The offensive MVP and defense MVP awards are distributed, now we move on to the most improved player. Like before, our choices are up front followed by a poll and the comments section for you to voice your opinion.
Tommy Perry: Shaq Washington. Shaq came out of nowhere to reel in 78 catches for 783 yards. He had a knack for getting open in the middle of the field, and I think that we will see that a lot next year with Gunner Kiel or Bennie Coney as QB. Both he and the departing Anthony McClung proved to be the most reliable wideouts in a surprising deep and talented core of receivers. I’m excited to see Shaq, Max Morrison, and Chris Moore burn defenses again next year.
Ben Levin (@LevinMachine): Shaq Washington – Shaq increased his receiving yards 34-fold from 23 yards in 2012 to 783 yards in 2013. This is a no-brainer. The sky is the limit with Gunner Kiel throwing to Shaq and Mekale McKay next year.
Spencer Tuckerman (@spncrtckrmn): Shaq Washington: Just like with the Offensive MVP, it’s really hard to make an argument for anyone else. Shaq Washington came out of nowhere to lead the team in receptions. Last year as a freshman, he accounted for 3 catches. This season he raked in 77. That’s incredible, especially for a 5’9″ HS quarterback. If Brendon Kay was gonna break passing records this season, he was gonna need someone other than McClung to step up. Shaq did exactly that. Although he seemed to have trouble finding the endzone, it was still an absolutely monster year. Prior to the season, I was a bit worried about McClung’s departure, but the Bearcats’ future looks bright with Shaq Washington and Mekale McKay catching passes.
Mike Jorgensen (@Bearnati): Shaq Washington. I think McClung had a good career but I expected a great one from him. The player that got me most excited this year was MeKale McKay but I don’t think he’s eligible for this superlative since he was a transfer. Chris Moore looks very intriguing and I can’t wait to see him play next year. All in all though, Shaq Washington had a terrific season and kind of came out of nowhere. I remember thinking highly of him when he was recruited and then felt like I didn’t see much of him until the second half of this season. 3 receptions in 2011, 3 receptions in 2012 and 78 for 783 yards this year. 10 yards per catch and he really bailed us out a few times. It was criminal how infrequently he got the ball in the red zone as he only ended with one TD catch but I think that shows he’s a team player. He had back to back games with over 100 receiving yards and wasn’t belly aching about statistics and touch downs. He should be a great target next year if he picks up where he left off.
Chris Bains: Looks like Shaq Washington is a popular pick but I’m going to go against the grain and say Silverberry Mouhon. After taking over for an injured Walter Stewart in 2012, we really didn’t know what we were going to get with the redshirt freshman from Norcross, Georgia. He showed spurts of greatness in his 19 tackle, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 sack performance that season but really exploded as the full time starter in 2013. 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks is a monstrous improvement from a monstrous defensive end. And he’s only a sophomore! I can’t wait to see how his career unfolds at Cincinnati.