Georgia Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith to enter NFL draft

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Linebacker Roquan Smith, the leader of a defense that led Georgia to the national championship game, is entering the NFL draft.The decision by Smith, the Butkus Award winner, was expected. He enjoyed a strong junior season, which boosted his draft status.Smith led Georgia with 137 tackles, 6½ sacks and 17 quarterback hurries. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Smith was a game-changer with his speed and instincts and is seen as a possible first-round draft pick. DEPARTURES:  List of college football underclassmen entering NFL draftDespite his high draft status, Smith said in a statement released Monday by Georgia that his decision was not easy. He said he made the decision following "discussions with coaches and family and a lot of thought and prayer."Coach Kirby Smart said in a statement he expects "great success" for Smith in the NFL.Georgia (13-2) finished No. 2 in the final Top 25 following its 26-23 overtime loss to Alabama in the national championship game. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Continue Reading

49ers’ award winners include Marquise Goodwin for inspiration, courage

Chronicle Staff Updated 7:20 pm, Monday, January 1, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press Image 1of/25 CaptionClose Image 1 of 25 San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin celebrates after scoring during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Los Angeles.  San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin celebrates after scoring during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Los Angeles.  Photo: Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press Image 2 of 25 Los Angeles Rams tight end Derek Continue Reading

Notre Dame football 2017 ECHOES award winners

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame football announced its season award winners Friday night during its annual ECHOES award show.Here's a rundown of who won awards. Most Valuable PlayerSenior guard Quenton Nelson​ became just the third offensive lineman in Notre Dame history to win the team's MVP award. He started all 12 games at left guard and ranks as the highest-rated offensive lineman in the country by Pro Football Focus (48.1). Nelson did not surrendered a sack or QB hit, and allowed just two QB hurries in 819 offensive snaps this season. In 2,336 career snaps, Nelson has surrendered just two sacks and two quarterback hits. Offensive Player of the YearJunior running back Josh Adams, who ranked among the top 20 nationally in rushing yards per game (16th at 115.5), total rushing yards (13th at 1,386) and yards per rush (17th at 7.26), was named the Irish's offensive MVP. He has racked up 3,154 for his three-year career, slotting him fifth all-time at Notre Dame. Defensive Player of the YearSenior linebacker Nyles Morgan​ was named Defensive Player of the Year. The team captain capped his career by starting all 12 games while recording 83 total tackles (34 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Rockne Student-Athlete awardAs senior linebacker Drue Tranquill accepted this award for a second consecutive season, he said he won't be declaring for the NFL Draft."I kind of wanted to put that to rest now," he said. "I'm going to be coming back home for my fifth year."Tranquill finished the season third on the team with 74 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, three pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception.He's maintained a 3.74 grade point average as a mechanical engineering major. Newcomer of the Year (Offense)Brandon Wimbush, a quarterback who made his name with his rushing attack this year, wasn't thrilled with his highlight reel as he accepted the newcomer of Continue Reading

David Ortiz, Kris Bryant are Hank Aaron Award winners

CLEVELAND - This year's Hank Aaron Award presentation represented an unofficial passing of the torch. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, 24, was the National League winner, while 40-year-old Red Sox DH David Ortiz won the American League's award. The two players were joined by Commissioner Rob Manfred and Aaron himself to receive the awards prior to Game 2. "I grew up watching Big Papi on the Red Sox get to this point and win a World Series, and hopefully I can do that here," said Bryant, who hit .292 with 39 homers, 102 RBI, a .939 OPS and an NL-leading 121 runs scored this season. "I've been through some pretty cool things recently, but this is something I'm going to have to pinch myself. "Obviously David Ortiz had an unbelievable career, and he's going out and I'm just making my way in. One of the best baseball players that ever lived is sitting next to me. This is such a surreal moment for me." Ortiz, wearing sunglasses inside on a rainy day in Cleveland, hit .315 with 38 homers during his final season, leading the AL with 127 RBI, 48 doubles, a .620 slugging percentage and a 1.021 OPS. Referring to Bryant as "that baby boy over there," Ortiz spke of his admiration for the NL MVP frontrunner. "Now it's my turn to sit down and watch you doing your thing, Ortiz said. "So much fun watching you out there, carrying the team on your back. That's part of greatness, and that's part of what this game is all about. Looking forward to enjoying plenty of years watching you play the game. Good luck tonight, also." HANK BANKS ON CUBS Aaron called the Cubs "my favorite" in this World Series, though it had nothing to do with anyone playing this week, but rather his late, great friend, Ernie "Mr. Cub" Banks. "He was an idol of mine," Aaron said. "I loved him, and I'm sure wherever he is today, he is smiling in his grave. I just want to say that I am smiling with him. I just wish that he could be here to play one Continue Reading

Indie Memphis: 2017 Film Festival Award Winners

In what may have been an unprecedented haul, Memphis-based filmmaker Matteo Servente won top prizes for two different projects Saturday night at Circuit Playhouse during the annual awards ceremony of the Indie Memphis Film Festival, as the event set an attendance record for the third straight year.Servente, who about a decade ago relocated to Memphis from his hometown of Torino, Italy, won for two short films in “Hometowner” categories dedicated to projects made by Memphis residents or shot in the Memphis area.“I’m not really a ‘hometowner,’ but this is what happens when you don’t build that wall — we come in,” said Servente, as he picked up the second of his trophies, for the hospice-set Hometowner Narrative Short “We Go On,” written by Memphis author (and Burke’s Book Store owner) Corey Mesler. (The short previously had won the top $10,000 award during this year's second Memphis Film Prize competition.) More: Music Movies at Indie Memphis: Handy, Furry, Pinetop & More Servente’s other award was for “An Accidental Drowning” in the MLK50 Hometowner category, a special competition for films with racial and social justice themes created in recognition of the upcoming observance of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s trips to Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers, which ended in the civil rights leader's assassination at the Lorraine Motel.With brokerage firm Duncan-Williams Inc., as its presenting sponsor and Brandon Harris and Brighid Wheeler as its features and shorts programmers, respectively, the 20th annual Indie Memphis Film Festival ran Nov. 1-6 at Circuit Playhouse, Playhouse on the Square, Hattiloo Theatre, Studio on the Square and the Halloran Centre. The closing night selection, written and directed by Memphis-born experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs, was “Tip of My Continue Reading

Service Above Self Award-winner counts it all joy

The Rotary Club of Alexandria presented its Service Above Self Award to Alexandria attorney and longtime Rotarian Mike Tudor on Tuesday."It takes a special person to win this award," said Mike Chatelain, chairman of the selection committee.Beginning 29 years ago, the award goes to "an outstanding citizen of Central Louisiana who has unselfishly given back to the community above and beyond their normal responsibilities," according to the club newsletter. Past recipients have been members of the club and non-Rotarians.Chatelain said Tudor received several nominations this year."I'm humbled because of the list of people who already received this," Tudor said. "I'm delighted and feel privileged to be among them."Tudor has been a part of countless civic organizations since the 1970s, including serving as president of the Alexandria Mardi Gras Association in its first two years. He joined the Alexandria Rotary Club in 1973 and was president in 1978."Mike, you are the finest example of what Rotarians should be and what we should do for the community," retired Rabbi Arnold Task said from the stage Tuesday. "You are a superb leader and a creative organizer."The two worked together closely to make the Alexandria Holocaust Memorial a reality. It began in 2008 with a phone call from Tudor, who was in New Orleans on business. He passed by a Holocaust memorial there and was so moved he called Task and said, "We've got to have something like this in Alex," Task said. And thus, a committee was born, Task added."You have shown by your words and your deeds your love for this community and all its citizens," Task said. "I have learned so much from your acts of service."Tudor called the Holocaust Memorial "a labor of love" and counted it among one of his most memorable and important acts of service."The Holocaust Memorial was incredibly important and serious and is a message about non-discrimination that is very, very important today," he Continue Reading

Harry’s Savoy Grill owner receives national award

Xavier Teixido jokes he really isn’t famous enough to be named the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s 2017 Ambassador of Hospitality.The national award previously has been given to such industry leaders as Celebrity Chef Paul Prudhomme, New Orleans-based restaurateur Ralph Brennan and Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy.“It was a surprise to me,” says Teixido, one of Delaware’s most respected restaurateurs who owns the Harry’s Hospitality Group.“I’m probably the only person who no one knows who has received it,” he says, chuckling.Teixido received the award recently at a gala dinner during the National Restaurant Association’s annual Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. He was honored by peers. Industry leaders reviewed more than 400 nominations and chose seven winners in various categoriesThe owner of Harry’s Savoy Grill, Harry’s Seafood Grill and Kid Shelleen’s restaurant, honored March 28, received the Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award. It is given to an industry leader who displays an unwavering commitment to elevating and advancing the restaurant and foodservice industry.Teixido’s restaurant experience has included a stint at the old Brandywine Raceway. Later, he worked in New Orleans at the Brennan family’s legendary Commander’s Palace and returned to Delaware in 1984 to work in the state’s hospitality industry.The U.S. restaurant industry now employs 14 million people, or about one in 10 working Americans, according to the restaurant association.Teixido sees the award as “kind of a recognization to our organization” and also for other Delaware restaurants. Several Delaware restaurant owners came to the awards dinner last month that honored Teixido.“We had a good group. We’re a small state and when someone is recognized, we all feel like we’re all being recognized,” he says.The Continue Reading

Press wins national award

The Asbury Park Press' public service campaign to reform the state's archaic property tax system has been named the winner of this year's national Award for Excellence in Economic Reporting.The "Tax Crisis" series was named the winner of the $2,500 prize Monday by the Institute on Political Journalism. The series, published in October 2015, exposed the disparity of the tax system, showed the impact on the state's economy and revealed how elected officials were gridlocked over finding a solution. A petition of nearly 14,000 voters was collected by the Press and presented to lawmakers shortly before the November election. Half of the Assembly members last year signed written pledges to address the problem before Labor Day. READ: 5 takeaways from a conversation on New Jersey's property taxesThe economics prize is granted to just one publication each year. It is open to magazines, newspapers and websites. Past winners include the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News Service, the Center for Public Integrity and USA Today.The authors of the series are: Paul D'Ambrosio, Susanne Cervenka, Todd B. Bates, Bob Jordan, Michael Symons, Kala Kachmar, Shannon Mullen, Ken Serrano and Michael Diamond. Continue Reading

Two artists receive prestigious national awards

Until her elderly mother’s death last July, Louisville artist Gaela Erwin had spent nearly five years dealing with her mother’s worsening dementia. She made monthly trips to her mother’s home that required an eight-hour drive each way, all while Erwin was also teaching part time and maintaining a home with pets. Even moving her mother to Louisville in early 2014 proved arduous.“It was overwhelming,” Erwin said, “and she fought me every step of the way. She always knew who I was and knew enough to be angry with me.”But in the midst of the struggles in late 2013, Erwin received a notice that she had won a $25,000 Painters and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.“I needed it so bad emotionally,” Erwin said. “It told me that my work was worthy.”The foundation, established in 1993 according to artist Joan Mitchell’s will, has provided its Painters and Sculptors Grant to up to 25 artists annually for 20 years. Artists are put forward by anonymous nominators and chosen by a group of anonymous jurors. Those nominators and jurors are artists as well as arts administrators and curators working with nonprofit groups.But late last year, Erwin could no longer hold the title of the area’s only recipient of the artist’s grant. That’s when sculptor and Spalding University art professor Joyce Ogden got a notice from the foundation that she had been chosen for one. She said it came at time when she was sensing a shift in her own work from the large sculptures she had been making that often employed elements water, sand, wind and gravity to demonstrate subtle changes in nature.“I think it’s given me a greater confidence and conviction in what I’m doing,” said Ogden, emphasizing the weight that comes from getting such an award from a national organization.Giving artists that kind of encouragement is what Mitchell, who died at 66, intended in her will, said Continue Reading

SAG Award Winners: Heath Ledger, ’30 Rock’

The hit NBC show "30 Rock" dominated the small-screen honors at the 15th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday night, while Heath Ledger and "Slumdog Millionaire" scored knockouts for the big screen. In an emotional tribute to his "Dark Knight" co-star, Gary Oldman accepted Ledger's posthumous award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. "He was an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent," Oldman said of Ledger, who died a year ago from a prescription drug overdose in his SoHo loft. Ledger's performance as the psychopathic Joker in the latest Batman flick had already garnered a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination. The SAG Awards, selected by members of the nation's largest entertainment labor union, have often been a bellwether for the Academy Awards. Golden Globe winner "Slumdog Millionaire" - a love story centered around a game show - continued its run on hardware, fetching the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Sean Penn snagged the SAG for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for "Milk," setting up an Academy Award showdown with "The Wrestler" star Mickey Rourke, who bested Penn at the Golden Globes. Kate Winslet continued her awards season-winning streak, fetching the SAG statuette for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for "The Reader." Meryl Streep won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for "Doubt."Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin were honored for Outstanding Performance by Female and Male Actors in a Comedy Series, and "30 Rock's" entire cast won for Outstanding Comedy Series Ensemble.Actor Hugh Laurie, the unorthodox doc on Fox's "House," won for Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series. "I actually had a hundred dollars on James Spader," joked Laurie about his fellow nominee.Academy Award winner Sally Field found out her fellow SAG members like her, they really like her and had Continue Reading