2021-22 Athletic Department Awards Announced
The Clemson athletic department has announced winners of the Frank Howard Award, the IPTAY Athlete of the Year, and the Brandon Streeter Award for the 2021-22 academic year. A 20-person committee made up of local media and Clemson administrators voted on the candidates.
THE FRANK HOWARD AWARD – Max Wagner, Baseball
The Frank Howard Award is the honor presented each year to a student-athlete for bringing honor to Clemson athletics. This year’s recipient is baseball All-American Max Wagner.
Wagner was a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, two honors presented each year to the top player in college baseball. Wagner was a unanimous first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC in 2022 when he hit a Clemson record-tying 27 home runs. He hit .369 overall with 76 RBIs and a .496 on-base average. He also had a .852 slugging percentage, second best in Clemson history.
Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment was Wagner’s home run every 7.5 at bats. That broke a record that had been held by Doug Kingsmore since 1954. From April 17-23 Wagner tied a school record with home runs in five consecutive games.
Wagner was also named to the Academic All-ACC team and was named the ACC Player of the Year. Earlier this month, he was selected in the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft, the 42nd overall player selected. He was 23rd among college players and 16th among Power Five Conference players.
The native of Green Bay, Wisconsin is the first baseball player drafted who played his high school baseball at a Green Bay, Wisconsin district public school.
Wagner was one of the great stories of college baseball this year as he made significant improvement from his first year. In 2021, as a red-shirt freshman, he hit .214 with just two home runs and nine RBIs. His improvement by 25 home runs over the previous year is the greatest one-year improvement in Clemson history.
IPTAY ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Jacob Bridgeman, Men’s Golf
The IPTAY Athlete of the Year takes into account excellence on the field and achievement in the classroom and the community. This year’s recipient is Clemson senior golfer Jacob Bridgeman.
Bridgeman was named the ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year for Men’s Golf for the second consecutive year, the first two-time recipient of the award in seven years, and just the second two-time recipient in league history. He was named to the Academic All-ACC team and the All-ACC team for the third time in his career.
Additionally, Bridgeman was the recipient of a Weaver-James-Corrigan Scholarship from the ACC for his outstanding performance in the classroom and on the course.
A native of Inman, S.C., Bridgeman was named the ACC Most Valuable Player for the season and won the ACC Championship at the league tournament in April. He was the first Clemson golfer to win the ACC Tournament since 2006.
Bridgeman finished his career with a 70.70 stroke average, second in Clemson history behind Doc Redman and set the school record for career rounds in the 60s with 50. He won two tournaments this year in recording a 70.43 stroke average. In addition to winning the ACC Tournament, he captured the Linger Longer Invitational. That gave him five tournament wins for his career, tied for first in Clemson history.
The Clemson graduate finished second in the PGA University Rankings this year to gain full status this summer on the Korn Ferry Tour. He has made the cut in four-of-six Korn Ferry Tour events so far this year, including a fifth-place finish at the BMW Charity Pro Am in Greenville, S.C. He also made the cut at the Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour.
BRANDON STREETER AWARD – Justyn Ross, Football
The Brandon Streeter Award is presented each year to the Clemson student-athlete who has overcome physical injury to achieve success on the fields of competition. It is named after Clemson’s current quarterback coach and offensive coordinator who overcame multiple injuries throughout his career (broken ankle and broken ribs among them) to lead the Tigers during the 1999 football season.
This year’s recipient is senior football wide receiver Justyn Ross. Ross won the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award as the league’s Most Courageous Player in 2021. He came back in 2022 after he suffered an injury in the spring of 2021. The injury revealed that he had a congenital neck injury that needed significant surgery.
Ross had the surgery in Pittsburgh on June 5, 2020 and sat out the entire 2020 season. He was finally cleared to play in August of 2021. He went almost 600 days without playing before coming back to start against Georgia in the 2021 season opener. His hard work at rehabilitation allowed him to become what is believed to be the first football player across all levels to play after two fusion surgeries.
Ross led Clemson in receiving this year with 46 receptions for 514 yards and three scores this year. He had a season-best eight catches for 77 yards and two scores against NC State. At the conclusion of the season, he was named one of the team’s permanent captains.
For his career, Ross finished with 158 receptions for 2,379 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is fifth in Clemson history in career touchdown receptions, 11th in total receptions and 10th in yardage.