Here is a press release from the UConn Huskies about tonight’s awards given at the football banquet:

UConn Huskies Football LogoSTORRS, Conn. (December 15, 2008) — The University of Connecticut football team held its annual awards ceremony at a team dinner on Monday night at The Burton Family Football Complex.

The team’s Most Valuable Player Award was given to junior running back Donald Brown (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.). Brown was also named the 2008 BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Year and was named a Second Team All-American from the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Brown was also named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year at the Monday night ceremony. Brown rushed for 1,822 yards and 17 touchdowns during the regular season and has been atop the national leader board in rushing yards (151.8 yards per game) for the majority of the year. He ran for at least 100 yards in 10 games.

The Defensive Player of the Year Award went to senior defensive lineman Cody Brown (Coral Springs, Fla.). Brown was second in the BIG EAST in sacks per game at 0.83 per contest and was also second in the league in tackles for a loss. He made a total of 50 tackles on the season.

Redshirt freshman Robby Frey (Lehighton, Pa.) was named UConn’s Special Teams Player of the Year. Frey saw considerable time at kickoff return duties for UConn and had 13 returns for 276 yards this year.

The Joseph M. Giannelli Unsung Hero Award was split between senior offensive tackle Will Beatty (York, Pa.) and senior safety Dahna Deleston (East Hartford, Conn.). The award is presented to a UConn football player, selected by the coaches, who best displays effort, dedication and steady performance without notice and acclaim, making a significant, but perhaps hidden, contribution to the program.

The John L. Toner Scholar Athlete Award was presented to senior center Keith Gray (Allen, Texas). Gray is a mathematics and actuarial science major and wins the award named after the former UConn athletic director and football coach and NCAA President.

The Football Alumni Award went to senior quarterback Tyler Lorenzen (Fremont, Iowa) and senior tight end Steve Brouse (Selingsgrove, Pa.). The honor is bestowed upon the Husky who best exhibits leadership and dedication and is viewed as the ultimate team player. Both of these players began the year in starting positions, missed time due to injuries and have now recovered to return to the Husky starting. 11.

The Kendall Madison Award was given to senior safety Darius Butler (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) — who was recognized for being a “strong team player whose dedication, hard work and outstanding citizenship best exemplify the strong spirit of the UConn Huskies.” The award is named for the former Husky who was tragically killed in the mid 1990s while being a good samaritan in his attempt to break up an altercation. Butler made 37 tackles on the season with four pass break-ups and also saw time on the other side of the ball as a receiver for the Huskies. His regular season was cut short as he missed the final two games of the season due to injury.

The Brian Kozlowski Award went to senior defensive tackle Julius Williams (Decatur, Ga.) for being courageous, hard working and productive. The award is named for the former Husky tight end, later a 13-year NFL veteran, who through relentless hard work, effort and dedication was able to have a lengthy NFL career.