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Award show roundup with a look at 2011

Notre Dame's football award show Saturday ended with a look ahead to next season.

Receiver Michael Floyd and safety Harrison Smith were named captains for next season. The announcement of Smith as one of the captains means it is probably safe to assume that the senior was granted a fifth-year at the university.

Entering Saturday night, only kicker David Ruffer was known to be given a fifth year after coach Brian Kelly announced that the former walk-on would be on scholarship in 2011.

Notre Dame will announce all the players who were granted a fifth year Tuesday. There are eight other players along with Smith and Ruffer who were eligible to apply of a fifth year.

The other announcement pertaining to next season was next year's award show, Kelly said next season's award show will be Dec. 9.

Floyd was just named a captain for next season, he was also named this season MVP.

Other award winners Saturday were: running back Robert Hughes (Nick Pietrosante Award, given to player who best exemplified courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride), offensive tackle Zack Martin (Guardian of the Year Award given to top offensive lineman), nose guard Ian Williams (Moose Krause lineman of the year), kicker David Ruffer (Rockne Student-Athlete Award) quarterback Tommy Rees (inaugural Next Man In Award), running back Cameron Roberson (offensive scout team player of the year), linebacker Kendall Moore (defensive scout team player of the year), tight end Tyler Eifert (offensive newcomer of the year), linebacker Prince Shembo (defensive newcomer of the year) and kick returner Bennett Jackson (special teams player of the year).

Eifert is a former Bishop Dwenger star, who took over the starting role for Kyle Rudolph after Rudolph suffered a season-ending hamstring injury against Pittsburgh on Oct. 9.

"It was real exciting," Eifert said. "I didn't see it coming. It's real special from not even thinking you're going to play a very big role this season to being singled out at the awards. It was really cool."

Eifert also said this year's award show had a much different feel than last year's banquet.

After the 2009 season, Notre Dame closed its banquet to the public, coach Charlie Weis was fired and players were learning about their new coach at this time.

"It was much better and much higher spirits," Eifert said. "It was fun. I like this format, it was much better too. It was a lot better."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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