Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 35 of 111

ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS The top individual and team performances during the 2013 regular season I BY LOU SOMOGYI n December 2012, eight different Notre Dame players received some AllAmerica recognition, plus head coach Brian Kelly earned National Coach of the Year honors while defensive coordinator Bob Diaco won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant. This December, the lone postseason recognition was Dog linebacker Jaylon Smith receiving True Freshman All-American recognition from 247Sports. Such is the difference between 12-0 and 8-4 regular-season records at Notre Dame. Nevertheless, here are some of our own awards for some of the 2013 individuals. MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS: WR TJ JONES AND QB TOMMY REES The senior passing combination arrived as early enrollees in the spring of 2010 and exceeded all expectations in their careers. Jones picked up where 2011 and 2012 first-round draftees Michael Floyd and Tyler Eifert left off with his reliability. Similar to Zack Martin's starting streak, we're skeptical that anyone will top his program standard of a catch in 40 straight games. Although Rees is classified as "an 8-4 starting quarterback" or "an ideal relief pitcher but not starter," the Irish might have been 4-8 without him. Our definition of MVP generally is "take this one player off the roster and where would it be?" T3. DE Stephon Tuitt and NG Louis Nix III — The two projected first-round selections saw their skills most manifested in slugfests versus Big Ten champ Michigan State (17-13) and revived USC (14-10). Senior wide receiver TJ Jones recorded a touchdown reception in nine of 13 games this season, and he capped his career by catching at least one pass in a schoolrecord 40 straight games. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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