Football Announces End of Year Awards
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Monday 12/09/2012
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MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois Football announced the end of year awards on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 9). The annual banquet honoring the 2012 team was held in the University Union.

Redshirt-freshman linebacker J.J. Raffelson (Lake Zurich/Lake Zurich) and junior kicker Pat Smith (Quincy/Notre Dame) were voted Co-Most Valuable Player.

Raffelson led the defense with 105 total tackles, the first time during the Division I era that a freshman accomplished that feat for the Leathernecks. Four of his tackles went for a loss and he broke up two passes. Five times on the year he recorded 10 or more tackles, including a season-high 13 tackles on three occasions.

Smith led the team in scoring, finishing with 41 points. He was perfect on the year in kicks, 10-for-10 on field goals and 11-for-11 on extra points. Smith matched a career-high with three field goals in the season-opener, then the next week he kicked a career-long 46-yarder. Also the starting punter, Smith set a program record with 84 punts averaging 38 yards. Seven of his punts were 50-plus yards and he landed 18 inside the 20-yard line.

For the second year in a row, junior offensive lineman Jimmy Holtschlag (Quincy/Notre Dame) received the Dr. Frank Sorenson Award for Academic Achievement, given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA. A two-time First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference and Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, Holtschlag carries a 4.0 GPA majoring in Agriculture Science with minors in Zoology and Chemistry. He started in all 11 games and has made 28 in his career.

The Robert Blaha, Sr. Scholarship Award went to senior quarterback Wil Lunt (Rochester/Rochester). This annual award is given factoring in a combination of academics, team leadership and overall contributions to the team. Lunt threw for 465 yards and two touchdowns on the season, both TDs coming in the win at South Dakota. He made five starts in his seven games played.

Junior Jeff Lindsey (Bolingbrook/Bolingbrook) started in all 11 games this season. The starter at left tackle, after switching from left guard last year, Lindsey has 17 starts over the past two years. He received the Wes Stevens Offensive Lineman of the Year Award.

Senior linebacker Theon Dixon (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) tied for fourth on the team with 55 tackles in 10 games played. He was second on the team in tackles for a loss (5.5) and interceptions (2). Dixon, a two-year starter after transferring to the Leathernecks, received the Red Miller Award.

Senior defensive end Dwight Harris (Aurora/Waubonsie Valley) led all active Leathernecks with 39 career starts, including 37 consecutive. He shared the team lead making two sacks and five quarterback hurries. Harris recorded 29 tackles and two pass break-ups on the year. He received the Hustle Award.

Senior running back Caulton Ray (Southfield, MI/Brother Rice) received the Coaches Appreciation Award. Ray started in all 11 contests in 2012. He recorded 2,250 career rushing yards in his three-year career at Western and scored 16 touchdowns. Among the Leatherneck all-time rushing leaders he finished seventh all-time in yards and tied for ninth in TDs.

Sophomore David McDaniel (O'Fallon/O'Fallon) received the Green Beret Award, honoring significant contributions on special teams. McDaniel led all players on special teams making eight tackles. He also recovered a muffed punt for a touchdown. Overall on defense he made 58 tackles and recorded four interceptions.

Iron Leatherneck Award for dedication and leadership in the weight room went to senior wide receiver Cody Reardon (Taylor Mill, KY/Holy Cross). Reardon played in all 11 games, serving as holder on all kicks and playing on both kickoff return and kickoff coverage.

Freshman offensive lineman Eddie Atkinson (Crystal Lake/South) was voted Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year. Redshirt-freshman defensive back Charlie Whitaker (Macomb/Macomb) was named Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year.

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