The 2013 edition of the Akron Zips football team met for the final time as a unit Sunday afternoon at Quaker Square to acknowledge some team members and celebrate pointing the program in the right direction with five victories this year, the most since 2008.
Among the highlights:
Fred F. Sefton Award (offensive and defensive MVP)
Offensive: Jawon Chisholm - running back
Defensive: Jatavis Brown – linebacker
Harry “Doc” Smith Awards (Outstanding players on offense and defense in each class):
Offense: Jarrod Pughsley – left tackle
Defense: Malachi Freeman – cornerback
Offense: Travis Schweitzer – center
Defense: Justin March – linebacker
Offense: Zach D’Orazio – wide receiver
Defense: Cody Grice – noseguard
Offense: Fransohn Bickley – wide receiver
Defense: Cory Morrow – safety
Malachi Freeman – cornerback
Nico Caponi – defensive tackle
Jarrod Pughsley – left tackle
Several of the departing seniors might have a shot at playing in the NFL next season, joining more than a few Zips on rosters.
With his 6-foot-5, 313-pound frame Pughsley, immediately comes to mind as a possibility. Were it not for certain circumstances, 6-foot-3 defensive tackle Nico Caponi is the kind of grinder who can make his way into the league with the right coaching. He certainly possesses the toughness and desire, but a good bet to make might be Freeman, whose numbers ranked him ninth in the country in passes defensed (amazing how he was placed on the all-MAC second team, huh?), the highest ranked player in that category in the conference.
If the team gave an award for the team’s guttiest player, Caponi would win it. The senior defensive lineman played with a separated shoulder most of the season, it was revealed Sunday. And he played the last four games of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.