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Russell named Eagles MVP
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Celebrating the 2010 campaign that culminated with a run to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Semifinals, Georgia Southern held its annual postseason football banquet Saturday night. The event honored the season’s award winners and recognized Eagle seniors in the Nessmith-Lane Building on the Georgia Southern University campus.

As voted by the members of the 2010 Eagle Football team, Brent Russell earned his second Most Valuable Player award. The sophomore defensive lineman was named to four All-America teams and was one of 20 finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award, a trophy given annually to the top defensive player in the FCS. Junior quarterback Jaybo Shaw was honored with the Erk Russell Award, given by the coaching staff to the Eagle player who most exemplifies the character, morals, ethics and actions of Coach Russell.

In addition to his All-America awards, Russell earned numerous Southern Conference honors as a member of the first team defensive unit as voted by the league’s coaches and media. He was also named the Defensive Player of the Year for the Southern Conference. Russell was selected as the SoCon’s “Player of the Week” for defense after the Western Carolina game in which he registered 3.5 tackles for loss for a total of 22 yards.

He was also named the SoCon Defensive Football Student-Athlete for the month of November, recording 22 tackles which included eight tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks as the Eagles went 4-0 that month.

An ARA Sportsmanship Award candidate, junior Brett Moore was selected as an Associated Press Third Team All-American and to the All-SoCon first team offense by the coaches and second team offense by the SoCon Media Association. Joining Moore on the AP All-America third team was Adrian Mora. Mora was tabbed the College Football Performance Awards Placekicker of the Year and was one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Placekicker of the Year Award.

Mora added to his list of honors with a SoCon “Player of the Week” honor for special teams after an 11-point scoring game against Savannah State. Mora kicked two field goals and had five extra points against the Tigers. He finished the 2010 season with a program-record 19 field goals to go along with 45 PATs and his career consecutive streak of made PATs intact and now at 95.

Accolades also piled up for junior defensive back and return specialist Laron Scott. The third team AP All-American on defense and All-SoCon first team pick for both defense and special teams, Scott’s performance against Elon earned him “Player of the Week” honors from The Sports Network, the Southern Conference and College Football Performance Awards. Scott returned an interception for a touchdown, deflected a pass for another Eagle interception and recorded six tackles in that victory.

Responsible for the Eagles’ top national ranking in net punting, junior Charlie Edwards was the All-SoCon choice as first team punter. Junior defensive lineman Roderick Tinsley and linebacker Josh Rowe were honored for their selection to the SoCon second team defense. Tinsley was also named to the All-SoCon team for defense, joining Derek Heyden and Russell. The Web site also included Edwards and Mora on its All-SoCon specialists squad.

Freshman Robert Brown, a Southern Conference All-Freshman (offense) team member, was selected as the SoCon “Freshman of the Week” on two occasions, first for his game-winning touchdown in overtime in the Eagles’ victory over Appalachian State. He was picked for the second week in a row as “Freshman of the Week” following the Western Carolina game where he rushed for a game-best and then-career high 153 yards. Brown ran for the season’s longest touchdown run of 80 yards in the 28-6 win.

Defensive lineman Josh Gebhardt and offensive lineman Dorian Byrd joined Brown on the SoCon All-Freshman Team.

Two members of the Eagle football team, Patrick Barker and Boyd Sasser were recognized for their academic and athletic achievements by the Southern Conference. In the two other team awards, redshirt freshman Will Banks and sophomore Zach York received Scout Team player of the year awards for the offense and defense, respectively.

In what has become an annual tradition, the 2010 seniors were presented with their home blue Georgia Southern jersey framed with a photo of themselves on the playing field and image of Paulson Stadium. Tobi Akinnirayne, Lee Banks, Jared Flowers, Paul Gourdeau, Carson Hill, Brett Layson, Jawaun Luckey, Evan Mattingly, Chris Rogers, Michael Veal, E.J. Webb and Calvin West were recognized for their contributions to the Georgia Southern Football program.

“Voice of the Eagles” Chris Blair and former Eagle great Terry Harvin served as the masters of ceremonies for the event which included remarks from Georgia Southern President Brooks A. Keel, Director of Athletics Sam Baker and Coach Jeff Monken.

President Keel’s introduction of Coach Monken produced a standing ovation for Coach Monken. Eagle fans voted Coach Monken to a top-five finish in the fan vote section of the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year contest. He was also named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year by and “Coach of the Week” for Sept. 27 following Georgia Southern’s win over 10th-ranked Elon.

Georgia Southern begins spring practice on March 22 and concludes the 15-practice schedule with the annual Blue-White game on April 15.