Kirby and Arkin Among Top Award Winners at Year-End Football Event

Kirby and Arkin Among Top Award Winners at Year-End Football Event

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SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri State seniors Cody Kirby (QB, Rogers, Ark.) and David Arkin (OT, Wichita, Kan.) should have been designated as the guests of honor Sunday as the all-star tandem took home the bulk of MSU's postseason honors during the Bears' annual football banquet at JQH Arena.

Arkin and Kirby shared Team MVP and Offensive MVP honors at the banquet, while Kirby was selected as MSU Player of the Year by a panel of media representatives. Kirby also earned Weight Lifter of the Year honors from the strength and conditioning staff.

The MSU Player of the Year award was known as the Coors Player of the Year Award from its inception in 1982 until 2008. Kirby also received the honor in 2008 and is the sixth quarterback in 29 years to win the honor.

During the 2010 season, Kirby became the Missouri Valley Football Conference's all-time leader in pass attempts (1,172) and the first MSU quarterback to throw for 2,000 yards in three straight seasons. He finished second in MVFC history in total offense (9,019) and became the fifth MVFC passer to reach 8,000 career passing yards, finishing No. 3 all-time at 8,183. In 2010, he completed 57 percent of his passes, connecting on 179-of-313 attempts for 2,307 yards and 10 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also led the squad in scoring with 13 rushing touchdowns. He leaves the MSU program as the Bears' career leader in seven statistical categories, including passing yards and total offense, while finishing seventh in scoring. He earned MVFC postseason honors all four seasons and started 41 consecutive games as the Bears' quarterback.

Arkin is a 2009 and 2010 first-team All-MVFC lineman who graded at 87 percent for the season with 82 knockdowns. He was an ESPN Academic All-America second teamer and was recently selected as the only MVFC representative on the 2010 American Football Coaches Association All-America team. Arkin also earned second-team All-MVFC honors in 2007 and 2008 and earned Valley Offensive Lineman of the Week honors six times in his career. He was named MSU Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2009, made 44 straight starts and was the MVC State Farm Good Neighbor Award recipient for the fall of 2008. Arkin is also a two-time MVFC All-Academic first-team pick and graduates this semester with a 3.72 GPA in construction management.

Defensive Player of the Year honors were shared by Antoine Wilkinson (Sr., LB, Magnolia, Miss.) and Terian Washington (Sr., LB, Pine Bluff, Ark.).  Wilkinson earned All-MVFC first-team honors for the second straight season after claiming Valley Newcomer of the Year distinction in 2009. He notched 100 tackles in 2010 to give him 213 total stops in two seasons in a Bears' uniform, along with 13 tackles for loss, five sacks and 11 pass break-ups in 22 games. Washington collected 50 tackles this fall while earning All-MVFC honorable mention laurels. He had 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He finished his 42-game career with 157 tackles, including 19.5 for loss, with nine sacks and 11 pass break-ups. 

The Arthur Briggs Award was presented to senior safety Skylar Smith. The award began in 1991 to help perpetuate the memory of the University's long-time athletics director and program's all-time winningest football coach. The honor is presented annually to a senior player for outstanding athletic performance, scholarship, leadership  and character. Smith finished his senior campaign second on the club in tackles for the third year in a row, compiling 82 total tackles, including 6.5 for loss with one interception and five pass break-ups. He broke up 14 passes and collected 258 tackles in 38 career games.

The Bears Team Award for excellence in leadership on and off the field was presented to seniors Erik Dahl (Sr., OC, Olathe, Kan.) and Waylon Richardet (Sr., DE, Perryville, Mo.). Dahl was an MVFC All-Academic honorable mention selection this season after starting all 22 games of his Missouri State career and holding a 3.38 GPA in accounting. Richardet was a preseason All-MVFC pick this fall and earned All-MVFC second-team honors a year ago. He compiled 33 tackles this fall and finished his MSU career with 112 total stops, 15 for loss, and seven sacks.

Offensive Lineman of the Year honors went to Jake Duron (Sr., Springdale, Ark.). The Bears' starting right tackle finished the 2010 campaign with a blocking grade of 84 percent with 63 knockdowns.

Defensive Lineman of the Year distinction went to Levi Moore (Sr., Mountain View, Mo.) who led all MSU players on the defensive line with 46 tackles this season, including 4.5 for loss with 3.5 sacks.

Kaleb Mueller (Jr., Paola, Kan.) was named MSU's Special Teams Player of the Year after serving all 11 games as the team's primary snapper for punts, extra points and field goals in addition to compiling four special teams tackles.

Other awards presented were:

Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year: Duane Atteberry (So., WR, Buffalo, Mo.).

Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year: Geoff Stanford (Fr., LB, Wichita, Kan.).

Training Room Award: Erik Dahl (Sr., OC, Olathe, Kan.).

Tough Son of a Bear Award: Derek Miller (Sr., S, Olathe, Kan.).

The Bears capped a 5-6 season this fall in which Missouri State tied for third place with a 4-4 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Missouri State was also undefeated at home for the first time since 1992, beat three ranked teams and defeated two NCAA Division I playoff teams this season.

Previous recipients of the top team awards are as follows:

 MSU Player of the Year yearly winners: 1982-DE Darrin Newbold, 1983-FS Mike Armentrout, 1984-RB Johnny Longstreet, 1985-RB Keith Williams, 1986-LB Ken Braden, 1987-LB Matt Soraghan, 1988-LB James Turnage, 1989-QB DeAndre Smith, 1990-QB DeAndre Smith, 1991-DT Bill Walter, 1992-FB Jonah White, 1993-RB Anthony Pegues, 1994-LB DeLaun Fowler, 1995-LB DeLaun Fowler, 1996-RB Michael Cosey, 1997-OT Brad Kubik, 1998-QB Derek Jensen,1999-QB Jay Rodgers, 2000-WR Jeff Hewitt, 2001-LB P. J. Jones, 2002-OC Crockett Ladd, 2003-TB Cody Pratt, 2004-TB Cody Pratt and WR Steven Rush, 2005-WR/KR Michael Sparks, 2006-S Mike Radon/OT Justin Williamson, 2007-TB Gerald Davis, 2008-QB Cody Kirby, 2009-TE Clay Harbor, 2010-QB Cody Kirby.

 Arthur Briggs Award yearly winners: 1991-OT Tim McDuffey, 1992-OG Matt Irvin, 1993-CB Willie Parks, 1994-OT Ryan Touhey, 1995-OT Jason Whittle, 1996-TE Corey Roy, 1997-FS Jeff Killeen, 1998-P/K Travis Brawner, 1999-P/K Travis Brawner, 2000-TE Matt White, 2001-TB Jason Ringena, 2002-OC Crockett Ladd, 2003-OC Brad Durham, 2004-OC Brad Durham, 2005-OC David Tillman, 2006-TE Payne Hall, 2007-OC David Tillman, 2008-WR Chris Geisz, 2009-WR Jared Emery, 2010-S Skylar Smith.

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