Photo by Cal Athletics
Cal Football

Cal Announces 2017 Team Awards

December 10, 2017
2,782

BERKELEY – Patrick Laird and Devante Downs were named the 2017 Cal Football Bear Backers Offensive and Defensive MVPs to highlight a series of awards announced Sunday by head coach Justin Wilcox. Laird won a team-high three awards as he also earned the Berkeley Breakfast Club Award as Cal's Outstanding Player in the Big Game and the Stub Allison Award given for his work in strength and conditioning. Downs also picked up the Ken Cotton Award as the team's Most Courageous Player.

Laird and Downs were Cal's multiple-award winners while Ashtyn Davis was named the team's Most Valuable Player on special teams for the second consecutive season.

A total of 16 student-athletes were recognized with 19 honors. Below is list of award winners on each honoree.
 
Hunter Abel – Dink Artal Award (Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year)
Matt Anderson – Frank Schlessinger Coaches Award (Outstanding Athletic and Academic Success)
Luc Bequette – Bob Tessier Award (Most Improved Lineman)
Camryn Bynum – Bob Simmons Award (Most Valuable Freshman)
Jake Curhan – Andy Smith Award (Most Big "C" Time)
Ashtyn Davis – J. Scott Duncan Award (Most Valuable Special Teams Player)
Raymond Davison III – Ted Agu Award (Commitment To Community Service)
Devante Downs – Bear Backers MVP Award (Most Valuable Defensive Player), Ken Cotton Award (Most Courageous Player)
Patrick Laird – Bear Backers MVP Award (Most Valuable Offensive Player), Berkeley Breakfast Club Award (Outstanding Player in the Big Game), Stub Allison Award (Outstanding Strength and Conditioning)
James Looney – Co-Brick Muller Award (Most Valuable Lineman)
Patrick Mekari – Co-Brick Muller Award (Most Valuable Lineman)
Tony Mekari – Ken Harvey Award (Academic Commitment and Improvement)
Malik McMorris – Joe Roth Award (Courage, Attitude and Sportsmanship)
Collin Moore – Dink Artal Award (Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Year)
Chas Peterson – Dink Artal Award (Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year)
Michael Saffell – Clint Evans Award (Most Intense Freshman Competitor)

Hunter Abel, NG, 6-0, 265, RSo., SQ, Piedmont, CA (Piedmont HS)
Dink Artal Award (Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year)

• Did not play

Matt Anderson, PK, 6-0, 200, Sr., 3L, Danville, CA (San Ramon Valley HS)
Frank Schlessinger Coaches Award (Outstanding Athletic and Academic Success)

• Named the Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year awarded to the top academic senior in the league and second-team Pac-12 All-Academic
• Earned CoSIDA Academic All-District® recognition for the second straight season
• A semifinalist for the prestigious Campbell Trophy also known as the academic Heisman, one of 30 Division I FBS candidates nationally for the Senior CLASS Award and on the preseason watch list for the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award and
• Led the team with 95 points making 20-of-27 (74.1%) field goal attempts to tie for the fourth most made field goals in a single season and 35-of-36 (97.2%) extra-point tries 
• Set the school's career record for field goals made with 60, moving past Doug Brien (1991-93, 56) in his final collegiate game at UCLA when he made a season-high four while adding one extra point to equal a season high with 13 points
• Became Cal's all-time scoring leader in the third-to-last collegiate game of his career against Oregon State when he moved past Brien (288, 1991-93) after connecting on all three of field goal attempts while going 4-of-4 on extra-point tries to equal a season high with 13 points
• Made a career-long 52-yarder on his only field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter to send Cal's game against Arizona into overtime while also making all five of his extra-point tries

Luc Bequette, DE, 6-2, 290, RSo., 1L, Little Rock, AR (Catholic HS)
Bob Tessier Award (Most Improved Lineman)

• One of three defensive players and five overall to start all 12 games and posted career highs of 27 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss (-10 yards), 2.0 sacks (-10 yards), one fumble recovery and one quarterback hurry

Camryn Bynum, CB, 6-0, 180, RFr., RS, Corona, CA (Centennial HS)
Team Award: Bob Simmons Award (Most Valuable Freshman)

• One of three defensive players and five overall to start all 12 games as a redshirt freshman
• Contributed 58 tackles to rank fifth on the team and first among all players other than linebackers
• Also had a team-high eight pass breakups and 10 passes defended, while he was one of three players to share the team lead with two interceptions while adding 0.5 sacks (-5 yards) and 0.5 tackles for loss (-5 yards)

Jake Curhan, OL, 6-6, 330, RFr., RS, Larkspur, CA (Redwood HS)
Andy Smith Award (Most Big "C" Time)

• Second-team Pac-12 All-Academic
• One of five players and two offensive players to start all 12 games with each of his starts at right tackle
• Helped protect quarterback Ross Bowers, who became the seventh quarterback in Cal history to throw for over 3,000 yards at the end of the regular season ranked among Pac-12 and national leaders in completions per game (22.67 cpg, 3rd Pac-12, 14th NCAA), passing yards (3039, 4th Pac-12, 23rd NCAA), passing yards per game (253.3 ypg, 4th Pac-12, 30th NCAA) and passing TDs (18, 4th Pac-12, 40th NCAA)
• Helped open holes for running back Patrick Laird, who became the first Cal player to rush for over 1,000 yards since 2014 and at the end of the regular season ranked seventh in the Pac-12 and among national leaders in rushing yards per game (102.5 ypg, 29th NCAA), rushing yards per carry (5.9, 32nd NCAA) and total rushing yards (1127, 34th NCAA)

Ashtyn Davis, S, 6-1, 195, RSo., 1L, Santa Cruz, CA (Santa Cruz HS)
J. Scott Duncan Award (Most Valuable Special Teams Player)

• Earned J. Scott Duncan Award for second straight season
• Played in all 12 games including starts at safety at safety in each of the final six contests and was also the team's primary kick returner
• Leads the nation in kick returns (39) at the end of the regular season while ranking fourth in kick return yards (826) and combined kick return yards (826) with both second in the Pac-12
• Also had three tackles and one interception that he returned 31 yards

Raymond Davison, OLB, 6-2, 235, RSr., 3L, Los Angeles, CA (Crespi Carmelite HS)
Ted Agu Award (Commitment To Community Service)

• On the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy and Cal's nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®, both national community service-based awards
• Played in all 12 games with nine starts including each of the final six contests and led the team with a career-high 4.5 sacks (career-high -42) while ranking third on the club with 62 tackles and a career-high 6.0 tackles for loss (-48 yards)
• Added a team-high-tying and career-high two forced fumbles, a career-high-tying one interception, four pass breakups and two quarterback hurries

Devante Downs, ILB, 6-3, 245, Sr., 3L, Mountlake Terrace, WA (Mountlake Terrace HS)
Bear Backers MVP Award (Most Valuable Defensive Player), Ken Cotton Award (Most Courageous Player)

• Earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors
• Was making a strong case for National and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors through the first half of his 2017 senior campaign before suffering an injury against Washington State in the seventh contest of the season that ended his collegiate career
• Was on watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy both honoring the nation's top defensive player as well as The Butkus Award given annually to the nation's best linebacker. 
• Named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week twice in his first three games after victories over North Carolina and Ole Miss to give the Golden Bears their first two-time winner of the award since Mike Mohamed in 2010
• Despite missing five-plus games finished his senior campaign second on the team with 65 tackles while adding a career-high 5.5 tackles for loss (career-high -29 yards), career-high-tying 3.0 sacks (career-high-tying -14 yards), a career-high-tying and team-high-tying two interceptions that he returned for a career-high 39 yards, a career-high and team-high four quarterback hurries, a career-high and team-high-tying two fumble recoveries that he returned for a career-high four yards and a career-high and team-high-tying two forced fumbles.
• Finished the regular season ranked tied for 23th nationally with two fumble recoveries

Patrick Laird, RB, 6-0, 200, Jr., 1L, Arroyo Grande, CA (Mission Prep HS)
Bear Backers MVP Award (Most Valuable Offensive Player), Berkeley Breakfast Club Award (Outstanding Player in the Big Game), Stub Allison Award (Outstanding Strength and Conditioning)

• Earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors
• One of 10 national semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy awarded annually to the nation's most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on
• A CoSIDA Academic All-District® selection who is also on the ballot for Academic All-America honors
• Also named first-team Pac-12 All-Academic
• Played in 11 games with eight starts and set all of his offensive career highs while leading Cal with 191 carries for 1127 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on the ground with averages of 102.5 rushing yards per game and 5.9 yards per rush that rank sixth and seventh among Pac-12 leaders while his yards per game were 28th nationally at the end of the regular season
• Became the 16th Cal player to rush for 1,000 yards or more and the first since Daniel Lasco in 2014 while recording the 19th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history with Russell White (3) and Marshawn Lynch (2) the only Cal player to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a season on multiple occasions
• Also had more receptions than any Cal running back since 1988 with career bests of 45 receptions, 322 yards receiving and one touchdown catch as well as a career-best and team-high 1449 all-purpose yards
• Had a team-high-tying 13 explosive plays of 20 or more yards from the line of scrimmage to tie for the team lead including a team-high three plays over 50 yards
• Had five 100-yard rushing games including four in his last five contests when he rushed for 727 yards and four scores over during the stretch including 545 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in his final three contests

James Looney, DE, 6-3, 280, Sr., 2L, Lake Worth, FL (Wake Forest/Lake Worth HS)
Co-Brick Muller Award (Most Valuable Lineman)

• Earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors
• Started all 12 games for the second consecutive season and contributed 41 tackles as well as a career-high 9.5 tackles for loss (career-high -42 yards), a career-high-tying 3.5 sacks (career-high-tying -22 yards), a career high three quarterback hurries, a career-high-tying one forced fumble and a career-high two fumble recoveries
• One of only five players on the team and three on defense to start all 12 contests
• Had at least 1.0 tackle for loss in six of his final seven games

Patrick Mekari, OL, 6-4, 310, Jr., 1L, Westlake Village, CA (Westlake HS)
Co-Brick Muller Award (Most Valuable Lineman)

• Earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors after playing in and starting 10 games at left tackle to set career highs for both but did not record any statistics other than participation
• Started the first seven and last three contests while missing two games in between due to an injury
• Helped protect quarterback Ross Bowers, who became the seventh quarterback in Cal history to throw for over 3,000 yards at the end of the regular season ranked among Pac-12 and national leaders in completions per game (22.67 cpg, 3rd Pac-12, 14th NCAA), passing yards (3039, 4th Pac-12, 23rd NCAA), passing yards per game (253.3 ypg, 4th Pac-12, 30th NCAA) and passing TDs (18, 4th Pac-12, 40th NCAA)
• Helped open holes for running back Patrick Laird, who became the first Cal player to rush for over 1,000 yards since 2014 and at the end of the regular season ranked seventh in the Pac-12 and among national leaders in rushing yards per game (102.5 ypg, 29th NCAA), rushing yards per carry (5.9, 32nd NCAA) and total rushing yards (1127, 34th NCAA)

Tony Mekari, NG, 6-1, 290, Sr., 3L, Westlake Village, CA (Westlake HS)
Ken Harvey Award (Academic Commitment and Improvement)

• Second-team Pac-12 All-Academic
• Played in all 12 games with nine starts and contributed 20 tackles as well as 2.0 tackles for loss (-4 yards), one quarterback hurry and his lone career fumble recovery

Malik McMorris, FB/TE, 5-11, 285, Jr., 2L, Santa Ana, CA (Mater Dei HS)
Joe Roth Award (Courage, Attitude and Sportsmanship)

• On the final ballot for the SB Nation Piesman Trophy that began in 2015 and for the past three seasons has honored the current or former college football lineman who has authored the most impressive play as a runner, receiver or passer as decided upon by a panel of voters with his crucial 18-yard reception on fourth down and one to set up the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter of the 2017 season-opener at North Carolina earning him the spot on the final ballot
• Contributed career highs of five receptions for 39 yards as well as a career-high-tying one touchdown catch along with career highs of six rushes and 13 yards rushing while playing in all 12 games with 10 starts

Collin Moore, TE, 6-4, 230, Fr., HS, Novato, CA (San Marin HS)
Dink Artal Award (Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Year)

• Did not play

Chas Peterson, WR, 5-11, 180, RSr., RS, Issaquah, WA (Cal Lutheran/Issaquah HS)
Dink Artal Award (Offensive Teams Scout Team Player of the Year)

• Did not play

Michael Saffell, OL, 6-2, 290, Fr., HS, Huntington Beach, CA (Cal Lutheran/Edison HS)
Clint Evans Award (Most Intense Freshman Competitor)

• Made his Cal debut by playing in seven games with two starts at right guard as one of only three true freshmen along with Jeremiah Hawkins and Elijah Hicks to see action but did not record any stats other than participation
• Helped protect quarterback Ross Bowers, who became the seventh quarterback in Cal history to throw for over 3,000 yards at the end of the regular season ranked among Pac-12 and national leaders in completions per game (22.67 cpg, 3rd Pac-12, 14th NCAA), passing yards (3039, 4th Pac-12, 23rd NCAA), passing yards per game (253.3 ypg, 4th Pac-12, 30th NCAA) and passing TDs (18, 4th Pac-12, 40th NCAA)
• Helped open holes for running back Patrick Laird, who became the first Cal player to rush for over 1,000 yards since 2014 and at the end of the regular season ranked seventh in the Pac-12 and among national leaders in rushing yards per game (102.5 ypg, 29th NCAA), rushing yards per carry (5.9, 32nd NCAA) and total rushing yards (1127, 34th NCAA)

Discussion from...

Cal Announces 2017 Team Awards

chazzed
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Congratulations to the award winners and my gratitude to the entire team for the hard-fought, engaging season.
Big C
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Wow, Patrick Laird's list of accomplishments is really impressive. A walk-on. Just an amazing story!

Congrats to all the award winners!
Bear19
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Big C said:

Wow, Patrick Laird's list of accomplishments is really impressive. A walk-on. Just an amazing story!

Congrats to all the award winners!
Patrick Laird exemplifies that "stars" can be very overrated, especially if you have the right kind of student athlete.
Page 1 of 1
×
Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.