PAT TILLMAN AWARD
Pat Tillman was a professional football player who walked away from the game after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to join the U.S. Army and fight for our country.
A stand-out at Arizona State University, Tillman was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. After just three years in the NFL, Tillman turned down a multi-million dollar contract offer from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army.
Tillman served multiple tours of duty, including Operation Iraqi Freedom, before he was killed during a mission in Afghanistan in 2004.
The East-West Shrine Game® Pat Tillman Award is presented to a player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service. The award is about a student-athlete's achievements and conduct, both on and off the field.
2016 PAT TILLMAN AWARD RECIPIENT
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Each year, the East-West Shrine Game presents the Pat Tillman Award to recognize the player who best exemplifies intelligence, sportsmanship, and service. The award celebrates a student athlete’s achievements and conduct on and off the football field. The 2016 recipient is Navy quarterback, Keenan Reynolds.
Reynolds broke the NCAA Division I career touchdown record with 88, and most rushing yards by a quarterback record with 4,559. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting, the highest by a service academy player since Roger Staubach in 1963. He is also the only Navy quarterback to go 4-0 against rival Army.
"What a terrific honor for Keenan to be selected as the recipient of the Pat Tillman Award. When you read about this award and it's meaning, every one of those attributes describes Keenan. He has performed at the highest level possible on and off the football field,” said Navy head football coach, Ken Niumatalolo. “He is a model midshipman and is quite possibly the greatest option quarterback in the history of college football. Character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service? He checks all those boxes at the highest level. Many of us felt like Keenan deserved to win the Heisman Trophy, but to me this award is even more special because of the type of person that Pat Tillman was and what he stood for."
Reynolds started his Shrine Game experience with a visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa where he played with patients on the basketball court, pushing them on swings, taking photos and signing autographs. He spent the week practicing in a variety of roles including quarterback, running back and receiver with his East teammates under head coach Charlie Weis, under the watchful eyes of NFL scouts.
“I have been fortunate to receive a lot of awards during my career at Navy, but this one will go down as one of the best because of what it stands for,” said Reynolds. “I really enjoyed the visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children. It was a humbling experience and made us realize how fortunate we are. It also reminded me to strive for the kind of joy those patients have.”
“Keenan represents everything this award is about,” said Shrine Game executive director, Harold Richardson. “He has demonstrated dedication, sacrifice, and he understands that there are things bigger than him.”