Dec. 7, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame fifth-year seniors Trevor Laws and John Carlson were each rewarded for returning this past season by claiming two awards apiece at the 87th Notre Dame Football Banquet. Laws was named the 2007 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player and received the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. Carlson was named the Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year for the second straight year and was recipient of the Nick Pietrosante Award.
Those awards along with the Lineman of the Year and Guardian of the Year were presented Friday evening at the Joyce Center on the University of Notre Dame campus. Former Irish All-American Aaron Taylor served as the guest speaker at the event sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.
In voting conducted by the Notre Dame football team, Laws was a landslide winner of the MVP award following his All-America caliber season. His 112 tackles led the team and were the second-most ever by a Notre Dame defensive lineman. The Burnsville, Minn., native averaged 9.3 tackles per game, tied for 43rd in the nation, and was the only defensive lineman to rank among the top 100 in tackles in 2007. Laws also paced the Irish defense with four sacks, seven quarterback hurries and three blocked kicks. His two fumble recoveries tied for team-high honors while the eight tackles for loss he posted were second most on the squad.
Laws finished his career at Notre Dame with 224 tackles, including 10 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss, 10 passes defended, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and six blocked kicks. Since Notre Dame began keeping tackle stats in 1956, Laws ranks sixth in career tackles by a defensive lineman and became only the second Irish defensive lineman since 1981 to eclipse 200 tackles during his career (Chris Zorich, 219, 1988-90).
Laws also received the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award from the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. He graduated from Notre Dame in May 2007 with degrees in marketing and sociology and finished his undergraduate career with a 3.22 cumulative grade-point average. Laws was named a second-team Academic All-American this year and also earned first-team Academic All-District V accolades this season. He is currently enrolled in the graduate studies program and holds a 3.667 GPA.
Carlson was named the Nick Pietrosante Award winner as the student-athlete who best exemplified the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride of 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. The recipient is determined by a vote of the players and past winners have included Jeff Faine, Aaron Taylor, Travis Thomas, Tom Zbikowski and Chris Zorich.
Carlson led the Irish with 40 receptions and 372 receiving yards in 2007 and his three touchdown catches ranked second on the team. His 40 receptions were the fifth-most in a single season by a Notre Dame tight end and the 372 receiving yards were the 10th-best total posted by an Irish tight end. For his career, Carlson recorded 100 receptions for 1,093 yards and eight TDs. His 100 catches are the second-most ever by a Notre Dame tight end while his receiving yards total ranks third all-time.
A native of Litchfield, Minn., Carlson was also honored as the Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season. He finished his undergraduate career with a 3.633 cumulative GPA while earning a degree in history. He is currently enrolled in the graduate studies program where he has amassed a GPA of 3.667. Carlson was named a National Scholar-Athlete this year by the National Football Foundation and received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. He was one of 15 football players from all NCAA divisions of football to receive the award and became the 15th Notre Dame football player to earn the award, and the first since Tim Ruddy in 1993. Carlson was also named to the Academic All-America second team and was an Academic All-District V first-team selection. He was one of 12 weekly student-athlete academic honorees announced during Westwood One national radio broadcasts of Irish games in 2007.
Other weekly winners (in addition to Carlson) were sophomore wide receiver Barry Gallup Jr. (3.595 in Mendoza College of Business), sophomore defensive back Leonard Gordon (3.040 in political science), Laws, sophomore defensive back Raeshon McNeil (3.111 in design), sophomore wide receiver Robby Parris (3.205 in Mendoza College of Business), sophomore defensive back Munir Prince (3.167 in Mendoza College of Business), sophomore outside linebacker John Ryan (3.048 in Mendoza College of Business), junior quarterback Evan Sharpley (3.128 in history and education), junior linebacker Scott Smith (3.469 in management and sociology), sophomore offensive lineman Chris Stewart (3.541 in history) and fifth-year senior Ambrose Wooden (2.93 in finance).
Fifth-year senior center John Sullivan won the Guardian of Year Award from the Guardian Life Insurance Company (a sponsor of Irish football on Westwood One radio broadcasts) as the top offensive lineman. He was asked to lead a young offensive unit that featured an inexperienced offensive line and new quarterbacks this year. Based on the leadership he exemplified during spring drills and fall practice, the coaching staff unanimously agreed to appoint him as the fifth team captain prior to the start of the season. Sullivan started the first 10 contests of the year, pushing his consecutive games started streak to 31, before an injury sidelined him for the final two games of 2007. The native of Old Greenwich, Conn., finished his career having played in 47 games and started 43 contests at Notre Dame. Sullivan graduated last May with a degree in marketing and currently is enrolled in the graduate studies program.
Junior nose tackle Pat Kuntz was named the Lineman of the Year by the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation. The Indianapolis product was called upon this year to anchor the middle of the defensive line in defensive coordinator Corwin Brown’s newly implemented 3-4 defense. Kuntz was a solid and consistent contributor who started the first 10 games of 2007 before missing the last two contests due to an injury. He recorded career-high numbers of 42 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sack, one fumble recovery and a team-high nine pass break-ups. In fact, no defensive lineman in the nation averaged more pass break-ups per game than Kuntz and only one player (Phillip Hunt, Houston, 10) recorded more pass break-ups this year. Kuntz is a sociology major in the College of Arts and Letters.
Making the presentations at the banquet were Dick Nussbaum, second vice-president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club; Phil Krause, representing the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation; Terry Walsh, representing Guardian Life Insurance; Brandon Berman, Westwood One account executive; Bernie Parmalee, Notre Dame tight ends coach; and Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley president-elect Kevin Redar.