Texas Tech's Best and Brightest|
by Kayla Curry
Tuesday night in the Allen Theater, cleats were replaced with dress shoes and uniforms were replaced with dresses and suits for the annual TECHspy's Awards. The red carpet led attendees into the awards ceremony where the athletics department celebrated the achievements of the student athletes for the year.
Each year, a male and female are chosen for the Student-Athlete of the Year award. This award is not just simply about the student's athletic accomplishments, although that is a factor. The student's academic success and commitment to service are also two large factors in who wins the award.
The envelope was opened and the Texas shaped awards were presented to Cody Davis, football, and Ifeatu "Ify" Okafor, track and field.
"It's a great accomplishment," Davis said. "These are the awards you are most proud of other than athletically. You get recognized on what most people don't see and that's the hard work in the classroom and the community."
Both, Davis and Okafor, have had very successful years at Tech with their athletic and their academic pursuits.
Davis had a successful final season with the football team. He set new records, won awards, and ended his time at Tech with a victory at the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. Davis was ranked second in solo tackles in the Big 12 and fourth in the NCAA rankings. At the end of his final season, Davis led the team with 101 tackles - the most by a Red Raider safety since 2005, 84 solo tackles and posted 17 assisted tackles.
Okafor competed in the shot put and the discus during the 2012 outdoor track season. She earned four first place finishes and eight top-three finishes in the shot put, as well as three first place finishes and six top-three finishes in the discus throw. These accomplishments are impressive, but were not the sole the reason they were chosen as the Student-Athletes of the Year. Another reason they were chosen was their commitment to academics. This year, Davis was named Capital One Academic All-American (1st Team), Academic All-Big 12 (1st Team), and he is most proud of being awarded the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award.
"That one stands out because it is one in 15 in the nation," Davis said. "One school gets to nominate one person from every college in the U.S. and 15 are selected, so it was just a great honor."
Okafor also received the Top Senior award at the Techspys, an award given to the senior with the highest GPA in each sport. She has also had the honor of being named a Spring Chick-fil-A Community Champion twice in her college career. Okafor attributes much of her success to the constant help she received from the athletic department
"Everyone has been so supportive," Okafor said. "Every time that there is some type of situation I need help with something they go above and beyond. Felicia Martin in particular. She'll go out of her way to make sure I have access to all the resources that I need."
Martin is the Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services and has worked with both Davis and Okafor. She has very high opinions of both athletes.
"If ever there were two student-athletes that represented overall our student body it would be those two," Martin said. "We're talking about students that aren't just smart but are also athletic, very community minded and great people."
Martin believes that the key to all student athletes' success is finding a balance in between their athletic and academic lives.
"It's finding that spot where you do just as well in the classroom as you do athletically," Martin said. "Academics are as taxing as athletics and they have to find that balance."
It is clear that both Davis and Okafor found the right balance this year. Both were successful in their last year as college athletes and both have bright futures ahead. Davis has signed with the St. Louis Rams and Okafor will be attending UT Southwestern to become a physician's assistant.
Recognizing the hard work and dedication of Tech's student-athletes is the motivation behind the TECHspy's each year. Both Davis and Okafor perfectly represent what the Student-Athlete of the Year award was made to celebrate.
2013 TECHspy MAJOR AWARD WINNERS