GREENSBORO, N.C. —
University of Miami redshirt junior defensive end Shayon Green and former Tift County Blue Devil has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference's 2012 Brian Piccolo Award co-winner, ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced Thursday. Green, a former Tift County Blue Devil, shares the honor with Florida State senior running back Chris Thompson.
"It is an honor. It means so much to me I don't know really what to say," Green said.
The Piccolo Award has been given annually since 1972 in memory of the late Brian Piccolo to the "most courageous" football player in the ACC. Piccolo was the 1965 ACC Athlete of the Year and played for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short when he was stricken with cancer. His courageous fight against that disease was an inspiration to the Bears and the entire football community.
"After what I have read about him, to try to compare our stories brought a tear to my eye," said Green.
Green had to overcome four different major injuries. He twice tore the ACL in his right knee, once tore the meniscus in his right knee and also suffered a wrist dislocation forcing him to miss all or a major part of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. Finally healthy, Green led the Hurricanes in tackles and was one of the key leaders on the young Miami defense, with 38 of his 67 tackles unassisted. Green also added 2.0 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. He is the first Miami defensive lineman to lead the Hurricanes in tackles for a season in more than 30 years. "This is a great bonus to an outstanding season,” he said.
Miami, which went 7-5 this season, was to have taken part in the ACC championship game this Saturday against Florida State, but opted not partipate in postseason games. With the football season now over, Green is working towards the future. The redshirt junior said, "(Right now) I am in the off season program and working on finishing school strong."
"Shayon is an amazing individual with an unparalleled work ethic," Miami head coach Al Golden said. "I cannot think of anyone who exemplifies the ideals of Brian Piccolo or is more deserving of this award than him. He has overcome a dislocated wrist and three separate knee surgeries to become our leading tackler and team captain. His commitment and perseverance is an inspiration to us all."
Green is the third Miami player to be chosen to receive the Piccolo Award in the eight years since the Hurricanes became an ACC member, joining Frank Gore (2004) and Glenn Sharpe (2006).