Before the Rose Bowl, it seems fitting to give out some awards to the players that stood out this season for Washington Football!
Offensive MVP(s)- Ty Jones and Aaron Fuller
Coming into the season, receiver was the biggest question mark for this Washington football team. The Huskies benefitted greatly from Hunter Bryant coming back late in the season, but Ty Jones and Aaron Fuller were dominant this season. Jones led the team in receiving touchdowns with six, while Fuller led the team in receiving yards with 794 on 51 receptions, scoring four touchdowns and throwing for another. Sure there can be an argument made for Jake Browning or Myles Gaskin, but Jones and Fuller filled some huge shoes, and did it very well.
Defensive MVP- Ben Burr-Kirven
I mean… who else would it be? The nation’s leading tackler, and while Ben Burr-Kirven filled up the stat sheet, his craziest stat might be that the closest person to him on the team in tackles is Tevis Bartlett, who finished NINETY-EIGHT tackles behind Burr-Kirven. The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, First-Team All-American, and finalist for the Ronnie Lott trophy stood out on a defense full of future NFL talents like Byron Murphy and Taylor Rapp.
Freshman Of The Year- Joe Tryon
Joe Tryon didn’t get a lot of time at the start of the season, but played his way into it, and has come on strong as of late. He finished the season with 17 tackles, two for loss and one sack, which came in the Apple Cup. The redshirt freshman has been excellent in his limited playing time for the Huskies so far this season, and hopefully will be a great source for a more consistent pass rush in 2019. An honorable mention for this category is Cade Otton, who was excellent this season at tight end. Otton caught 12 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns, and also excelled as a blocker. Ultimately, I gave Tryon the nod over Otton because EDGE rusher was more of a positional need than tight end.
Special Teams Player of the Year- Elijah Molden
Elijah Molden has had a standout year on special teams and in his role on defense. He was honored on the All Pac-12 Second Team as the all-purpose/ special teams player. He recorded 27 tackles along with five passes defensed, recording one forced fumble and recovering another. It seemed like Molden was the first guy to make contact with the return man or the ball on almost every special teams play, and has been excellent in what has been an uncharacteristically down year for Chris Petersen’s special teams unit.
Lineman of the Year- Jared Hilbers
Husky nation couldn’t have been more psyched about the return of Trey Adams at the start of the season, before a back injury sat him down for most of the season. Jared Hilbers has been excellent all year long, before he hurt his ankle during the Apple Cup. Hilbers was tasked with the all-important job of protecting Jake Browning’s blind side, and has done an excellent job of it this season. With Adams returning for a redshirt senior season in 2019, Hilbers will probably slide over to right tackle next year, but he’s a solid building block for this Husky offensive line. Honorable mentions here are center Nick Harris, who battled through injuries but stayed steady all season long, and Greg Gaines, who had huge shoes to fill after the depature of Vita Vea, but did a great job in 2018.