The Cal Poly football program hosted its end-of-the-year banquet over the weekend, and several players earned postseason recognition for their standout performances during the fall.
The Mustangs voted senior quarterback Chris Brown as the team’s most valuable and most inspirational player after he helped lead Cal Poly to a 4-7 season. Brown rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the second consecutive year and finished his career with more than 3,000 yards rushing and passing.
De Koning, a Folsom native who transfered to Cal Poly from Nevada following his sophomore season, recorded 82 tackles, three sacks and four quarterback hurries in 11 games. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker had a career day against Big Sky Conference champion Southern Utah in late October, when he made 17 tackles in a 54-37 loss.
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Walker, among the most dependable players at any position, helped the Mustangs lead the FCS in rushing for the third consecutive season. The Atascadero graduate never missed a game in his four-year career and played a key role in Cal Poly rushing for more than 478 yards per game this season.
Junior linebacker Chris Santini, a transfer from Boise State, was selected as the most valuable player on special teams. He finished the year with nine tackles and was one of the Mustangs’ most consistent open-field tacklers on kickoff coverage.
Eleven other awards were handed out Sunday, including senior wide receiver Jordan Hines earning the Legion (Snelling) Award for the second straight year. That award is given to a team leader who “plays hard during practice as well as in games and exemplifies being good on a daily basis.”
Senior linebacker Tu’uta Inoke received the Mel Kaufman Award after leading the Mustangs with 97 tackles. The award is named after the late Cal Poly linebacker who played on the 1980 NCAA Division II national championship team and won four Super Bowl rings with the Washington Redskins.
Junior slotback Kori Garcia was chosen as the most valuable offensive back. The Los Angeles native played through a series of injuries to rush for 780 yards and five touchdowns.
Senior cornerback Karlton Dennis garnered most valuable defensive back honors as one of the most consistent members of the Mustangs’ secondary. Leading the group after senior Chris Fletcher suffered a season-ending injury, Dennis made 55 tackles and broke up seven passes in 11 games.
The award for most improved player went to sophomore fullback Jared Mohamed, who rushed for 463 yards and three touchdowns while backing up starter Joe Protheroe.
Freshman slotback David Cooper, a 5-9, 185-pound Ladera Heights native, earned offensive scout team player of the year honors. Freshman linebacker Zac Lofting was voted as the defensive scout team player of the year, and freshman defensive back Carter Nichols was the special teams scout team player of the year.