NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Junior quarterback Ian Book received the 2018 University of Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player honor tonight at ECHOES | 18 presented by Bank of America.
Book was one of 20 players honored at the 98th Fighting Irish football awards show.
Book, who took the starting reigns in the fourth game of the season, helped the Irish rip off eight consecutive victories. Book finished the regular season completing 70.4% (197 of 280) of his passes with 19 TDs and 2,468 yards. He also rushed 78 times for 250 yards and four TDs. Book ranks sixth and eighth, respectively, in FBS completion percentage and pass efficiency. He became the first FBS signal caller to win his first five starts of a season with a completion percentage over 70% in each game since Russell Wilson at Wisconsin in 2011.
Book’s fellow quarterback Brandon Wimbush earned the Next Man In Award. Wimbush earned victories in the first three games of the season, including a lid-lifting win over No. 14 Michigan, before Book took over the starting job. Wimbush returned to spell an injured Book on Senior Night at Notre Dame Stadium, leading the Irish to a 42-13 victory over Florida State. The senior threw for three touchdowns and ran for 68 yards in the rout.
Offensive Player of the Year went to the man on the end of eight touchdown passes from Book and Wimbush, Miles Boykin. The senior receiver totaled 54 catches for 803 yards, both team highs. He had a stretch of six straight games with at least one TD reception, making him the first Irish receiver to accomplish that feat since Will Fuller.
On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker Te’von Coney was named Defensive Player of the Year. Coney capped his career by starting all 12 games while recording a team-best 107 tackles (59 solo), 9.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He became the first Irish player to post back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since since Jaylon Smith (2014, 2015). According to Pro Football Focus, Coney is the fourth highest-rated linebacker overall (30.1) and seventh highest-rated linebacker in pass coverage (10.0). He’s only missed six tackles this season, and, among players with at least 820 defensive snaps (and Coney has 840), only one player in the country has fewer missed tackles.
The WOPU (Walk-On Players’ Union) Award went to former walk-on Chris Finke. After joining the team as a walk-on, Finke was awarded a scholarship prior to the start of his sophomore season. During this year’s campaign, the Dayton, Ohio, native is third on the team with 47 catches for 547 yards. He snared TD passes in the season’s first and final games, wins over Michigan and Southern Cal. Finke also serves as the Irish punt returner, totaling 19 returns on the season with a long of 52 yards.
Senior linebacker Drue Tranquill was named the Rockne Student-Athlete of the Year for the third consecutive season. This joins a long list of accolades for the graduate student who this week was named the recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy, awarded to the FBS player with exemplary community service, and was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy, known as the “Academic Heisman.” Tranquill graduated in May with a degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering after making the Dean’s List in five of his eight undergraduate semesters. He is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and was an Academic All-American in 2016. On the field, Tranquill is a two-time captain, was named a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy and to the Butkus Award Watch List. He played through a pair of injuries this season to appear in all 12 games, in spite of breaking his hand during the Stanford game and spraining his ankle against Navy. He finished the season third on the team with 75 tackles, 9.0 of those for loss, while adding three pass break-ups, two QB hurries and a fumble recovery.
The Nick Pietrosante Award, given to the student-athlete who best exemplifies courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride, was awarded to graduate punter Tyler Newsome. He averaged 44.4 yards per punt average on 45 punts, including 15 beyond 50 yards and 16 inside the 20-yard line. He set the Notre Dame record for single-game punting average against Vanderbilt, with five boots averaging 59.6 yards (all five punts were over 50 yards, with three over 60), two inside the 20-yard line and a 63-yard punt late in the fourth quarter to help clinch the win. Newsome was named to the Ray Guy Great 8 List after four punts averaging 51.25 yards in the win over No. 7 Stanford.
Cornerback Julian Love captured Back of the Year in a season which has seen him earn multiple All-America honors and be named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. He was only the third Thorpe finalist in Notre Dame history after leading the nation with 15 pass break-ups, making him the Notre Dame career leader in that category with 38. He is the second-highest rated corner in the country according to Pro Football Focus, which has charged him with only two missed tackles on 815 defensive snaps.
Senior defensive lineman Jerry Tillery won Lineman of the Year, presented by the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. Tillery started all 12 contests, recording a team-best eight sacks and three forced fumbles. He added 30 total tackles (10.5 for loss) and five QB hurries. Tillery leads all FBS interior defensive lineman in total QB hurries (31), sacks (8.0) and quarterback hits (44). He’s the highest-rated Power 5 interior defensive lineman in QB hurries. Tillery is the third highest-rated interior defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus against the run (31.6). He was named to the Pro Football Focus College Team of the Week after 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble in win over No. 14 Michigan. After 4.0 sacks, a forced fumble and two QB hurries in a rout of No. 7 Stanford, Tillery was named Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week, Bronco Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week and Reese’s Senior Bowl Senior of the Week.
Offensive Lineman of the Year was awarded to graduate captain Sam Mustipher. The Owings Mills, Maryland, product was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy after starting all 12 games at center for the Irish, a spot he has occupied for 36 consecutive contests. In 833 offensive snaps this season, Mustipher has surrendered just one sack, two QB hits and seven QB hurries.
Impact Player of the Year on Offense went to receiver Chase Claypool. The junior from Abbotsford, British Columbia, ranked second on the team in receiving yards (631), receptions (48) and TD receptions (four). He made touchdown grabs in consecutive games against Wake Forest and seventh-ranked Stanford before collecting a season-best eight catches for 130 yards at Northwestern.
Impact Player of the Year on Defense was awarded to Julian Okwara. In his junior year, Okwara led the Irish in tackles for loss with 11.5 as part of 37 total tackles (7.0 sacks). He posted 21 QB hurries, highlighted by seven in the victory over Pittsburgh. He also recorded his second-career interception in the season-opening win over 14th-ranked Michigan.
Senior kicker Justin Yoon was named the Special Teams Player of the Year. Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer in school history, Yoon connected on 16 of 20 field goals and 41 of 43 point-after attempts. He also owns the school record for career field goals made (58).
Newcomers of the Year went to senior running back Dexter Williams and junior safety Alohi Gilman. Williams emerged as one of the top backs in the nation, leading the team with 941 rushing yards and 12 rushing TDs in eight games. He eclipsed 100 rushing yards on four occasions, including 202 with two TDS against Florida State. With a 97-yard scamper at Virginia Tech, Williams broke the longest run in the history of the Hokies’ Lane Stadium. Gilman returned to the field after sitting last season following a transfer from the Naval Academy. He started all 12 games at safety, making 76 tackles, 3.0 for loss, three pass break-ups and two interceptions, both against No. 12 Syracuse. He made a season-high 10 tackles in the win over USC and is a finalist for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.
Sophomore running Mick Assaf (offense) and freshman linebacker Ovie Oghoufu (defense) were named the Scout Team Players of the Year. Graduate offensive lineman Alex Bars won the Father Lange Irish Cross Award, graduate tight end Nic Weishar was named the Irish Around the Bend Award winner for his community service efforts and graduate defensive lineman Jonathan Bonner earned the Humble and Hungry Award.
Rockne Student-Athlete – Drue Tranquill
Newcomer of the Year: Offense – Dexter Williams
Newcomer of the Year: Defense – Alohi Gilman
Scout Team Player of the Year: Offense – Mick Assaf
Scout Team Player of the Year: Defense – Ovie Oghoufo
Father Lange Iron Cross – Alex Bars
Irish Around the Bend – Nic Weishar
Moose Krause Lineman of the Year – Jerry Tillery
Pietrosante Award – Tyler Newsome
Offensive Lineman of the Year – Sam Mustipher
Special Teams Player of the Year – Justin Yoon
Back of the Year: Julian Love
Humble & Hungry Award: Jonathan Bonner
Offensive Player of the Year – Miles Boykin
Defensive Player of the Year – Te’von Coney
WOPU Player of the Year: Chris Finke
Impact Player on Offense: Chase Claypool
Impact Player on Defense: Julian Okwara
Next Man In – Brandon Wimbush
Most Valuable Player – Ian Book
— ND —