Dec. 10, 2013
*Press conference quotes at bottom
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Senior linebacker Shaquil Barrett has been named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, the conference announced Tuesday morning. He is just the second Colorado State player to earn the MW Defensive Player of the Year Award, and one of just six Rams to win either of the conference’s top player awards, first since 2003.
Barrett helped lead the Rams to a 7-6 record, their best regular season finish since 2003, and a berth in the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl against Washington State on Dec. 21.
A native of Baltimore, Md., Barrett has racked up 74 tackles in 13 starts, including a Mountain West record 20.5 tackles for loss, which ranks fourth nationally. Barrett also ranks third in the NCAA FBS with 12 sacks.
“It is a huge honor winning this award,” Barrett said. “I’d like to thank the guys surrounding me on the team who helped me reach the great numbers that I was able to achieve. I played with a chip on my shoulder after conference media days when I saw a lot of guys in front of me who were predicted to win the award. It lit a fire under me. Lastly, I’d like to thank my coaches who put me in this position.”
Barrett began to receive national recognition after the Rams’ Sept. 28 contest vs. UTEP when the senior linebacker recorded 13 tackles, including four tackles for loss and three sacks, to go with two forced fumbles. That performance earned him Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week as well as College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Performer of the Week and Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
“This is a great honor for Shaq and for our whole organization,” said Head Coach Jim McElwain. “It is a reflection of a lot of hard work and investment in himself and in his teammates, and I couldn’t be more proud of what he has done to receive this award.”
Barrett has also blocked three kicks this season, the most by a Ram in a single season dating back to at least 1990.
Barrett is the first Colorado State player to win the MW Defensive Player of the Year award since linebacker Rick Crowell in 2000. That season Crowell registered 125 tackles (81 solo), three interceptions and one sack. Three Rams have earned four MW Offensive Player of the Year honors: Running back Kevin McDougal (1999), quarterback Matt Newton (2000) and quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt (2002 and ’03).
QUOTES FROM PRESS CONFERENCE (12/8/13)
Shaquil Barrett, Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year
“It felt good to know my hard work paid off. I just want to thank everybody played a role in me achieving this: My team, the defensive line, everybody who encouraged me and had faith in me; all of the coaches, specifically our position coaches, Coach (Joey) Porter, Coach (Marty) English, Coach Skip (Tim Skipper) and Coach (Greg Lupfer). I just want to thank all those guys because they played such a role in me getting this award.”
(on his demeanor being humble)
“My father always told me just to be humble. If you’re good you don’t have to brag, other people will do it for you, so I just pretty much live by that motto for most of my life. I’ve just been humble pretty much since Day 1.”
(on whether he thought this kind of season was possible)
“Just with all of the hard work in the offseason, I knew coming into it I could potentially have a big season along with all of the rest of the guys on the defense. The coaches just put us in the right place to help us out to produce to the best of our abilities. I really didn’t know specifically that I was going to come out and have as good a season as I did this year, I just knew I was going to come out and play every play one-hundred percent. It just led to me getting a lot of tackles-for-loss and a lot of sacks, and I’m just happy and proud.”
(on his style as a quiet leader)
“That’s the type of leader I am. Every now and then I get vocal but I prefer to be on the field and just show everybody the right way to do things. You don’t have to make a play as long as you’re doing your job. Don’t just play for yourself but play with in the scheme and the plays will come.”
(on whether he felt like he was a better player this year with everyone focusing on doing just their job)
“I’m a better player because of the people around me. I’ve built relationship with them, built bonds, and I know that they know everything they’re supposed to be doing on the field and off the field. I know they’re doing good in school too because every Thursday we go over grades for the linebackers and I see their grades and I have a lot of faith in them that they’re going to do their job on and off the field. The trust is a big part of it, because if you trust your guys you don’t have to try to do everything, you don’t have to do their jobs. If I just trust that I can do my job and my job only, I’ll make plays doing my job.”
(on the possibility of playing in the NFL)
“I did the best that I possibly could and hopefully that’s enough for me to plead my case to get a shot at the next level. I think I have a pretty good shot. When I get my opportunities I just have to make the most of them.”
(on whether there was one game that stands out more than others to him this season)
“I would saw the UTEP game (Sept. 28) because I had my career best with three sacks in one game, and it felt good to make a play when we needed a play to be made. That’s the type of leader I am, a lead-by-example guy, so I was glad I could (do that). I still did it by doing my job, I wasn’t trying to do somebody else’s job also. It’s just doing your job and giving one-hundred percent effort, and you can get things done that way.”
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