Football: Ishmael, McDuffie Earn Player of the Year Honors

Football: Ishmael, McDuffie Earn Player of the Year Honors

For the second time in school history, the UCF football team received two major conference awards in the same season, as senior free safety Kemal Ishmael (Miami, Fla./North Miami Beach) was voted as the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and senior kick returner Quincy McDuffie (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater) picked up C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year honors. The awards were voted on by the 12 C-USA head coaches.

The last time the Knights earned two major awards was in 2010 when Bruce Miller was voted as the defensive player of the year while Jeff Godfrey was the offensive player of the year.

Since UCF joined the league in 2005, it boasts three C-USA Defensive Player of the Year awards, the most of any school. Miller picked up that distinction in back-to-back seasons from 2009-10. The Knights, meanwhile, are tied atop the chart with East Carolina with two C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year accolades. KR/PR Joe Burnett received the honor in 2008.

For the rest of the C-USA individual award winners, visit ConferenceUSA.com.

UCF’s Postseason Conference Players of the Year Since 2005

C-USA Defensive Player of the Year

  • Kemal Ishmael, FS, 2012
  • Bruce Miller, DE, 2010
  • Bruce Miller, DE, 2009

C-USA Offensive Player of the Year

  • Kevin Smith, RB, 2007 (media vote)

C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year

  • Quincy McDuffie, KR, 2012
  • Joe Burnett, PR/KR, 2008

C-USA Freshman of the Year

  • Jeff Godfrey, QB, 2010
  • Kevin Smith, RB, 2005

Ranking third all-time at UCF with 360 career tackles, Ishmael serves as one of the Knights’ three team captains in 2012. He leads the team in tackles for the third-straight year with a personal-best 116, and ranks tied for first in C-USA with three fumble recoveries as well as tied for fifth with three interceptions. Ishmael has started 48-straight games since his true freshman campaign in 2009.

On his final snap at Bright House Networks Stadium, Ishmael notched his first-career sack in the win over UAB. He also produced one of the top moments in stadium history when he intercepted a pass in double overtime to seal the victory against Southern Miss.

A graduate of nearby Edgewater High School, McDuffie stands as the UCF career kickoff return leader with 90 returns, 2,501 yards and six touchdowns. This season, he ranks first in the nation among qualified players with a 34.2-yard return average thanks to 582 yards on 17 returns.

McDuffie tied a NCAA record with two kickoff returns for touchdowns when he ran back returns of 97 and 98 yards against Marshall. He also returned a 99-yarder against East Carolina which completely shifted momentum after UCF trailed 14-0 (Knights won, 40-20).

In 2012, the program’s final year in the league before moving to the BIG EAST next fall, the Knights won their fourth C-USA East Division title in eight seasons in the league. They also have earned their fifth bowl berth since 2005 as they will travel to the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg where they will face Ball State Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

For ticket information to the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, contact the UCF Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com.