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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, December 08, 2018 1:00 am

Tranquill, Book claim Irish team honors

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

SOUTH BEND – After a 12-0 regular season and a spot in the College Football Playoff for the first time in program history, there were plenty of Notre Dame players deserving of recognition for their contributions to the team's undefeated campaign.

Quarterback Ian Book was named the team's Monogram Most Valuable Player, while Fort Wayne native Drue Tranquill earned the Rockne Student-Athlete Award for the third straight season and fellow linebacker Te'von Coney was the Defensive Player of the Year. Receiver Miles Boykin was the Offensive Player of the Year.

Those and other honors were presented Friday night in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center in South Bend at ECHOES | 18, this year's version of the annual Irish postseason awards ceremony. 

In all, 19 players were honored at the 98th ECHOES ceremony, which was hosted by Aaron Taylor, a two-time All-American offensive lineman with the Irish in 1992 and 1993.

Book captured the MVP award as voted on by the players after stepping into the starting lineup and going 8-0. He completed more than 70 percent of his passes for 19 touchdowns and close to 2,500 yards. His passing efficiency was No. 8 among all quarterbacks in FBS football.

“It's a tremendous honor,” Book said of his award. “Just to see some of the players on that list (of former MVPs), I'm extremely thankful. I could not have done it with just myself.”

Book also discussed the Irish's upcoming Cotton Bowl matchup against No. 2 Clemson on Dec. 29.

“There's doubters out there and we're going to use that just to fuel us,” he said. “This whole team is ready. We just have something special. ... We're all excited and we've got some unfinished business.”

Although Book took over as the starter in Week 4, it was fellow quarterback Brandon Wimbush who captured the Next Man In Award. Wimbush began the year at the top of the depth chart at quarterback and went 4-0 as a starter.

Tranquill won his fourth career award at ECHOES, and presenter Ron Powlus, the associate athletic director for football operations, made clear the Carroll graduate could have won several awards Friday. 

“I think the legacy Drue will leave is the idea of being an All-American in every phase of life,” cornerback Julian Love said in a video recognizing the linebacker. “He balls in the classroom, he balls in the field and he's the best person to be around, you can ask anyone.”

Last year, Tranquill used his award speech to announce that he'd return for another season with the Irish. On Friday, he made special mention of Irish superfan Keith Penrod, who suffers from cerebral palsy. 

“Keith, I love you so much, you're the reason Notre Dame is so special to me,” Tranquill said. “It's the people that make it special.”

Punter Tyler Newsome, the first punter to be a captain since the early 1980s, won the Nick Pietrosante Award for “exemplifying the values of courage, loyalty and teamwork.” 

“Boys, I love you,” Newsome told his teammates. “We're not done yet, let's keep this grind going, we've got two more games.”

dsinn@jg.net