Posted: Sunday, 02 December 2012 10:02PM

Bears honor Schaffitzel at banquet

SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri State sophomore Caleb Schaffitzel (S, Fair Grove, Mo.) took home seven honors, including Team MVP and Media Player of the Year, at the Bears' annual Football Recognition Banquet held at Plaster Student Union on Sunday (Dec. 2).

Schaffitzel registered a team-high 109 tackles this season and snagged 5 interceptions with 11 passes defended. He was one of just two sophomores on the MVFC All-Academic first team and is currently tied for 8th nationally in interceptions per game (0.45) and 24th in tackles per game (9.91). He is on the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot, is a two-time MVFC Defensive Player of the Week, two-time CFPA National Defensive Back of the Week and one-time CFPA National Defensive Player of the Week this season.

The MSU Player of the Year award was known as the Coors Player of the Year Award from its inception in 1982 until 2008.

Schaffitzel was also presented with the team's Lifter of the Year Award and Tough Son of a Bear Award, as well as recognition for his three Media Player of the Week honors, MVFC All-Conference laurels and MVFC All-Academic Team distinction.

The other premier honor of the banquet went to senior tight end Matt Thayer (Bellevue, Neb.) who was named as the recipient of the Arthur Briggs Award. The award is presented annually to a senior player for outstanding athletic performance, scholarship, leadership  and character. It has been presented every year since 1991 to help perpetuate the memory of the University's long-time athletics director and the program's all-time winningest football coach.

Thayer was an honorable mention All-MVFC pick for the second straight year and picked up his second Academic All-MVFC selection in as many seasons. He tallied 38 pass receptions, second on the team, for 294 yards and a touchdown. He had a career-high 8 catches for 72 yards against Southern Illinois (Sept. 22).

Coach Terry Allen's staff named Randy Richards (Sr., OL, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) as its 2012 Offensive MVP, while Nate Davis (Sr., OLB, Liberal, Kan.) was named as the club's Defensive MVP.  Richards was also awarded the Offensive Lineman of the Year honors.

Richards earned second-team All-MVFC honors after grading out at 85 percent for the season with a 98 percent assignment grade and 56 knockdown blocks. He started all 11 games at right tackle.

Davis started all 11 games at outside linebacker and registered 75 tackles, second on the club. He had 44 solo stops, a team-high 9 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.

The Bears Team Award for excellence in leadership on and off the field was presented to seniors Harrison Menke (OL, Joplin, Mo.) and Pat Fornadel (OLB, Pittsburgh, Pa.). Menke served as the team's primary center the last two seasons and made 22 straight starts, while Fornadel played 15 games over two years as a hard-working member of the Bears' linebacker corps.

Mike Crutcher (So., S, Wentzville, Mo.) also was recognized by the athletic training staff as co-recipient of the Tough Son of a Bear Award, along with Schaffitzel. Crutcher started all 11 games at free safety and recorded 67 total tackles and a pair of interceptions.

Defensive Lineman of the Year honors went to Eric Pearce (Jr., NT, Springdale, Ark.). Pearce started all 11 games and had 36 total tackles on the season. His seven-tackle effort at Indiana State on Oct. 6 was a career high and helped him earn MSU's Defensive Player of the Week honors. He also earned Special Teams Player of the Week distinction for the game against Southern Illinois (Sept.22).

Matt Swan (Jr., TE, Springfield, Mo.) was named MSU's Special Teams Player of the Year. He saw action in every contest in 2012 and tallied 4 stops and a blocked kick. He also had a pair of pass receptions for a total of 17 yards this season. He was a three-time MSU Special Teams Player of the Week.

Zac Hoover (Fr., WR, Grain Valley, Mo.) was named Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year, and Dylan Cole (Fr., OLB, Rogersville, Mo.) was named Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. Both players redshirted during the 2012 season and will have four seasons of eligibility remaining.

The event also gave the coaching staff an opportunity to recognize conference award recipients and team captains. Earning team captain awards were Richards, Cadarrius Dotson (Sr., WR, Memphis, Tenn.), Thayer, Tevan Ferguson (Sr., NT, Nashville, Tenn.) and Davis. All-conference selections were: Schaffitzel (first team), Dorian Buford (Jr., WR, Florissant, Mo., first team), Richards (second team), and honorable mention selections Davis, Thayer and Anthony Grady (Jr., DE, Texarkana, Ark.). Ryan Heaston (RFr., RB, Cordova, Tenn.) was an MVFC All-Newcomer pick, while MVFC All-Academic Team picks Schaffitzel (first team), Thayer (first team) and honorable mention selections Kurt Kutter (Jr., G, O'Fallon, Mo.), Austin Witmer (Jr., K, Grand Island, Neb.) and Andrew Beisel (So., ILB, Fenton, Mo.) were also recognized.
Missouri State finished 3-8 overall in 2012, but ended the season with wins in three of its last five games. The Bears captured a road win at Illinois State, an NCAA Division I playoff qualifier, and had the defending FCS national champion and top-ranked North Dakota State on the ropes at Plaster Field on Nov. 21, a narrow 21-17 loss. MSU was 3-5 in the MVFC to finish in eighth place.

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