CHARLESTON, SC - Ben Dupree, Brandon McCladdie and Walker Smith headlined the award winners at The Citadel's annual football banquet held on Thursday night at the Holliday Alumni Center.
Dupree was named the team's offensive player of the year after an historic senior campaign. Dupree etched his name in The Citadel's rushing record book in virtually every category as the versatile triple option quarterback accumulated 2,679 yards through four seasons with the Bulldogs, the sixth most in program history.
The senior signal caller also scored a Southern Conference-leading 18 touchdowns in 2013, the second most in a single season in Citadel history, and finished his career with 36 rushing scores, putting him in sole possession of second place all-time.
The Harrisburg, Pa., native and two-year captain finished his career with seven 100-yard games, including four in 2013, and reached the 1,000 plateau in rushing yards (finishing with 1,008) with 69 yards against seventh-ranked Clemson in the season finale. His 598 career rushing attempts are fifth most in school history.
McCladdie had another huge year at cornerback for the Bulldogs as the senior accumulated 58 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss en route to the team's defensive player of the year award.
The Martinez, Ga., native tallied two interceptions in each of his four seasons, giving him eight in his career and leaving him in a tie for 11th in program history. One of McCladdie's interceptions resulted in a 92-yard return for a touchdown against Wofford his senior season which is tied for the second-longest in Citadel history.
His league-leading 10 passes defended (interceptions + pass breakups) gave him 27 in his career to place him sixth in Citadel history. McCladdie finished his career having played in all 45 games, starting the final 36.
Smith earned this year's special teams player of the year award. The three-year letterwinner played in all 12 games, including his first career start against FBS opponent Old Dominion in week four. In that game Smith blocked a second quarter punt which resulted in a Bulldog touchdown.
Smith was also the recipient of the JB Weber Academic Achievement Award for his 4.0 grade point average last fall. This award honors the player who best reaches his academic potential and who serves as an example for his teammates.
The evening got underway with the recognition of 57 lettermen, including fourth-year winners Dupree, McCladdie, Bay Amrhein, Cullen Brown, Keith Carter, Derek Douglas, Sadath Jean-Pierre, Jim Knowles, Terrance Martin and Darien Robinson.
That was followed by recognition of the members of the 2013 Southern Conference Fall Academic All-Conference Team. That group included Brown (4.0, business administration), Joe Crochet (3.5, business administration), Preston Durham (4.0, biology), Eric Goins (4.0, political science), Brandon McCladdie (3.6, masters of business), Smith (4.0, physical education) and Thomas Warren (3.52, business administration).
Brown, a fifth-year senior offensive lineman, was the winner of the Ann Seignious Award for academic and football excellence. In addition to his work in the classroom, where he earned Gold Stars (3.7 or higher grade point average), he was a second team All-SoCon selection and started all 12 games last season.
The Linwood Sykes Award for outstanding effort not only in games but also in practice and offseason workouts was given to Robinson. The senior B-back rushed for 986 yards and seven touchdowns while catching 14 passes for 183 yards and two scores.
The Citadel Football Association Blood & Guts Award, epitomizing the player who gives total effort on the practice field, was presented to junior linebacker Carl Robinson, a three-year letterman who led the 2013 squad with 92 tackles through 11 games before suffering a knee injury which kept him out of the season finale against Clemson.
Senior Matt Thompson, who played two seasons at quarterback before moving to wide receiver in 2012, was recognized with The Citadel Brigadier Foundation's Team Before Self Award. Thompson caught 15 passes for 135 yards last season and started in nine contests while seeing action in 11.
The Cal McCombs Award, which is given to the player who best represents the virtues of moral character, courage, contribution and commitment, was presented to Carter. Named captain in 2012 and 13, the senior offensive lineman played in 43 career games and started all 12 at left guard last season.
Dupree, Carter, McCladdie and Douglas were the recipients of the Captain's Award. Douglas was a three-year captain for the Bulldogs and recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks last season at defensive tackle. Douglas also received the Team Military Captain Award for the second straight year as the person who best merged his work in football and academics.