On Wednesday evening, the IMG Academy Football program held its first-ever banquet to reflect on its inaugural season and honor its senior members. The night's program included a special presentation of framed jerseys to each member of the senior class, as well as a number of awards for those student-athletes who displayed great leadership on and off the field. Rising senior linebackers Nick Thomas and John Tauber were also named co-captains for the 2014 season.
Award recipients included:
Offensive MVP Award - Bo Scarbrough (RB, Senior, Tuscaloosa, Ala.): Alabama commit Scarbrough ran through the competition through eight games, rushing for 1,118 yards (10.4 avg.) and 16 TD on 108 carries. Scarbrough's performance has earned his place as one of the top-rated prospects overall in the entire nation (No 13 Rivals 100; No. 21 ESPN 150; No. 37 Top247; and No. 48 Scout 300).
Defensive MVP Award - Andrew Smith (LB, Senior, Toronto, Canada): A leader on defense, finished with 100 total tackles on the year (57 solo, 43 ast). Also recorded 10 TFL, 2 fumble recoveries and an INT.
Special Teams MVP Award - Shane Dixon (Safety, Senior, Tampa, Fla.): The area and team leader in tackles with 112 tackles (74 solo, 38 ast).
Big Man Award - Kyle Forde (DE, Senior, Toronto, Canada): Paced the state of Florida in sacks much of the season, and finished sixth in the entire state among seniors with 18.5 (eighth overall, regardless of class). He also had 28 tackles for loss, the most in the team’s area. Forde notched 76 total tackles (54 solo/22 ast).
Iron Man Award - Fred Schroeder (DT, Senior, Minnetonka, Minn.): Playing the interior three-technique for much of the season, Schroeder recorded 60 tackles (31 solo, 29 solo), 10 sacks and 16 TFL.
Top Scholar Athlete Award - Donnie Foster (OL, Senior, Savannah, Ga.): At center, Foster started all 10 regular season games and helped pave the way for an offense that racked up 3,554 yards (355.4 ypg) and 317 points (31.7 ppg).
Ascender Award - Michael O'Connor (QB, Senior, Ottawa, Canada): A Penn State commit, O'Connor led the team to an 8-2 inaugural season record behind 118-of-218 (54.1%) passing for 1,804 yds. (180.4 ypg), 18 TD, 5 INT and a 100.0 RTG.
But the most meaningful moment of the night came with a special presentation to the smallest but mightiest member of the IMG Academy Ascenders – five-year-old Joshua Fisher. Fisher was introduced to the team through the Friends of Jaclyn, a non-profit organization with a mission of placing children battling pediatric cancer with sports teams to lift their spirits. Since the start of the relationship, Fisher was on the sidelines of every IMG home game, sharing high fives and swigs of Gatorade with his teammates. At last night’s banquet, Joshua and his brothers and parents were part of a special presentation in which Joshua received an official IMG Academy jersey and helmet, in addition to some other fun gifts. Remarked head coach Chris Weinke after the emotional presentation: “We could have easily gone 0-11 but instead we went 9-2, and we owe that to Joshua and the energy and inspiration he brought to us.”
Now that football season is over, Fisher joked his son doesn’t know how to spend his Fridays. So what is he focused on these days: “Getting ready for next season!” his dad says with a smile.