Thunder's Brandon Taylor wins Week 13 af2 award
CHICAGO - Oklahoma City fullback/linebacker FREDDIE ROLLINS, Arkansas wide receiver AARON FAIROOZ and Mahoning Valley defensive back BRANDON TAYLOR have been named the JLS Ironman, Russell Athletic Offensive Player and Aaron's Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, for Week 13 of 2009, the af2's 10th anniversary season. In addition to these three awards, the af2 is also highlighting the player who makes the best catch and the best hit of the week. The Big Game Catch of the Week Award for Week 13 goes to Tennessee Valley wide receiver JEREMY GRIER and the NiFTy Hit of the Week is awarded to Rio Grande Valley defensive back DERRICK HARRIS.
JLS IRONMAN OF THE WEEK
Rollins (6-1, 245, Mary-Hardin Baylor), in his second af2 season, wins his first JLS Ironman of the Week Award, and takes home the first player of the week award for Oklahoma City this season. Rollins had a strong all-around effort for the Yard Dawgz in their record-setting Week 13 win against Corpus Christi. He finished with a game-high 61 yards rushing and two rushing TDs on 10 carries in the team's 93-41 home win. He also caught two passes for 29 yards, including a 25-yard TD reception with 47 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Yard Dawgz a 56-19 lead. On the defensive side of the ball, he recorded four solo tackles, all on kickoffs, to pin the Sharks back deep in their own territory. Rollins ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards (215) and is tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns with 14. Oklahoma City has won three straight games and currently stands in second place in the Central Division at 7-5.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Fairooz (6-6, 218, Central Arkansas) had an impressive af2 debut with Arkansas in Week 13 to help the Twisters earn a one-point home win against Amarillo, 63-62. The rookie from Central Arkansas turned in one of the top performances of the week with 14 catches for 169 yards and five TDs, including a 23-yard score with 19 seconds remaining in the game that gave the Twisters the lead for good. Fairooz' fantastic first outing gives the Twisters hope they may have found a suitable replacement for Rod Harper, another well-regarded rookie who was leading the af2 in scoring and receiving before earning a recent NFL contract with the New Orleans Saints. With the win, the Twisters improved to 8-4 overall and continue to maintain their lead in the Southwest Division.
AARON'S DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Taylor (5-11, 180, New Hampshire), in his second season, had an impressive performance in Mahoning Valley's tough loss to the Manchester Wolves in Week 13. Despite the result (59-53 loss), Taylor was a defensive force with seven solo tackles, including one tackle for loss and set a new Thunder single-game record with three interceptions (55 INT return yards). The New Hampshire alum leads the team in tackles (67), interceptions (4) and fumble recoveries (2). He also ranks second on the squad with seven tackles for loss. This is the first Defensive Player of the Week Award of Taylor's career. With the loss, the Thunder slipped to 1-11 on the season.
THE BIG GAME CATCH OF THE WEEK
Grier (6-1, 208, Tennessee Chattanooga), in his third af2 season, is the Week 13 recipient of The Big Game Catch of the Week Award. This is Grier's first Big Game Catch of the Week Award. The Tennessee Chattanooga alum had 11 catches for 96 yards and a game-high three TDs in the Vipers' 54-29 Week home win against South Division rival Florida. One of his 11 grabs was a 12-yard beauty for a first down with just over three minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Sprinting down the left sideboard, Grier made a leaping, one-handed grab, hauling the ball in with his right hand. Grier has racked up 68 catches for 633 yards and 14 TDs for the Vipers this season. Tennessee Valley currently leads the South Division at 9-3.
NIFTY HIT OF THE WEEK
Harris (5-10, 185, Sam Houston St.), in his third af2 season, has been awarded the NiFTy Hit of the Week, a new weekly honor that highlights the player who makes the best hit or tackle of the week. The Dorados defensive back rocked Bossier-Shreveport WR Thyron Lewis with just over 20 seconds left to play in the first half of the team's Week 13 home game against the BattleWings. Harris connected with Lewis just as he hauled in a 6-yard pass, driving him straight back off the ground and onto the turf. Lewis still managed to hold onto the ball despite the jarring hit. Harris finished with 5.0 tackles on the night as Rio Grande Valley lost a heartbreaker at home, 59-56. The Sam Houston St. alum has 16.5 tackles, two interceptions and fjve pass breakups in eight games played for the Dorados (6-5) this season.
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