Zach Miller received yet another accolade from Arizona State before he possibly departs for an NFL career. The junior tight end was named the Sun Devils’ most valuable offensive player at the team’s awards banquet at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale on Sunday night.
Miller, a 6-foot-5, 259-pounder who had team highs in receptions (49), yards (481) and touchdown catches (four) this season, also received the Pat Tillman Valor Award.
After Saturday’s victory against Arizona, Miller reiterated that he will apply for a draft projection from the NFL, then make his decision after the Sun Devils’ bowl game.
“I really didn’t think about if this was my last game,” Miller said on Saturday. “Now that we’re going to a bowl, I’m glad that I’ve got at least one more game left.”
Junior safety Josh Barrett was named the most valuable defensive player, senior safety Zach Catanese received honors as special teams player of the year.
Among the other award winners:
• Junior receiver Tyrice Thompson; special teams iron man.
• Junior center Mike Pollak, most outstanding offensive lineman.
• Junior defensive tackle Michael Marquardt, Clyde B. Smith Award for academic achievement.
• Defensive end Dexter Davis, most outstanding freshman.
• Offensive lineman Paul Fanaika and senior linebacker Beau Manutai, most improved players.
• Freshman quarterback Dax Crum and sophomore linebacker Chad Lindsey, top scout-team players.
ASU will not practice this week as it awaits word of its bowl situation. The Pac-10’s assignments will not become finalized until after UCLA plays Southern California on Saturday.
If USC wins, as expected, UCLA, ASU, Oregon, Arizona and Washington State will be tied for fourth in the Pac-10 with a 4-5 league record. With 7-5 overall records, Oregon and ASU are the most likely candidates for the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21.
The school that does not go to Vegas would land in the Dec. 27 Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. That would leave the Hawaii Bowl to choose from UCLA, Arizona and WSU, all 6-6.
Three Pac-10 bowl tickets are nearly set: USC (Bowl Championship Series title game), California (Holiday) and Oregon State (Sun).
At least four Sun Devil seniors are scheduled to take part in all-star games in January.
Catanese and defensive lineman Jordan Hill are playing in the Las Vegas All-American Classic on Jan. 15. Five days later, Catanese takes the field with receiver/ kick returner Terry Richardson and kicker Jesse Ainsworth at the East-West Shrine Game in Houston.
Defensive lineman Loren Howard was invited to the Shrine Game, but he has been out all year with a quadriceps injury and will apply for a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA.