Senior halfback Travis Thomas and the Irish will open their 2007 season Saturday against Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Stadium.

Football Holds 86th Annual Football Banquet

Dec. 1, 2006

Video Recap
Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award Presentation –
Lineman of the Year from the National Football Foundation Moose Krause Chapter –
Guardian of the Year presented by Guardians Life Insurance –
Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year Award –
Nick Pietrosante Award –
Monogram Club Team MVP Award –
Gerry Faust Remarks (Part One) –
Gerry Faust Remarks (Part Two) –
Coach Weis Remarks –
Father John Jenkins Closing Remarks –

Record-setting senior quarterback Brady Quinn – who ranks as the University of Notre Dame’s most prolific signal-caller in its history, based on his career passing totals of 914 completions in 1,567 attempts (.583) for 11,614 yards and 93 touchdowns – Friday night claimed the 2006 Notre Dame football MVP award, presented by the Notre Dame Monogram Club. Those awards were among others presented at the 86th Notre Dame Football Banquet at the Joyce Center on the University of Notre Dame campus. Former Irish head coach Gerry Faust served as guest speaker in front of a crowd of 1,500. The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley sponsors the event.

With the prospect of a postseason bowl game remaining to add to his ’06 totals, Quinn (from Dublin, Ohio) through the regular season has thrown for 3,278 yards and 35 TDs (an Irish single-season record) on 274 completions (also an Irish single-season mark) on 432 attempts (.634). Already holder of 35 Notre Dame career, single-season and single-game records, he set the Irish single-season marks for passing yards (3,633), completions (263) and TD throws (32) in 2005 (already surpassing the TD and completion marks in ’06) – and he set an Irish single-game mark in `05 with six TD passes versus BYU.

Also winner of the MVP award in ’05 (he shared it with Jeff Samardzija), Quinn today was named the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the top senior quarterback in the country (includes character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities and athletic accomplishments). He’s a finalist for the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year Award and the Maxwell Award as the top all-around player in the country — and for the Davey O’Brien Award as the top quarterback nationally (second straight year for the Walter Camp and O’Brien awards). Quinn is majoring in finance and political science, and will earn dual degrees later this month from the Mendoza College of Business and the College of Arts and Letters.

Senior offensive tackle Ryan Harris won the Guardian of the Year Award from the Guardian Life Insurance Company (a sponsor of Irish football on Westwood One radio broadcasts) as the top offensive lineman. He’s a four-year starter at left tackle for the Irish, starting all 12 games so far in ’06 and 44 straight in his career. He helped pave the way for two-time 1,000-yard rusher Darius Walker (1,139 yards in 2006, after 1,106 yards in `05), the all-time career and single-season receiver at Notre Dame (Samardzija), a second receiver in senior Rhema McKnight who also broke the previous career reception mark and a quarterback (Quinn) who rewrote the Irish record book. Harris (from St. Paul, Minn.) is enrolled as a political science and economics major in the College of Arts and Letters (with a 3.087 cumulative grade-point average).

Senior defensive end Victor Abiamiri (from Randallstown, Md.) won the Lineman of the Year Award from the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame for the second straight year. He leads all Irish defensive players in ’06 with 10 sacks (second highest total at Notre Dame for a season), to go with 14.5 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hurries and 42 overall tackles. Abiamiri is third in career sacks at Notre Dame (with 21) and fifth in career tackles for loss (39.5). He’s enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business as a finance major (3.006 cumulative GPA).

Senior linebacker Travis Thomas won the Nick Pietrosante Award as the individual who best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride shown by the late Irish All-America fullback. Pietrosante, Notre Dame’s leading rusher in ’57 and ’58 (and later a number-one draft pick and two-time all-pro selection with the Detroit Lions), died of cancer on Feb. 6, 1988. Notre Dame’s special teams captain for ’06, Thomas made the switch from tailback to linebacker prior to the start of the ’06 season and currently has 33 tackles, five tackles for loss and a sack. He also remains an option as a running back and has carried 11 times for 76 yards and two TDs.

Senior offensive guard Dan Santucci received the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award from the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. He finished with a 3.359 grade-point average after graduating last May as a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business. The senior from Harwood Heights, Ill., has started all 12 games at left offensive guard (25 in his career) and has joined his linemate Harris in leading the way for an offense that ranks among the national leaders with averages of 273.8 passing yards, 398.0 total yards and 32.4 points.

Senior tight end John Carlson (from Litchfield, Minn.) won the Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year Award. A first-team CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-America selection for 2006 (Notre Dame’s first in football since 1993), he was one of 12 weekly student-athlete academic honorees announced during Westwood One national radio broadcasts of Irish games in 2006. Carlson is a history major in the College of Arts and Letters who boasts a 3.596 cumulative GPA. Carlson caught 46 passes for 621 yards and four TDs during the regular season and ranks as a finalist for the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the country.

Other weekly winners (in addition to Carlson) were senior kicker Bobby Renkes (3.674 in accounting), junior snapper J.J. Jansen (3,67 in accounting), junior kicker Carl Gioia (3.538 in history and pre-professional), senior offensive guard Brian Mattes (3.486 in finance), senior defensive end Chris Frome (3.303 in finance), Santucci, senior defensive tackle Trevor Laws (3.193 in marketing and sociology), senior receiver Chase Anastasio (3.17 in sociology and computer applications), Harris, punter Geoff Price (3.065 in finance) and Abiamiri.

State Farm presented the University of Notre Dame general scholarship fund with a check for $17,000 – representing $1,000 each for the 12 weekly winners, plus $5,000 for the Student-Athlete of the Year Award.

Making the presentations at the banquet were Julie Doyle, president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club; Phil Krause, representing the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation; Jack Howley, senior financial consultant of Guardian Life Insurance; Jack Althoff, collegiate sports sponsorship coordinator of State Farm Insurance; and Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley president Peter Gillin.