SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Slotback Deonte Williams, quarterback Andre Broadous and middle linebacker Kennith Jackson, all seniors, were the top award winners at the team banquet honoring the 2012 Cal Poly football team Sunday at The Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach.
Williams (pictured at right), who played in Friday's Casino del Sol College All-Star Game in Tucson, Arizona, was named the team's most valuable player while Broadous earned offensive most valuable player honors. Jackson was presented the team's defensive most valuable player award.
Williams, the 11th Mustang in the last 11 years selected to play in a postseason all-star game, was named second-team All-American by three organizations after rushing for 1,506 yards, 72 yards short of the school record, and 12 touchdowns last fall.
The 2008 Pleasant Grove High School (Elk Grove, Calif.) graduate led Cal Poly to a 9-3 record and, in its first season in the Big Sky, a share of the conference championship with Montana State and Eastern Washington. The Mustangs earned their third FCS playoff berth in the last eight years, falling to Sam Houston State in the second round Dec. 1.
Williams surpassed the 100-yard mark in rushing 10 times in 12 games this season, including a season-high 188 against UC Davis. His streak of six 100-yard games from games six through 11 broke Antonio Warren's streak of five games (1995-96).
Williams' ten 100-yard games this season is two more than the old school record set by James Noble in 2005. He is the 15th Mustang to crack the 1,000-yard mark for a season and averaged 6.5 yards per carry. Williams also caught eight passes for 52 yards and a score.
"We wanted to get him to run downhill rather than east or west in our offensive scheme this year," said fourth-year Mustang head coach Tim Walsh. "Players on defense didn't want to tackle him because he was so physical.
"He had a great senior year," Walsh added. "He liked his 1,506 yards, but he likes winning and that's what makes him a great team player."
Broadous (left), the league leader in passing efficiency, completed 84 of 145 passes for 1,375 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 500 yards and nine scores this season en route to All-Big Sky honorable mention praise. His career totals include 3,120 yards and 31 touchdowns passing with just five interceptions thrown; 1,459 yards and 30 touchdowns rushing.
"Andre's strength is that he's a great competitor," Walsh said. "He led us to two straight conference championships and he's a great young man.
"Our running backs coach, Aristotle Thompson, who coached Andre at Grant High School in Portland, said of Andre when we were recruiting him that 'when the lights go on, he's a completely different guy. Watch out.' He has that inner drive to be great. He's special and will continue to be special."
Another example of Broadous' competitive nature, Walsh noted, arose in the Big Sky Conference championship game at Northern Arizona when he pitched the ball with his right hand instead of his customary left hand due to a bulging disc in his neck. Cal Poly won the game 42-34 as Broadous rushed for 19 yards and completed six of nine passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
Jackson finished No. 5 on Cal Poly's career tackles chart with 302, including 97 this season, second on the squad. Jackson was Cal Poly's second-leading tackler as a freshman, sophomore and junior as well, earning 80 tackles in 2011, 67 in 2010 and 58 in 2009.
Jackson also had six career interceptions, intercepting two against Idaho State on Nov. 10, and 14 pass breakups. He was a first-team All-Great West Conference selection as a junior, named to the second team as a sophomore and was an honorable mention as a freshman.
Jackson notched a career-high 12 tackles against UC Davis in September and twice earned 10 tackles in a game this season.
"It was a pleasure to watch him play football," said Walsh, noting Jackson (right) was recruited as a halfback or fullback and made the transition to linebacker at Cal Poly. "He's well put together, physical and has a lot more talent in other areas. He was a real team leader."
Williams and Jackson earned first-team All-Big Sky honors.
Cal Poly earned its fifth conference title in the last nine years and its initial Big Sky crown in the Mustangs' first year in the conference. The Mustangs won four Great West titles in the eight-year history of the conference. On Sunday, Walsh was presented the Big Sky championship trophy by Cal Poly president Jeff Armstrong and Mustang director of athletics Don Oberhelman.
"The Big Sky arguably is the best FCS conference in the nation and, to be champion in the first year, wow!" said Walsh. "It's a challenging conference, best in the USA and everyone can beat every other team. To finish 9-3 in our first year in the Big Sky is a great accomplishment.
"And we have a tremendous opportunity to build upon this year's team," Walsh added, noting the 2012 squad claimed the conference title with 92 underclassmen and just 15 seniors. Eighteen of the starters on the 2012 team return next fall.
Junior linebacker Chris Judge, who has "tremendous energy and athletic ability," according to Walsh, was named the team's most valuable player on special teams.
Team captain awards were presented to Broadous, senior wide receiver Ryan Taylor, senior quarterback/slotback Doug Shumway and junior defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz.
Shumway also received the Mel Kaufman Award, presented annually to the Cal Poly player who most exemplifies the virtues Kaufman became known for on and off the field. Kaufman, a linebacker on the Mustangs' 1980 NCAA Division II national championship team who died in February 2009 after one year as Cal Poly's linebackers coach, earned four Super Bowl rings with the Washington Redskins, three as a player and one as a scout.
"Doug did whatever we asked of him," said Walsh. "He epitomizes what a team player is and is one of the most unselfish players I have ever come across." Shumway, who started one game at quarterback in his Cal Poly career, will best be remembered for his second-half performance against then-No. 1 Montana in 2010 when he threw two touchdown passes to rally the Mustangs to a 35-33 victory.
Grosz earned the most valuable defensive lineman award as well as the team's Legion (Snelling) Award, which goes to a team leader who plays hard during practice as well as in games and exemplifies being good on a daily basis. Grosz earned 58 tackles this season, leading the team with 13.5 tackles for lost yardage, six sacks and five quarterback hurries.
Senior center Geoff Hyde was named most valuable offensive lineman.
Other award winners include junior defensive back Matt Reza as most improved player of the year, Taylor as most inspirational player of the year, freshman quarterback Tanner Trosin as offensive scout team player of the year and redshirt freshman defensive back Kaulin Blair as defensive scout team player of the year.
Cal Poly, which won nine games for the third time in the last nine years, finished No. 1 in the nation in passing efficiency, No. 3 in rushing offense (324.2 yards per game), No. 7 in scoring offense (38.6 points per contest) and No. 8 in sacks allowed (10 in 12 games).
"We finished in the top 10 in the nation in numerous offensive categories, but it was the way you did it that was even more inspiring," Mustang offensive coordinator Bryan Cook told his players.
The Mustang defense improved in nearly all statistical categories over the 2011 squad, finishing No. 45 in scoring defense (86th a year ago) and No. 57 in total defense (90th in 2011). Against FCS runner-up Sam Houston State, Cal Poly allowed just 18 points (second-lowest total scored by the Bearkats in 2012) and 241 total yards (the Bearkats' lowest of the year).
"I am most proud of the great job of our leaders and the way we got it done," said Josh Brown following his first year as the Mustangs' defensive coordinator. "We improved in every single defensive category this year."
All team awards were chosen by the players.
Cal Poly football is presented by French Hospital Medical Center.