Dec. 3, 2004
Notre Dame senior defensive end Justin Tuck was named the 2004 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player, while seniors Derek Curry, Mike Goolsby, Ryan Grant and Carlyle Holiday earned captain honors for the ’04 Irish football team Friday night at the 84th Notre Dame Football Banquet at the Joyce Center on the University of Notre Dame campus. The MVP award and the captains’ award were determined by a vote of the players, the third consecutive season in which the team elected its official captains at season’s end.
Tuck, from Kellyton, Ala., broke the Notre Dame career record for quarterback sacks this season. His team-leading six sacks give him a total of 24.5 sacks for his career in just three seasons of action. Through three seasons of play, Tuck has garnered 43 tackles for loss, 164 total tackles and seven passes broken up. In 2004, Tuck led the team in tackles for loss with 14 (for 57 yards), while notching 47 tackles to rank sixth on the team. Tuck achieved all of this after recovering from a major knee injury suffered in the 2003 season finale, returning to earn a starter’s role in every game this season and logging a career-high 263 minutes of playing time. Tuck is majoring in management in the Mendoza College of Business.
Curry, from Sealy, Texas, has started 34 games over the last three seasons and has played in every game of his Notre Dame career at linebacker. In ’04, Curry ranks fifth on the team in tackles with 61, is second on the team in tackles for loss with eight and is second in quarterback sacks with 4.5. He also intercepted two passes, recovered two fumbles and broke up three passes. Curry also was the recipient of the Nick Pietrosante Award presented each year to the Notre Dame player who best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride of the late Irish All-America fullback Nick Pietrosante. The award is determined by a vote of the players and past winners have included Jeff Faine, Joey Getherall, Aaron Taylor and Chris Zorich. A double major in management information systems and theology in the Mendoza College of Business, Curry is scheduled to graduate from Notre Dame in May of 2005.
Goolsby, from Joliet, Ill., has played in 46 games for the Irish and has started 24 games at linebacker. He returned to action in ’04 after missing the entire 2003 campaign with injuries and has been impressive throughout, leading the team in tackles with 94 and racking up a team-leading two interceptions, one fumble recovery, three quarterback sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. Goolsby is on pace to become only the 38th player in Notre Dame history to register 100 tackles in a season with the bowl game upcoming. Goolsby graduated with a degree in American Studies from the College of Arts and Letters in May of ’04 and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Notre Dame.
Grant, from Nyack, N.Y., is currently ranked 11th on the Irish career rushing list with 2,201 yards and his 18 rushing touchdowns rank tied for 10th in Notre Dame history. Grant has started 26 games at tailback in his Notre Dame career, playing in 38 games overall, and is second on the team in rushing this season with 496 yards and five touchdowns. A starter for most of the last three seasons, Grant has rushed for more than 100 yards five times in his Notre Dame career and is one of only seven players in school history to have rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season (1,085 in 2002). Grant is pursuing a double major in sociology and computer applications from the College of Arts and Letters. He is slated to graduate later this month, a half-year ahead of schedule.
Holiday, from San Antonio, Texas, is one of the most respected players in recent Notre Dame history. After starting his Notre Dame career at quarterback, Holiday moved to receiver in ’03 and has added duties as a punt returner to his resume this season. Holiday has played in 46 games for the Irish, including 25 starting assignments with the first 24 coming as the team’s quarterback from 2001-03. At quarterback, Holiday compiled a 15-9 record as a starter, throwing for 2,876 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 239 of 477 attempts (50.1 percent). His 239 pass completions rank 11th in Notre Dame history. Holiday also has rushed for 898 yards and five touchdowns and has caught six passes for 81 yards. In ’04, Holiday has returned 28 punts for 308 yards (11.0 avg.) including a 68-yard return to set up a touchdown against Pittsburgh. He graduated in May of 2004 with a degree in marketing from the Mendoza College of Business.
Senior defensive end Kyle Budinscak was the winner of the Knute Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award presented by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. Budinscak has started 33 games during his Notre Dame career, including all 11 this season, and has played in 43 games overall since joining the Irish in 2000. A native of Bridgewater, N.J., Budinscak recovered from a serious knee injury that cut short his 2003 season to win a starting job at defensive end in 2004. His 21 tackles this season ranks him third among defensive linemen while his three quarterback sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss are among the team leaders. Budinscak also has forced one fumble, recovered a fumble, and has batted down three passes this season. He also was a first-team Academic All-District selection four times. Budinscak graduated in May 2004, from the Mendoza College of Business with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He finished his undergraduate degree with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.591 and is currently enrolled as a graduate student. He has been on the Dean’s List six semesters during his career and has been a three-time State Farm/Westwood One Student-Athlete of the Game. Budinscak has been selected to the Rosenthal Leadership Group at Notre Dame.
Senior defensive tackle Greg Pauly won the Lineman of the Year Award from the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and the Hall of Fame. The Waukesha, Wis., product has recorded 36 tackles in ’04, including 4.5 for loss, and one quarterback sack. Pauly, who has started 16 games in his career and has seen action in 35 games overall for the Irish, has logged a career-high 246 minutes of action this season. He is a marketing and economics major in the Mendoza College of Business and will graduate later this month.
Sophomore offensive tackle Ryan Harris won the Westwood One/Guardian Life Insurance Guardian of the Year Award as the top offensive lineman. In only his second season with the Irish, Harris was the leader of Notre Dame’s offensive line that helped quarterback Brady Quinn compile some of the finest passing totals in Notre Dame history. The native of St. Paul, Minn., has started all 11 games this season and has been a mainstay of the offensive line the last two seasons with 19 starting assignments already in his career, logging 346 minutes of playing time this season to lead the offensive line. Harris is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame.
Josh Schmidt, from Germantown, Tenn., won the Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year Award. This is the second consecutive season in which Schmidt has earned the honor. The senior fullback and former walk-on earned a scholarship before the season and has played in 23 games during his Notre Dame career, starting two contests. In his career, Schmidt has caught 15 passes for 155 yards (10.3 avg.). As a finance major in the Mendoza College of Business, he has maintained a 3.516 grade point average and is scheduled to graduate in May of 2005.