NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Senior defensive end Raheem Orr (Elizabeth, NJ) was named Most Valuable Player of the 2003 Rutgers football team. Orr was the recipient of the Homer Hazel Trophy as the Scarlet Knights MVP at the 65th annual Rutgers Football Awards Dinner, held this evening at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The awards banquet is sponsored by the Rutgers Football Touchdown Club in conjunction with Rutgers’ Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Regarded as a fierce pass rusher and a punishing tackler, Orr led all BIG
EAST Conference defensive linemen with 82 tackles, including a league best
19.5 tackles for loss. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Orr was also second in the Conference
with 8.5 sacks. Orr, who served as co-captain and led Rutgers to a 5-7 record,
its highest win total since 1998, was also recipient of the Touchdown Club
Award, presented annually to the individual “whose performance, leadership
and dedication on and off the field has had the greatest impact on Rutgers
Junior safety JARVIS JOHNSON (Miami, FL) was named Most Valuable Player – Defense. Johnson led the Scarlet Knights with 97 tackles, including a team best 51 solo stops. The 5-11, 195-pound Johnson also tied for the team lead with two interceptions, one of which he returned 47 yards for a score vs. Virginia Tech. Johnson also contributed a team-high nine pass breakups, and had four tackles for loss.
Sophomore quarterback RYAN HART (Coral Springs, FL) and red-shirt freshman fullback BRIAN LEONARD (Gouverneur, NY) shared Most Valuable Player – Offense honors. In his first full season as the starter at quarterback, Hart re-wrote the Scarlet Knights’ single season record book for quarterbacks, with 398 passes, 234 asttempts and 2,714 yards. The 6-2, 195-pound Hart became the first Rutgers quarterback ever to throw for over 300 yards in consecutive games when he passed for 384 yards vs. Pittsburgh, and 316 yards the following week at Temple. In his first season of competition, the 6-2, 230-pound Leonard led the Scarlet Knights in scoring (86 points), rushing (880 yards) and receiving (53 catches). His 1,368 all-purpose yards in 2003 was the sixth best single season total in Rutgers history.
Senior linebacker BRIAN HOHMANN (Bergenfield, NJ) was named MVP – Special Teams. The 6-3, 242-pound Hohmann was a key member of the special teams unit throughout the season, and also saw action at linebacker. Hohmann had 32 tackles in 12 games, and also forced two fumbles. The MVP – Special Teams Awards is donated by Ron Kish, in memory of his father, Jess.
Senior center MARTY PYSZCZYMUKA (Sparta, NJ) was the recipient of the David Bender Trophy, awarded annually to the top lineman on the team. The 6-2, 280-pound Pyszczymuka, who also served as a co-captain of the 2003 Scarlet Knights, was the anchor of a vastly improved offensive line that cut the number of sacks it allowed by more than half from the previous season (23 in 2003 after 51 in 2002). The Rutgers offense also more than doubled its production on the ground from a year ago (620 yards in 2002, 1666 in 2003) and featured a record setting aerial attack that included three receivers with over 50 catches.
Senior cornerback NATE JONES (Scotch Plains, NJ) was the recipient of the Scholar Athlete Award, donated by Jo Rademacher and presented to the letterwinner who has the highest academic average and has demonstrated outstanding football ability. A starting cornerback for the Scarlet Knights, Jones who was third on the team with 73 tackles and tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He also led the squad in kickoff returns, averaging 25.7 yards per return. The 5-10, 180-pound Jones has enjoyed an outstanding career in the classroom. Selected to the CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America team, Jones will be recognized on Dec. 9 as a member of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame 2003 Scholar-Athlete Class, one of just eight who played on the Division I-A level.
Sharing this year’s Most Improved Player award, donated by the Rutgers Alumni Association, were red-shirt junior defensive tackle GARY GIBSON (Jamesville, NY) and red-shirt sophomore wide receiver TRES MOSES (Delray Beach, FL). A stalwart on the defensive line, the 6-4, 290-pound Gibson was sixth on the team with 44 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Gibson also had seven quarterback hurries and recovered one fumble. Moses caught 52 passes for 536 yards (10.3 yards per reception) and five TDs. The 5-10, 190-pound Moses also returned 22 punts for 250 yards (11.4 yards per return) and one TD. His 66-yard punt return in Rutgers opening season 24-10 win over Army was the first TD scored by the Scarlet Knights in the 2003 season.
The Fan-ees Award, presented by one of the oldest support groups in the nation to the most improved senior, was given to offensive lineman MIKE WILLIAMSON (Barnegat, NJ). The 6-5, 289-pound Williamson started 11 of 12 games at left tackle for the Scarlet Knights and was a major contributor in the much improved offensive line.
Junior defensive end RYAN NEILL (Wayne Hills, NJ) was presented the Kevin
and Helen Collins Academic Improvement Award, given to the student-athlete
on the football team who has shown the greatest academic improvement. Neill
sat out the 2003 while rehabilitating a knee injury sustained in the 2002 season.
2003 AWARDS CAPSULE
Homer Hazel Trophy -- Team MVP: DE Raheem Orr
Most Valuable Player – Offense: QB Ryan Hart
FB Brian Leonard
Most Valuable Player – Defense: S Jarvis Johnson
Most Valuable Player – Special Teams: LB Brian Hohmann
Touchdown Club Trophy: DE Raheem Orr
David Bender Trophy – Top Lineman: C Marty Pyszczymuka
Most Improved Player: DL Gary Gibson
WR Tres Moses
Fan-ees Award: OL Mike Williamson
Collins Academic Improvement Award: DE Ryan Neill
Scholar-Athlete Award: CB Nate Jones
2003 Rutgers Football Letterwinners (letters won)
Jerry Andre (3), Dondre Asberry (2), Jereme Baker (1), Val Barnaby (2), William Beckford (1), Brian Bender (4), Cedric Brown (3), Terry Bynes (2), Jeremy Campbell (3), Mike Cortese (2), Brad Cunningham (2), Marcus Daniels (1), Rob Dinsmore (3), Brian Duffy (3), Bryan Durango (1), Markis Facyson, (2) Willie Foster (1), Quintero Frierson (1), Gary Gibson (3), Will Gilkison (2), John Glass Jr. (1), Jason Grant (3), Ron Green, (1), Eddie Grimes (3), Justise Hairston (1), David Harley (1), Clark Harris, (1), Ryan Hart (2), Brandon Haw (4), Maurice Hines (1), Brian Hohmann (4), Berkeley Hutchinson (1), Jarvis Johnson (3), Sam Johnson (1), Nate Jones (4), Ed Jordan (3), Brian Leonard (1), Chris Loomis (3), Piana Lukabu (2), Sameeh McDonald (2), Rich McManis (4), Ishmael Medley (2), Ramel Meekins (1), Tres Moses (2), Jason Nugent (2), Raheem Orr (3), Alfred Peterson (3), Ray Pilch (3), Clarence Pittman (2), Joe Porter (1), Marty Pyszczymuka (4), Joe Radigan (1), Luis Rivas (2), Derrick Roberson (1), Nate Robinson (1), Ryan Sands (3), Devraun Thompson (1), Ted Trump (3), Shawn Tucker (2), Will Vogt (1), Mike Williamson (3), Bryan Wilson (2), Brandon Wood (1).