Dan Herron was named Ohio State MVP despite missing six games while serving NCAA-mandated suspensions.
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COLUMBUS — What will be remembered as one of the most unusual years in Ohio State football history will include Sunday night’s annual team banquet, where the captains for the recently concluded 2011 season were officially named.
Senior center Mike Brewster, senior linebacker Andrew Sweat, junior defensive lineman John Simon and senior running back Dan Herron were designated as captains for the Buckeyes, who face Florida in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2.
Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell had announced at the start of the season that due to the circumstances the Buckeyes were facing, he wanted the leadership role on the team to be shared by all. Fickell named individual captains for each game, but postponed any official action on the honorary roles.
In the past year, Ohio State had seen former head coach Jim Tressel forced to resign, starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor leave early for the NFL, and had several top-line players, including Herron, serving multi-game suspensions.
The Buckeyes’ players voted on their captains at the conclusion of their 6-6 season, with the results of that vote being announced during Sunday night’s affair held in the Archie Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union on campus.
“It is an honor that my teammates have selected me to be a captain,” Brewster said. “I wish things could have gone better. But not one day went by where guys had their heads down. We always found a way to get things done.”
Herron, who was forced to sit out the first six games of the season while serving NCAA-mandated suspensions for his role in the tattoo and memorabilia scandal that brought down Tressel, and for being paid by a booster for hours he did not work, was also named the Ohio State MVP despite appearing in just six games.
Herron rushed for 593 yards and scored five touchdowns in his half season of play, pushing him into the top 10 rushers in Ohio State history with 2,787 career yards.
“Playing at Ohio State has been a dream come true, and it has truly been an honor,” Herron said after receiving the top individual award. “All the memories and relationships I’ve built here are amazing. I want to thank my teammates for just being great teammates.”
Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller won the Archie Griffin award as the most outstanding offensive player, while the Bill Willis award as the most outstanding defensive player went to Simon. The Bo Rein Award as the team’s most inspirational player went to senior defensive back Nate Ebner.
Buckeyes land top lineman recruit
Noah Spence, widely regarded as the No. 1 defensive end in the country and one of the top five high school players overall, has given Ohio State and new Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer an oral commitment to play for OSU in the 2012 season.
Spence (6-4, 245), from Bishop McDevitt High School in central Pennsylvania, made his official visit to the Ohio State campus Sunday, then confirmed he would be a Buckeye.
“I just felt so comfortable,” Spence told The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News Sunday night. “I’m more happy than relieved. I found what I was looking for at Ohio State.”
Spence had been pursued by Penn State, LSU, Florida, Notre Dame, and USC. Meyer and current Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell attended Spence’s Pennsylvania state high school championship game Friday night, along with coaches from LSU, Penn State, and other schools.
Contact Matt Markey at: email@example.com, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @MattMarkey.