Commentary

Soul run away with postseason honors

With so many great performances by so many players, it wasn't easy to choose the winners of the individual awards. But it's time to hand out the postseason hardware.

Updated: July 17, 2008, 4:29 PM ET
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.

With so many great performances by so many players, it wasn't easy to choose the winners of the individual awards. But it's time to hand out the postseason hardware.

Most Valuable Player: Matt D'Orazio, QB, Philadelphia

He came to Philadelphia as insurance for QB Tony Graziani and did Philadelphia ever cash in on that policy. When Graziani went down early in the season, D'Orazio stepped in and put up spectacular numbers -- 80 touchdown passes with only four interceptions and also 11 rushing TDs.

Offensive Player of the Year: Chris Jackson, WR, Philadelphia

He was automatic when the Soul needed a big play and the most important offseason acquisition in the league. He had 140 receptions for 1,719 yards and 49 touchdowns during the regular season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Dennison Robinson, DB, Chicago

He is the best ballhawk in the league and the ultimate playmaker. He had a whopping 13 interceptions, 92.5 tackles, nine passes broken up, and three forced fumbles during the regular season.

Rookie of the Year: Donovan Morgan, WR, Chicago

He came out of nowhere to become a major contributor for an already good Chicago offense. He caught 113 passes for 1,300 yards and 24 touchdowns and led all rookies in receptions and yards.

Coach of the Year: Mike Wilpolt, Cleveland

This was a 2-14 team a year ago in Las Vegas. The Gladiators moved to Cleveland in the offseason, totally rebuilt their roster and yet made it all the way to the conference championship game. Wilpot knew exactly how to build this team.

Assistant Coach of the Year: Terry Malley, offensive coordinator, San Jose

He runs the most sophisticated offense in the AFL and his scheme requires the QB and receivers to be on the same page with their reads and the SaberCats do it to perfection. The numbers his offense puts up are mind-boggling.

Quarterback of the Year: Joe Germaine, Utah

His team did not have great success, but Germaine still puts up great numbers. With a new group of receivers in 2008, he threw for 4,859 yards and 97 touchdowns and an impressive 123.1 QB rating.

Fullback of the Year: Marlion Jackson, Cleveland

He is the catalyst for the best run game in the AFL. The Gladiators scored 31 touchdowns on the ground and 23 of those belonged to Jackson. He also added four TDs through the air as an outlet receiver.

Receiver of the Year: Derek Lee, Columbus

He posted great numbers in 2008 even though he played on a mediocre team. He caught 141 passes for 1,755 yards and 31 TDs during the regular season after coming from Georgia in the offseason.

Offensive Lineman of the Year: Phil Bogle, Philadelphia

Bogle was back-to-back All-Arena and is is a solid edge blocker with good size and athleticism. He even caught seven passes as an outlet receiver and six of those went for touchdowns.

Defensive Lineman of the Year: Colston Weatherington, Dallas

He is the best edge rusher in the league and plays with great consistency. He shows excellent first step quickness and his 10.5 sacks in the regular season shows why he is almost impossible to block one on one.

Linebacker of the Year: DeJuan Alfonzo, Chicago

He may be the most dominating defensive player in the league and the ultimate defensive playmaker. His season was cut short by an injury, but he still posted 80 tackles, three interceptions, four passes broken up and four fumble recoveries.

Defensive Back of the Year: Eddie Moten, Philadelphia

He may be the toughest defensive back in the league and is the ultimate intimidator. He always seems to be around the ball and opposing QBs rarely throw his way. In 2008 he posted 93.5 tackles and six interceptions.

Kicker of the Year: A.J. Haglund, San Jose

He has been the best kicker in the league for awhile and scored 179 points in the regular season. He converted 116 of 124 PATs and 21 of 25 FGs. He also had 26 touchbacks on kickoffs.

Kick Returner of the Year: Chris Martin, Grand Rapids

He is a versatile young player who makes contributions as a defensive back along with his kick returns. He had 1,663 yards on 82 returns and had a league-leading six returns for TDs.

Ironman of the Year: Will Pettis, Dallas

He has now won this award two years in a row and it is well deserved. On offense he posted 1,960 all-purpose yards, including 1,035 receiving yards and 25 TDs. On defense he had 22.5 tackles and two interceptions.

Organization of the Year: Philadelphia Soul

This is the model that a lot of teams want to copy. The Soul are a blend of savvy business skills with also a strong football IQ. The offseason acquisitions of Jackson and D'Orazio were critical for their 2008 success. This is a smart and talented front office and the team that they put on the field every year will be elite.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.