Steel City Underground presents the 2nd annual SCU Awards. Our panel of contributors all voted on various awards for the Steelers with the player getting the most votes being the winner.
Each article will have the list of nominees with one of our contributors stating their case for why that player earned their vote and deserves the award.
Comment and let us know if you agree or disagree with our winners and nominees.
Underdog is a very subjective term. This isn't the player that had the best stats, the most tackles, or scored the most touchdowns - this is a player who went beyond the expectations set for them and contributed greatly to the team. This player embodies all of the qualities you see in the football dictionary: grit, tenacity, hustle, and many more.
This award could go to anybody, from a rookie to a free agent. The winner of this award is a player who seemingly came out of nowhere and changed this team for the better despite most fans not knowing their name last spring.
Here are the nominees...
I chose Tyson Alualu because he was such a stable and underrated piece of this team. For years the Steelers struggled finding a backup defensive end, they signed Cam Thomas and Ricardo Mathews hoping to find their guy but both proved to be underwhelming to say the least. Alualu however is that guy they've been looking for.
He showed that he is stout against the run and can generate a pass rush, and while he may not be a starting quality player, he served the role he was signed for perfectly. Whenever he was needed, he showed and delivered.
- Eric Herrmann
When a player receives glowing marks in training camp it's usually the kiss of death. Seldom does being a "camp darling" ever translate to superstardom on the field. Unless your name is Mike Hilton.
Hilton's scrappy play earned him not only a roster spot coming out of camp but significant playing time as the team's nickel corner.
Coming out of college undrafted as Senquez Golson's teammate, the former made us forget about the latter. But that doesn't mean Hilton didn't have to overcome all odds to get here. That's why he's my pick for the underdog of the year.
- Joe Kuzma
Juju Smith-Schuster was my underdog mainly because I was one of the many left wondering why the Steelers would ever draft another wide receiver so soon with the fire power we already had. Not to mention JuJu being 20 years old. I was skeptical at his potential to contribute right off the bat.
Luckily, he not only exceeded expectations, but has become a beloved player for Pittsburgh and has embraced the fans and the city like no other. His talent is almost overshadowed by his creativity in the TD celebrations. He didn’t receive a league ROY nomination but Pro Football Focus did give him that honor.
- Terry Fletcher
Winner: Mike Hilton (8 votes)
Runner-up: Tyson Alualu (1 vote), Joe Haden (1 vote), JuJu Smith-Schuster (1 vote)
Who is your pick?
We're currently accepting fan submissions over on our Twitter poll. Choose your pick below.
Our 2017 SCU Awards are underway!
Today we chose the #Steelers Underdog of the Year
Who is yours? (Vote below)
— Steel City Underground (@steelcityundrgr) February 8, 2018