The 2012 season may not have been what it was a year ago, but chemistry and toughness remains the same for the players and program of the WSU Warrior football team. In December, athletes were rewarded for their play at the annual football banquet.
Redshirt junior linebacker Ed Viverette was awarded Defensive Most Valuable Player. But he’s most looking forward to his senior year.
“It’ll be my last hurrah. I want to go out with a bang,” Viverette said. Fellow linebacker Nick Thomas said of Viverette, “He’s been determined to be great since he got here. He wants to help this team in any way he can. His production speaks for itself. He’s going to be one of those most feared players in the conference next year. Every game, opponents are going to have to look for ways to account for him. It’s all about hard work with him.”
On the other side of the coin, Offensive Rookie of the Year honors went to 6-foot-3 tight end Trent Brodbeck. “It was pretty hard to come in and learn things really fast, so it was a great reward for all of that,” said Brodbeck. He played in all 10 contests for the team this year.
Jamiil Williams, who dressed for all 10 games and played in nine, earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year title with his play at cornerback. “I was very happy that my team would pick me; that I stepped up enough to be deserving of rookie of the year.”
Special Teams Most Valuable Player was given to place kicker/punter Stefan Terleckyj, who had quite a season becoming WSU’s most leading scoring kicker. “My main goal when I play each game is to try to earn that award,” Terleckyj said. He also recently received All-Academic Excellence accolades from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the conference in which the Warriors play.
The Ron Solack Memorial "35" Award, named after the player who wore the jersey first to be retired at Wayne State, was awarded to Pat Cecile. “The award is given to the guy who plays with the most pride and has the most passion. It was a great honor to receive that,” said Cecile. A redshirt senior defensive end, he pondered his final season with the team. “Football has been something that I’ve been doing, and all the seniors I came in with have been doing, basically their whole lives,” he said. “To be done with it, it was kind of tough, but I felt we left a good legacy at Wayne State.” Additionally, Cecile received All-Academic honors from the GLIAC conference.
Graduate student Nick Thomas, highly regarded as a mentor among many of his teammates, was presented with the Scholar-Athlete Award. “School is one of my top priorities since I’ve been here, especially knowing that there comes a point in time, in every athlete’s life, where sports aren’t always going to be there.”
Thomas also received All-Academic Excellence accolades from the conference. He graduated with honors in May and is in the first year of his MBA.
Junior fullback Chet Privett was honored with the Ultimate Warrior award. “It means a lot to have won that award out of a hundred guys on the team,” he said. “Throughout the whole year playing, working out, watching film and going to class, it just puts it all together. To win that award and to be seen by my coaches and teammates, it means a lot to me.”
“I absolutely love football,” added Privett. “My dad signed me up when I was seven-years-old to play little league football. I remember my first day I was out there and they started to make us run and do workouts and stuff like that. I went back to my dad crying and he kept pushing me and pushing me and telling me to keep working hard and it’ll end up paying off. I’m glad I listened to him and stuck to it because I played all throughout middle school and high school. Now I’m blessed to be at Wayne State playing.
“I owe a lot to my dad and everyone who has trained me and been supportive and kept me motivated,” he continued. “My love for the game is unmatched; you can’t compare it to anything else. It’s the excitement and adrenaline rush that you can’t explain.”
The Courtney "Cortez" Smith Award was given to senior nose tackle Serxho Guraleci. The award, new to the program in 2011, is presented to a player who is a leader not only on-field and in the classroom, but someone who is also active in the community.
Guraleci, who earned GLIAC All-Academic team honors each of his four years at WSU, said of being named recipient, “It’s a great honor to win the Cortez Smith Award. He was well-respected and I’m very thankful to have received it.
“I’ve been going hard every year since I’ve been here and I think I stepped it up this year because it’s my senior year,” he said.
Guraleci trained last summer with inaugural Cortez Smith Award winner Troy Burrell who spent this past season as part of the Detroit Lions practice squad.
He has already started training for spring’s GLIAC Pro Day. “It’s a mini combine where you get tested on running, agility, and strength. NFL scouts are there.”
Though the season fell short of expectations, the Warriors remained united. “Things didn’t go the way we wanted it to this year, but we never quit and we played with a lot of heart,” Cecile said of his final season with the team.
And when asked about the football program, players were almost at a loss for words. Cecile said, after pausing for a moment, “Coming here was the best decision I’ve ever made. We (our teammates) re-wrote the history for Wayne State. It used to be known as sort of a bottom-feeder in the GLIAC. The guys before us set the foundation and showed us how to do it and we did it.”
“It means a lot. The camaraderie with all the guys, I don’t get that anywhere else. Not to be cliché about it, but it really is a brotherhood,” said Terleckyj.
Thomas added, “I’m proud to be a Wayne State Warrior. Really knowing the meaning of wearing that ‘W’ on your chest, especially looking back at all the guys who have played before me and what they’ve been able to do.
“I’m talking about a guy like Joique (Bell) who was able to come in here, put our program on the map and take it to the next level,” said Thomas. “Looking at the dedication that they had to this program, you don’t want to let those guys down. He was a joy to play with. No one was really ever able to stop him.”
“It’s an honor to be a Warrior,” said Guraleci. “It means a lot. A lot of good experiences met a lot of people, and made good friends that I’ve been working hard with; people that I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.”
“It’s something special. It says a lot to have a Warrior as your mascot,” Privette said. “Players have a lot to live up to. Like I said, it’s an everyday grind of going in to watch film, workout, go to class. You have to juggle everything. Every one of the guys on the team is a warrior because we all fight together to win and be the best we can be. I’m honored to be at Wayne State doing what I’m doing.”
“It’s a great program. It’s come a long way since I was a freshman,” added Viverette.
Williams echoed that of his teammates.
“It means a lot to be a Wayne State Warrior. The atmosphere, having a hundred brothers on your side, the love you get from everyone in that program.”
**List of award winners**:
**Offensive Most Valuable Player** – Curtis Ferguson
**Defensive Most Valuable Player** – Ed Viverette
**Special Teams Most Valuable Player** – Stefan Terleckyj
**Ron Solack Memorial "35" Award** – Pat Cecile
**Randy Guzowski Award** – Steve Conway
**Offensive Rookie of the Year** – Trent Brodbeck
**Defensive Rookie of the Year** – Jamiil Williams
**Scholar-Athlete Award** – Nick Thomas
**Ultimate Warrior award** – Chet Privett
**Courtney "Cortez" Smith Award** - Serxho Guraleci