Griz Stars Honored at Annual Awards Banquet

Montana head coach Bobby Hauck and his staff honored some of the Grizzlies’ best performers of the year on Sunday at the annual team awards banquet, held at the DoubleTree hotel in Missoula.

Three positional awards were presented along with three awards for “most inspirational player,” “hardest hitter and best tackler,” and the “player who best exemplifies Griz football.” Also presented were the Hauck Family Special Teams Player of the Year Award and the Scout Team Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

In total, 15 players were honored for their 2021 performances in maroon and silver.

The team will vote for the Steve Carlson Award MVP, while the coaches will vote for the offensive and defensive MVPs at the conclusion of the season.

In the positional awards, receivers Mitch Roberts and Samuel Akem were co-winners of the Terry Dillon Award for outstanding back or receiver. It was Akem’s second time winning the Dillon Award, first earning it following his breakout 2018 season.

Senior tackle Conlan Beaver also became a two-time winner as the recipient of the Paul Weskamp Award, which he also first won in 2018. Beaver, one of the most experienced players on the team, has started in a team-high 36 games for the Griz.

Photo courtesy of Grizzly Athletics

In a fitting tribute, Montana re-named the annual award given to the team’s best defensive lineman, honoring a pair of former defensive linemen that died tragically in vehicle accidents – Larry Miller and Jesse Sims, a two-time winner of the award.

The newly-named “Sims-Miller Award” was presented to current D-line senior standouts Joe Babros and Justin Belknap.

The Tony Barbour Award for the player who “who best exemplifies outstanding practice habits and makes an unselfish contribution to the betterment of the Grizzly Football Team” went to the player who was bestowed the #37 legacy jersey from Sims ahead of his senior season in Jace Lewis. The Townsend native is set to finish his career as one of the top tacklers in Montana history.

This year’s Pat Norwood award went to a pair of Grizzlies who each battled back from injury and illness to help lead the team into the playoffs in senior quarterback Cam Humphrey and senior safety Gavin Robertson.

The award for the team’s best tackler and hardest hitter has a new honoree this season as well, now named after Grizzly Sports Hall of Famer and former NFL defensive MVP Doug Betters. This year’s “Doug Betters Golden Helmet Award” went to star linebacker Patrick O’Connell, who leads the Big Sky in sacks, and two-time recipient Robby Hauck.

Two future stars of Griz football were also honored with the Offensive and Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year awards.

Defensive end Alex Hurlburt won the award for the defense, while quarterback Daniel Britt won for the offense.

2021 Grizzly Football Awards

Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year
• Alex Hurlburt

Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year
• Daniel Britt

Hauck Family Special Teams Player of the Year Award
• Trevin Gradney
• Malik Flowers
• Matthew O’Donoghue

Terry Dillon Award
Honoring the outstanding back or receiver – was established in 1964 following the accidental death of former Grizzly Terry Dillon.
• Mitch Roberts
• Samuel Akem

Tony Barbour Award
Given in memory of a loyal Grizzly Fan. It is presented annually to a UM player “who best exemplifies outstanding practice habits and makes an unselfish contribution to the betterment of the Grizzly Football Team.”
• Jace Lewis

Paul Weskamp Award
Established in memory of Paul Weskamp, a tackle on Ed Chinske’s 1954 Grizzly Team. The award honors UM’s outstanding offensive lineman and was established by citizens of Ronan.
• Conlan Beaver

Sims-Miller Award
The Sims-Miller Award is given in memory of two great Grizzly defensive linemen the world lost too soon in vehicle accidents. Jesse Sims, from Stevensville, lettered for UM from 2016-19 and carried on Montana’s legacy #37 jersey tradition. Larry Miller was a two-time All-American on UM’s 1969 and 1970 Big Sky Champion teams, and was also a conference champion wrestler. The award honors the team’s outstanding defensive lineman.
• Joe Babros
• Justin Belknap

Doug Betters Golden Helmet Award
Honors the best tackler and hardest hitter on the team. It was set up on a nation-wide basis by Coca-Cola in 1967.
• Robby Hauck
• Patrick O’Connell

Pat Norwood Award
Pat Norwood was a four-year starter at offensive tackle for the Grizzlies (1979-82) from Billings who died of cancer in 1983. This award is given to the most inspirational player, who oftentimes had to overcome an injury.
• Cam Humphrey
• Gavin Robertson