HONOLULU - University of Hawai'i football head coach Norm Chow announced the 2014 award winners at the annual Na Koa Awards Banquet, Sunday, in a luau-themed event at the UH grass practice field.
For the second consecutive year, multi-purpose standout Scott Harding was the recipient of the Alec Waterhouse Most Valuable Player Award. The senior from Brisbane, Australia was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter and a candidate for the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile athlete.
Harding is the sixth Rainbow Warrior to repeat as MVP joining a select group which includes Gary Allen (1979 & '81), Raphel Cherry (1983 & '84), Blane Gaison (1979 & '80), Eddie Klaneski (1996 & '97), and Bryant Moniz (2010 & '11). Harding started at three different positions - punter, punt returner, and slot receiver - and earlier this week, was named first-team all-Mountain West as a punter and honorable mention at punt returner.
He set a single-season school record with 86 punts in 2014 with a 41.3 average and was among the nation's leaders with 34 punts inside the 20, including 17 inside the 10. His unique punting style directly led to five turnovers while 85% of his punts were not returned. As a punt returner, Harding averaged 8.8 yards per return while 10 of his 25 returns went for 10 yards or more. He tied the school's single-game school record with seven returns (76 yards) against Northern Iowa, a game in which he was selected as the MW's Special Teams Player of the Week, and finished his career ranked second all-time with 88 returns.
Offensive lineman Ben Clarke was named the offensive player of the Year for the second time in three years. The junior from Littleton, Colo., earned honorable mention all-MW this season for the third consecutive year. Playing at left tackle for the first time in his career, Clarke allowed only two sacks all season long and graded out with a team-best 88 percent.
Defensive lineman Beau Yap garnered defensive player of the year honors for the second consecutive year. The senior from Pearl City, O'ahu, concluded his career by being selected honorable mention all-MW and recorded 45 tackles, including 8.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. He finished his career with 14 career sacks, which ranks 11th in school history and scored his first career touchdown earlier this season, recovering a fumble in the end zone against Northern Iowa.
Placekicker Tyler Hadden earned the special teams player of the year award. The senior from Whittier, Calif., converted a career-best 18 field goals and was a perfect 28-for-28 in PAT attempts in 2014. At one point in the season, he made nine straight field goal attempts, including four at Colorado. Nearly half of his kickoffs went for touchbacks. Hadden finished his career ranked fourth in both field goals (43) and PATs (111) and fifth in scoring (240).
The Scout Team Award winners were freshmen running back Ryan Tuiasoa and offensive lineman Tavita Eli on offense and freshmen defensive lineman Ka'aumoana Gifford and linebacker Tumua Tuinei on defense.