Football Hosts Annual Award Banquet
Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin
The Lions recognized the senior class and 19 individuals received awards at the event
NEW YORK — Columbia football handed out 12 awards to 19 student-athletes, and the Lions recognized the Class of 2023 at its annual 2022 football awards banquet Saturday evening at the Forum.
The evening began with an hour-long welcome reception, followed by the banquet program featuring a season recap, guest introductions, highlight videos and remarks from captains Mitch Moyer, Stew Newblatt, Scott Valentas and Ryan Young.
Valentas went on to earn Most Valuable Defensive Player and the prestigious Sid Luckman Most Valuable Player, which goes to the overall MVP of the team. The three-time All-Ivy League selection led the conference in solo tackles (63) and interceptions (four) and passes defended (13).
Joey Giorgi was the Most Valuable Offensive Player after leading the squad in rushing with 624 yards and five touchdowns.
The David W. Smyth Memorial Cup, an award for an outstanding player displaying intangibles such as spirit, leadership, sportsmanship, and loyalty, went to senior offensive lineman Zach Minch and sophomore defensive lineman Patrick Passalacqua.
Young and Parker Lefton were presented with the Head Coach Career Achievement Award. Young finished his career with 1,749 rushing yards, good for third on Columbia’s all-time list, and was a three-year starter for the Lions. He earned honorable mention All-Ivy League honors in 2021. Lefton was a three-year starter at long snapper and dependable as they come at the position.
The Special Teams Award was split between placekicker Alex Felkins and punter William Hughes. Felkins, a three-time All-Ivy League selection, made 11 field goals and was a perfect 28-for-28 on PATs. He also set a pair of Columbia career records for most made extra points (75) and points by a placekicker (183). Hughes stepped in during the Lions’ final four games, averaged 43.6 yards per attempt, and had five punts of over 50 yards, which was tied for second in the conference despite his limited action.
First-year defensive lineman Joshua Powell was named the team’s Ken Germann Freshman Award for the most accomplished and outstanding first-year/rookie player. Powell played in all 10 contests, racking up 10 tackles and had two TFLS in the season finale against Cornell.
For the second consecutive year, the Lions’ starting center earned Jack Armstrong Most Outstanding Award as the team’s most outstanding offensive lineman. Senior Will Hamilton picked up the honor after starting all 10 games and helped Columbia average 148.0 yards per game on the ground.
Two players, senior quarterback Caden Bell and sophomore defensive back Seth Parker, were awarded the Lions’ Maniatty-Remmer Unsung Hero Award, given to a player whose role is not always obvious to the outside observer, but without his contribution, the team would not be as successful. Bell stepped into the starting role midway through the season and completed 60.0 percent of his passes for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns. Parker posted 36 tackles with an interception and four pass breakups in 10 starts in 2022.
Wideout JJ Jenkins and defensive lineman Justin Townsend were named Columbia’s Lou Little Coaches Most Improved Player award, given to the player who, through extraordinary efforts, improved his play and maximized his production. Jenkins finished his senior campaign with 38 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns, while Townsend emerged as one of the best pass rushers in the Ivy League after registering six sacks as a sophomore.
The team’s John J. Cirigliano Ironman Award, given to the players who overcome adversity to become strong contributors to the team on the field, went to sophomore wide receiver Bryson Canty and senior defensive back Fara’ad McCombs. Canty became a first-team All-Ivy League selection after registering 53 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. McCombs posted a career-best 64 tackles and had a pair of interceptions at Brown.
Newblatt and Moyer each took home the Phil Fusco Award, given to a player who exhibits overall leadership both on and off the field.
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2022 COLUMBIA FOOTBALL AWARD WINNERS
Saturday, February 18, 2023 | Annual Football Awards Banquet | The Forum, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.
Sid Luckman Most Valuable Player Award: Scott Valentas (LB)
Most Valuable Offensive Player: Joey Giorgi (RB)
Most Valuable Defensive Player: Scott Valentas (LB)
David W. Smyth Memorial Cup: Zach Minch (OL), Patrick Passalacqua
Head Coach Career Achievement Award: Ryan Young (RB), Parker Lefton (LS)
Special Teams Award: Alex Felkins (PK), William Hughes (P)
Ken Gerrmann Freshman of the Year Award: Joshua Powell (DL)
Jack Armstrong Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award: Will Hamilton (C)
Maniatty-Remmer Unsung Hero Award: Caden Bell (QB), Seth Parker (DB)
Lou Little Coaches Most Improved Award: JJ Jenkins (WR), Justin Townsend (DL)
John J. Cirigliano Ironman Award: Bryson Canty (WR), Fara’ad McCombs (DB)
Phil Fusco Award: Mitch Moyer (DL), Stew Newblatt (OL)
Campbell Murff Captains Award: Mitch Moyer (DL), Stew Newblatt (OL), Scott Valentas (LB), Ryan Young (RB)