Saturday night was the eighth football Gala for Georgia coach Mark Richt, who said the annual season-ending shindig to honor the Bulldog players was another rousing success.
"It was awesome," Richt said following the three-hour awards banquet and auction at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. "It was just a great gathering of fans of the Georgia football program, all of who came out to honor and pay tribute to the young men who are a part of this team."
Richt and the rest of the Bulldog assistants used the opportunity to hand out their own annual postseason awards.
Quarterback Matthew Staffordearned the Vince Dooley Award signifying the team's Most Valuable Player, with sophomore tailbackKnowshon Moreno earning the Most Valuable Offensive Player and sophomore linebackerRennie Curran the team's Most Valuable Defensive Player.
Senior safety Andrew Williams was named the Most Valuable Special Teams Player while senior fullback Brannan Southerland and Williams were named the winners of the David Jacobs Award as the players who by example portray courage, spirit, character, and determination.
Senior receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was named the team's permanent overall captain while Southerland was named the offensive captain, senior defensive tackle Corvey Irvin of Augusta the defensive captain, and Williams the special teams captain.
Other award winners include:
The Leon Farmer Award for dedication to the strength and conditioning program was presented to Massaquoi and Southerland. Outstanding Scout Team Awards went to Christian Robinson (offense), Josh Bagby (defense) and Kevin Lanier (special teams).
Most Improved Player Awards were presented to fullback Shaun Chapas and receiver Mike Moore, linebacker Darryl Gamble (defense) and cornerback Chad Gloer (special teams).
Newcomer of the Year Award winners included A.J. Green (offense), defensive tackleDeAngelo Tyson and cornerback Brandon Boykin (defense), along with Zach Renner and Logan Gray (special teams).
Quarterback Jonathan deLaureal of was named recipient of the Senior Scholar Award for career academic achievement (3.58 in Finance).
All-SEC Academic Awards were given to fullback Benjamin Boyd, punter Drew Butler, Chapas, deLaureal, split end Kris Durham, snapper Bo Fowler, receiver Demiko Goodman, defensive tackle Andrew Gully, defensive end Wes Jacobs, safety Andrew Johnson, punter Brian Mimbs, tackle Casey Nickels, Southerland, Stafford, tackle Trinton Sturdivant , tight end Aron White and linebacker Charles White.
Following the dinner, Rick emceed an auction of Georgia-related items, the proceeds of which went toward the Bulldog football programs.
Among the items included a dinner for 10 with coaches for $2,600, a Gator Hater Package to the game in Jacksonville for $3000 and a Tennessee-Tunica travel package for $4,950.
At the conclusion, Richt paid tribute to the team's seniors, who were honored with a video montage of each individual player.
"Melancholy's a good word," said Richt, when talking about his seniors. "That's kind of how I feel when I look at those young men. Four, some maybe five years ago, some of them may have been sitting out there as a recruits and tonight they were standing there behind me as seniors. I'm just really proud of them."
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