Kuramata registered 67 receptions for 864 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2014. His three kick returns for 49 yards and seven carries for 76 yaards boosted his all-purpose yard total to a team-high 989. Kuramata caught a career-most 14 passes for 148 yards versus Saint Joseph's on September 6th. The senior concluded his career with the fifth-most receiving yards of any Crusader (2,315).
Junior John Guilford (Spencer, Ohio/Black River) was named Defensive MVP following a campaign that saw him accumulate team watermarks in both tackles for a loss (13.0) and sacks (5.5). He racked up at least ten tackles on three different occasions in 2014. His three-sack, seven-tackle performance versus Butler on November 8th helped bring the Hoosier Helmet back to Valparaiso. Guilford is also a three-time PFL Academic Honor Roll nominee.
Freshman phenom Jarrett Morgan (Cooper City, Fla./Cooper City) was awarded the Special Teams MVP. Morgan, one of the most electric players in recent memory, made his mark both blocking kicks and returning them. In a span of three games, the rookie stuffed a 44-yard field goal attempt versus Marist, a pair of punts versus Missouri Baptist (one of which he scooped up and returned for a touchdown), and a 30-yard field goal attempt versus Drake. He took over kickoff return duties the following week at Morehead State where he burst onto the scene to return four KOs for 145 yards, including a 91-yard touchdown return. Thanks to a 16-yard rush and two receptions for 10 yards, Morgan enjoyed a season-high 175 all-purpose yards that afternoon. In total, he returned 12 kickoffs for 491 yards, yielding an average of 34.9 yards. That figure was the highest in the nation in 2014.
Cecchini also recognized the scout team for its contributions. Freshman offensive lineman Justin Lipe (Seminole, Fla./Seminole) was the scout team's Offensive Player of the Year, freshman Brandon Riley (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park) was chosen as Defensive Player of the Year, and Vincent McPherson (Milledgeville, Ga./John Milledge Academy) garnered Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
The annual Richard P. Koenig Award, which exemplifies moral character, academic, and athletic achievement went to center Nate Koeneman (Dallas, Tex./Lutheran), who also served as team captain.
Sophomore defensive back J.J. Nunes (Baltimore, Md./Baltimore Lutheran) was the recipient of the Joe Sever Trophy, which recognizes not only skill, but the courage, character, attitude, and achievement above and beyond the call of duty. Nunes compiled 85 tackles on the season, including a game-high 15 at Morehead State on October 25th. Nunes earned the scout team's Special Teams Player of the Year in 2013.