University of Connecticut senior wide receiver Noel Thomas, Jr. (Norwalk, Conn.) and senior punter Justin Wain (Wilmington, N.C.) will both receive awards from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston when the group holds its annual dinner on Thursday, December 15.
Thomas has been named the winner of the 78th Annual George “Bulger” Lowe Award, known as “New England’s Heisman Trophy” and is one of the oldest college football awards in the country.
Thomas becomes the first Husky to win the award since quarterback Matt DeGennaro in 1990 and joins other prestigious winners such as Matt Ryan (2007) and Doug Flutie (1982 and 1984) of Boston College, Gordie Lockbuam (1986 and ’87) and George Connor (1943) of Holy Cross, Dick Jauron (1972) of Yale and Harry Agganis (1951) of Boston University.
Thomas is UConn’s leading receiver on the season with 87 receptions for 1,090 yards and three touchdowns. He is fourth in the country in receptions per game and is second in the American Athletic Conference and is 11th in the country in receiving yards per game and second in the conference. He is also fourth in the conference in all-purpose yards per game.
Thomas has 100-yard receiving performances in seven games (including a period of six-straight) this season and eight in his career. Thomas has 170 career receptions – fifth-highest in school history and has 2,146 career receiving yards, which is eighth in school history. Thomas’ 87 receptions this season is second in school single-season history, one shy of the record of 88, while his 1,090 yards is sixth.
Wain will receive the 71st Annual Nils V. “Swede” Nelson Award for exceptional achievement in sportsmanship, academics and athletics. He is the first UConn winner of the award since Keron Henry in 2004.
Wain is an allied health sciences major and has an overall grade point average of over 3.7. He was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, given by the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame to the top college football student-athlete in the country.
Wain was also a member of the year’s College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District team. Wain has spent time in his native North Carolina shadowing surgeons to learn about patient contact, patient-family interaction and the tasks of a surgeon and surgical procedures.
He is in his third season as UConn's starting punter and has a career punting average of 39.2 yards, which is sixth in school history.
Founded in 1932, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston promotes the game of football at all levels and nurtures the ideals of citizenship, sportsmanship, leadership, and athletic and academic achievement. Through its annual dinners and golf tournament, the club carries on its tradition of honoring exemplary players, coaches and officials at all levels of the sport and supporting worthy charitable causes, especially those that assist children.
The dinner on Thursday, December 15, 2016, will be held at the Burlington Marriott Hotel with a social hour at 6:00 p.m., dinner at 7:00 p.m. with award to follow. Tickets are priced at $70 each and for more information visit www.gridclubofgreaterboston.com.