FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona football team finished the 2015 season with heavy hearts, but their heads held high. For a team that went through many ups and downs even before the season started, the Lumberjacks managed to rally at home, going undefeated for the second time in three years in the Walkup Skydome, and placing themselves in the mix for a share of the Big Sky championship in the regular season finale.
The Lumberjacks recorded a 7-4 overall record and 5-3 conference mark. NAU averaged an amazing 50.8 points per game at home sweeping regular season play in the Skydome 5-0.
Case Cookus set a new NAU record and FCS Freshman mark for passing touchdowns in a season (37). He also broke the NAU season records for completion percentage and yards per pass attempt. Cookus finished sixth in school history in passing yards in a season. When it comes to his ranking in the FCS, Cookus is first in passing touchdowns, second in passing efficiency, third in points responsible for, completion percentage and yards per pass attempt. He ranks sixth in passing yards, eighth in passing yards per game, and 10th in total offense. He registered an FCS single game high of seven passing touchdowns, and also holds the second-best mark of six in a game. Cookus has been nominated for FCS Offensive and Freshman Player of the Year honors.
Emmanuel Butler set a new season record for receiving yards (1,208 - previous record 1,184 by Clarence Moore in 2003) and tied the receiving touchdowns record (15 - set back in 2006 by Alex Watson). Through just two seasons, he already ranks in the top 15 in career receiving yards. Butler is ranked second in the nation in receiving touchdowns, third in receiving yards, and fourth in receiving yards. His 216 receiving yards versus SFA is the eight-most in the FCS in a single game this season, while his four receiving touchdowns versus Northern Colorado ranks at the top of the FCS charts.
Defensive MVP – Cornerback Marcus Alford
Marcus Alford led the team with 13 pass breakups to rank 10th in the nation. He also recorded 49 tackles and was second on the team in interceptions with three. Alford's four passes defended versus Eastern Washington is tied for ninth in the FCS in a single game.
Special Teams MVP – Punter/Kicker Ryan Hawkins
Ryan Hawkins leads the nation in punting and is second in field goal percentage. He connected on all 57 PAT attempts and 11 of 12 field goal attempts. Hawkins' spectacular play during the season earned him Big Sky weekly honors twice, as he tied for first on the team in scoring.
Award - Winner
Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year - Cole Norris
Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year - Jake Skadeland
John G. Yost Memorial Award (Offensive Lineman of the Year) - Jacob Julian
Defensive Lineman of the Year - Zach McDonnell
Academic Excellence Award - Patrick Baldenegro
Comeback Player of the Year - Eric Rodriguez
Newcomer of the Year - Case Cookus
Offensive Most Inspirational Player of the Year (David Couture Award) - Casey Jahn
Defensive Most Inspirational Player of the Year (Stevon Thomas Award) - Josh Bamrick
Defensive Competitive Greatness Award (Lumberjack Award) - Jake Casteel
Offensive Competitive Greatness Award (Lumberjack Award) - Alex Holmes
Offensive Battle Axe Award (Hardest Hitter) - R.J. Rickert
Defensive Battle Axe Award (Hardest Hitter) - Eddie Horn
Offensive Most Improved Award (Michael DeGroote Award) - Dejzon Walker
Defensive Most Improved Player - Cole Sterns
"Right Way…Everyday" Award (Character) - Corbin Jountti
Special Teams Player of the Year - Ryan Hawkins
Defensive Player of the Year - Marcus Alford
Co-Offensive Player of the Year - Emmanuel Butler
Co-Offensive Player of the Year - Case Cookus