Monthly Archives: March 2019

2018 MAC Awards

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: SUTTON SMITH, NO. ILLINOIS

Smith was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award.
Photo: Chicago Tribune

Northern Illinois junior defensive end Sutton Smith earned the coveted Vern Smith Leadership Award, indicative of being the top player in the league along with being named the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year. He was a first-team A.P. All-American. Smith finished the season with 43 solo tackles, 18 assists, 15.0 sacks. He led the nation with 26.5 tackles for loss.

Smith also won the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017. Being a model of hard-work and consistency, his 2018 stats were a mirror of the previous season. Smith looks to be a mid-round prospect.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: TYREE JACKSON, BUFFALO

At 6′ 7″ and 245 lbs., Jackson has scouts taking lots of notes on his game.
Photo: UP12

Buffalo junior quarterback Tyree Jackson was named the MAC’s Offensive Player of the Year, with UB head coach Lance Leipold getting the Coach of the Year Award. Jackson led the Bulls with 2,605 yards passing this season, 25 touchdowns and a 55.5 percent completion rate.

Draft pundits either glow when speaking of Jackson’s size and potential or growl when discussing his lack of accuracy, lamenting he didn’t return to school for another year – there hasn’t been much in-between. Johnson is expected to be picked in the second or third round.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DIONTAE JOHNSON, TOLEDO

Johnson was the most dangerous return man in the MAC.
Photo: Toledo Athletics

Johnson lead the MAC with an average punt return of 18.3 yards, and he is second in kickoff return average at 25.8 yards per attempt. Johnson is the only player in the conference to return a punt and kickoff for a touchdown this season. As a receiver, he is tied for the team lead with 43 receptions, leads UT with 663 receiving yards, and has seven touchdown catches. For his career, he averaged 23.4 yards per kickoff return, which would put him third all-time in UT history.

Johnson has declared for the draft and looks to be a mid-late round pick.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: JARET PATTERSON, BUFFALO

Photo: The Buffalo News/Sharon Cantillon

Patterson leads Buffalo and ranks fifth in the MAC with 874 yards rushing and his 12 touchdowns are tied for third in the league. Patterson has appeared in all 12 games as a freshman and is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and 72.8 yards per game.

“He gets the ball, he makes guys miss, he can run you over,”  said teammate and wide receiver Anthony Johnson said. “He just fights. I love that guy. He’s really a great freshman and he has a few more years. He’s going to be an outstanding player.”

COACH OF THE YEAR: LANCE LEIPOLD, BUFFALO

Before arriving in Buffalo, Lance Leipold went 106-6 with Div III powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater. Photo: UB Athletics

Leipold led the Bulls to a 10-2 record this season. Leipold is in his fourth season leading the Buffalo program and has the Bulls in the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game for the first time since 2008.  Leipold has led the program to its first 10-win season in school history. The Bulls were bowl eligible for the second consecutive season as the program’s win total has increased from two wins in 2016, six wins in 2017 and 10 wins in 2018. The ten wins are the most a Buffalo team has won in a season since joining the FBS ranks in 1999.

2018 Mountain West Awards

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JEFFREY ALLISON, FRESNO STATE

Allison has declared for the 2019 NFL draft.

Allison had a break-out year in 2017, emerging as one of the key players in Fresno State’s dramatic turnaround with 126 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss in 2017, two sacks and two forced fumbles.

He followed that performance by becoming the Mountain West Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year this fall, leading the Bulldogs to their first conference championship since 2013 with 132 tackles, six tackles for loss and two interceptions.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: BRETT RYPIEN, BOISE STATE

Rypein etched his name into the Mountain West history books in 2018, becoming the conference’s all-time leader in passing yards (13,456), completions (1,021), and 300-yard games (21). He eclipsed San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley’s (2008-11) yardage and completion marks of 12,690 and 961, respectively, on Nov. 9 against Fresno State, and passed BYU’s Max Hall for most 300-yard performances Nov. 24 against Utah State.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: COOPER ROTHE, WYOMING

Rothe, the reigning MW Special Teams Player of the Week, leads the nation in field-goal percentage (94.1) and point-after percentage (100.0). Rothe made his first 15 field goals this season and 18 in a row dating back to last season — the longest streak in the nation at the time — before his lone miss against San Jose State on Nov. 3.

A Lou Groza Award finalist, Rothe has connected on 88.6 percent of his field goals (31 of 35) over the last two seasons. He is the first Wyoming player to win either an offensive, defensive or special teams postseason player of the year award since the Mountain West began in 1999.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: TOA TAUA, NEVADA

In the Mountain West, Taua led all freshmen in total rushing yards and rushing yards per game (68.0) and is ranked fifth in the league in rushing yards per carry (5.23) among all classes.

Taua is tied for fifth on the team with 20 receptions for 194 yards and a touchdown. The former Brave also completed four passes for 93 yards on the season, including a 73-yard touchdown pass against Portland State on Aug. 31.

COACH OF THE YEAR: MATT WELLS, UTAH STATE

After going 44-34 at Utah State, Wells has recenlty been named the new head coach at Texas Tech.

Wells, who was also named the Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2013, is the first coach in school history to earn multiple coach of the year honors. Overall, he is one of just five coaches in school history to be so honored as by the Big West Conference.

Wells is also just the fifth coach in conference history to be named the Mountain West Coach of the Year multiple times, joining Colorado State’s Sonny Lubick (1999, 2000), New Mexico and San Diego State’s Rocky Long (2002, 2012, 2015), Utah’s Urban Meyer (2003, 2004) and TCU’s Gary Patterson (2005, 2009).

2018 AAC Awards

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: NATE HARVEY, EAST CAROLINA

Harvey enjoyed a breakout season as a senior at ECU in 2018.
Photo: ECU Athletics

Harvey enjoyed a breakout season as a senior at ECU in 2018 after spending last season primarily on special teams. Harvey, ECU’s starting right defensive end, finished third nationally in tackles for loss with 25.5. However, he finished first in tackles for loss per game with 2.1.

Harvey broke The American’s single-season record of 23.0 tackles for loss, set by Houston’s Ed Oliver last year, and he tied Louisville’s Marcus Smith (2013) for the conference’s single-season record of 14.5 sacks. In addition, Harvey has 59 tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: McKENZIE MILTON, CENTRAL FLORIDA

Milton has undergone five surgeries since his injury in November.
Photo: Reinhold Matay/USATODAYSports

Milton became the first player to repeat as The American’s Offensive Player of the Year as he served as the catalyst behind an offense that lead the conference and ranked fifth nationally at 531.5 yards per game and averaging 43.1 points per game. Milton threw for 2,663 yards and 25 touchdowns with six interceptions and rushed for 307 yards and a team-high nine TDs in 2018. He ranked 10th nationally in pass efficiency (161.0), third in yards per completion (15.57) and sixth in points responsible for per game (20.4).

McKenzie Milton led the UCF Golden Knights to 23 straight wins before suffering a season-ending leg injury.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Isaiah Wright, Temple

Temple’s Isaiah Wright has run the wildcat formation for the Owls.
Photo: Clem Murray/Philly.com

Wright becomes the first Temple player to earn Special Teams Player of the Year honors from The American. Wright scored a nation-leading three special teams touchdowns in 2018 and enters the postseason as the conference leader in punt return average (13.9 yards per return). Wright is third in the conference in kickoff return average (25.9 ypr) and fifth in all-purpose yards (119.0 yards per game).

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Ridder’s high school coach Will Wolford played in the NFL.
Photo: The Athletic

Ridder took over as the Bearcats’ quarterback in the second quarter of the season-opening win at UCLA and has led Cincinnati to a 10-2 record. He threw for 2,445 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions and has rushed for 583 yards and five TDs as a redshirt freshman. He ranked fourth in The American in pass efficiency (145.7) and fifth in total offense (245.4 yards per game).

COACH OF THE YEAR: Luke Fickell, Cincinnati

Fickell is one of the ascending coaches in college football.
Photo: Sam Greene/USATODAYSports

Fickell was chosen by his peers as The American’s Coach of the Year after he orchestrated a six-win improvement in his second year on the Cincinnati sideline. After going 4-8 in his first year, Fickell has led the Bearcats to a 10-2 overall record, a 4-0 in mark in nonconference games and a 6-2 conference mark in 2018. The Bearcats returned to the national polls for the first time since 2013, ranking as high as No. 19 in the Nov. 11 Associated Press poll. 

2018 ACC Awards

POWER 5

ATLANTIC COASTAL CONFERENCE

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: CLELIN FERRELL, CLEMSON

Ferrell looks to be a top 10 pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Photo: ClemsonPaws

Ferrell was part of an exceptional Tigers’ defense in 2018 – one of four Clemson defensive linemen who will be drafted this April. Ferrell lead the Tigers in tackles for loss with 15.5 and sacks with 10.5. He racked up 40 tackles on the season with 11 quarterback pressures.

Ferrell was also the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award winner.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: TRAVIS ETIENNE CLEMSON

Etienne was also name ACC Player of the Year.
Photo: Clemson Athletics

Etienne garnered AP ACC Offensive Player of the Year by turning out the most prolific rushing season in school history, producing a school-record 1,658 yards yards on 204 carries with a school-record 24 rushing touchdowns and 12 catches for 78 yards and two receiving touchdowns in 486 snaps over 15 games. He was a Doak Walker Award finalist.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: ANDRE CISCO, SYRACUSE

Cisco received 40 of 46 votes to easily win the award.
Photo: Syracuse Athletics

Cisco was one of the bright spots in the Orange’s secondary this fall, starting 10 games at free safety and only coming off the field in early season 4-3 sets. His seven interceptions are tied for the national lead with Boston College’s Hamp Cheevers while his 16 passes defended are a program record among freshman defensive backs.

A Long Island native who transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for his last two years of high school, Cisco racked up 51 tackles and a fumble recovery.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: TREVOR LAWRENCE, CLEMSON

Lawrence was arguably the best quarterback in the nation.
Photo: Clemson Athletics

Clemson freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was named Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year despite not starting until Clemson’s fifth game of the season. A five-time ACC Rookie of the Week this season, Lawrence has completed 66.2 percent of his passes (200 of 302) for 2,488 yards with only four interceptions and is coming off the third 300-yard passing game of the season – a 393-yard outing in a win against South Carolina. He was also named ACC Rookie of the Year.

“He was amazing,” Swinney said of Lawrence, who has helped the Tigers win the National Championship. “To see Trevor go out and play like he did tonight, in that arena, that stage, was awesome. He made plays with his legs.”

COACH OF THE YEAR: DABO SWINNEY, CLEMSON

Swinney has led the Tigers to two National Championships.
Photo: Clemson Athletics

Swinney guided the Tigers to their fourth consecutive ACC title Saturday, a first since the league went to divisional play in 2005. He has guided Clemson to three consecutive College Football Playoff berths, eight consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories and the 2016 and 2018 National Championships.

2018 Big 12 Awards

POWER 5

BIG 12 CONFERENCE

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DAVID LONG, JR., WEST VIRGINIA

Long, Jr., is projected to be a second-third round draft pick.
Photo: WVFootball

West Virginia redshirt junior linebacker David Long made history Wednesday, becoming the first player in program history to be named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league with 18.5 tackles for loss and ranked fourth with 8.8 tackles per game.

Just to be clear, there are TWO players named David Long in the upcoming NFL draft. David Long, Jr. is a linebacker from West Virginia (seen here), and the other is a DB from Michigan.

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OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: KYLER MURRAY, OKLAHOMA

Murray (center) was named Big 12 OPOY & won the Heisman Trophy.
Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Murray is one of the most talked about players in this draft. Not only did he win the Big 12 Offensive POY, he took home the Heisman Trophy, the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, the Davey O’Brien Award, and was a finalist for the Maxwell Award.

Murray’s draft stock is all over the board, although, most giving him a mid-first round grade. There are questions about his height (listed at 5-11, but looks 5-8 or 5-9), and more questions about his weight (is he really 185 lbs.? and how many hits can he take?). But there are few questions about his 4.3 speed or his accuracy when given time to throw.

Murray is the fourth Oklahoma QB in recent memory to win the award, joining Jason White, Sam Bradford, and Baker Mayfield.

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DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR: CHARLES OMENIHU, TEXAS

Omenihu has the measurable NFL teams desire, including an 85″ wingspan.
Photo: Texas Athletics

Omenihu secured a Senior Bowl invite after registering 45 tackles, 18 for loss and 9.5 sacks en route to Big 12 defensive lineman of the year honors. Through 50 games and 32 starts in four years, Omenihu claimed 116 tackles, 30.5 for loss and 17 sacks. His numbers improved steadily each year. At the Senior Bowl, he measured in at just shy of 6’6” and 274 pounds with 36.5″ arms and an 85″ inch wingspan. More than likely, whatever team drafts Omenihu will ask him to line up inside and out.

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OFFENSIVE LINEMEN OF THE YEAR: (3-way tie) DALTON RISNER, KANSAS STATE; DRU SAMIA, OKLAHOMA; and YODNEY CAJUSTE, WEST VIRGINIA

All three players should be picked in the first two days of the draft.

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OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: JALEN HURD, BAYLOR

Jalen Hurd played RB at Tennessee before transferring to Baylor to play WR.
Photo: UT Athletics

Hurd is one of the more unique storylines in the NFL draft. A valuable three-year running back who leaves Tenneesse to become the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year as a wide receiver. In 2018, Hurd led the Bears with 69 receptions for 946 yards. He also rushed 48 times for 209 yards and three touchdowns. 

Hurd’s college career includes 2,844 rushing yards and 1,438 receiving yards. He currently sits sixth in Tennessee history in rushing yards.

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DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: GREG EISWORTH, IOWA STATE

In 2017, Eisworth was playing at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.
Photo: Scout.com

Matt Campbell has pushed for Eisworth, at JUCO transfer, to join Iowa State’s 2018 recruiting class with that hope that he can contribute immediately and provide both experience and leadership. His commitment proved to be a valuable one for the Cyclones, who had just lost all three of their starting safeties, including all-Big 12 talent Kamari Cotton-Moya.

Eisworth stepped in and earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year and first-team all-Big 12 honors this season. He led Iowa State in tackles with 84, including 54 solos. He forced two fumbles, had three pass break-ups, one interception and a sack in the pass game. Eisworth was able to impact the run game, as well, recording four tackles for a loss.

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OFFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: POOKA WILLIAMS, JR,. KANSAS

One of the most explosive players in the league with 15 carries of 20+ yards, Williams rushed for a total of 1,125 yards on 161 carries, good for 102.3 yards per game, 7.0 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdowns. He added 289 yards and two scores on 33 receptions and 246 yards on 11 kick returns to lead the Big 12 and rank sixth in the FBS in all-purpose yards at 150.9 per game. 

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DEFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: CADEN STERNS, TEXAS

Sterns, a freshman safety from Cibolo, Texas, has started all 12 games to date, the most by a true freshman defensive back at Texas since Blake Gideon started all 13 in 2008. He has 59 tackles, tied for fourth on the team and has added three tackles for loss and a sack. He has four interceptions, tied with Diggs and Chris Carter (1993) for the most ever by a Longhorn true freshman.

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SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: AUSTIN SEIBERT, OKLAHOMA

Photo: Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert is the all-time NCAA scoring leader among kickers. He broke the record of 494 points set by former Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez. With his 26-yard field goal in the third quarter against Alabama, Seibert scored his 496th career point. He finished his career tied for third (with Montee Ball of Wiconsin) on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list with 498 points.

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Chuck Neinas COACH OF THE YEAR: (tie) MATT CAMPBELL, IOWA STATE & LINCOLN RILEY, OKLAHOMA

For the second straight season Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, the conference announced Wednesday.

This season, he split the award with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.

No. 23 Iowa State (7-4, 6-3 Big 12) was picked to finish seventh in the conference but ended the season in a tie for third with West Virginia. The six conference wins are the most ever by an Iowa State team.

Riley led the Sooners to an 11-1 record this season and an 8-1 Big 12 record. In his second season as head coach, Riley has a 23-2 career record.

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Latest updates have begun for Player Position Rankings: QB, RB, FB, WR

2018 PAC-12 Awards

POWER 5

PAC-12 CONFERENCE

Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington

Burr-Kirven (25), tough and smart, the linebacker has a 3.69 gpa.
Photo: Dean Rutz|The Seattle Times

Burr-Kirven, a senior from Menlo Park, Calif., anchored the Husky defense that led the Pac-12 and was 12th in the nation in total defense (301.8 yards allowed per game), led the Pac-12 in pass defense (185.4 yards allowed per game), and second in rush defense (116.4 yards allowed per game). He led the Pac-12 with 165 tackles and his 12.7 tackles per game ranked third-best in the FBS. Burr-Kirven is the first Pac-12 player to earn both Conference Player of the Year and the Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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Offensive Player of the Year: Gardner Minshew II, Washington State

Minshew is the PAC-12 single season passing leader in yards and completions.
Photo: Young Kwak|The Associated Press

Minshew, from Brandon, Miss., not only led the Pac-12 in passing, but the FBS as well, averaging 373.1 yards per game. Heading into the Alamo Bowl, Minshew, a fifth-year graduate transfer from East Carolina, needed just 238 yards to break Jared Goff’s Pac-12 single-season record of 4,719 yards set in 2015. Against Iowa State, the record-breaker came on a 20-yard toss to Tay Martin in the fourth quarter of WSU’s 28-26 win over the Cyclones.

In the regular season, he completed 433 of 613 pass attempts for 4,477 yards and 36 touchdowns, with just nine interceptions. He threw for 300 or more yards in 11 games, including a season-best 473 yards in Washington State’s 69-28 win over Arizona, where he tied a Pac-12 record with seven touchdown passes in regulation play.

NOTEWORTHY DRAFTABLES: Bryce Love won the award in 2017; Jake Browning took home the award in 2016.

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Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State

Oregon State knew they had something special in Jermar Jefferson.
Image: Oregon State Athletics

Jefferson, a freshman from Harbor City, Calif., topped all FBS freshmen in rushing with 1,380 yards (5.8 yards/carry) and an average of 115.0 yards per game (7th overall in the FBS). His 12 rushing touchdowns were tied for second most in the Pac-12. Jefferson’s 1,380 rushing yards set an Oregon State true freshman rushing record and is the sixth-best single-season total. He twice rushed for 200 or more yards in a game, including a Pac-12 freshman single-game record 254 yards vs. Arizona State.


Honorable Mention Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: CJ Verdell, RB, Oregon; Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC; Max Borghi, RB, Washington State.

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Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Merlin Robertson, Arizona State

Robertson played more snaps than any true freshman in the Pac-12 (749).
Photo: @_Merlin_2/Twitter

Robertson, a freshman from Gardena, Calif., ranked 20th in the Pac-12 with 6.4 tackles per game, while his team-leading 77 total tackles led all Pac-12 freshmen. Named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week after he tallied nine tackles and 1.5 sacks in a 16-13 win over Michigan State. Posted a season-best 11 tackles at Washington. In all, Robertson had 77 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks and an interception. Robertson’s play kept the Sun Devils in every game as their five losses were by seven or fewer points.

Honorable Mention Freshman Defensive Player of the YearPaulson Adebo, DB, Stanford; Jay Tufele, DL, USC.

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Coach of the Year: Washington State’s Mike Leach

Washington State University head football coach Mike Leach.
Photo: Dean Lutz|Seattle Times

Leach guided his Cougars to their sixth 10-win season, and first since 2003. Washington State won seven straight Pac-12 games and finished tied atop the Pac-12 North Division standings with a 7-2 league record and 10-2 overall.

Under Leach, the Cougars climbed to No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings where they sat for four weeks (Oct. 30 – Nov. 20). The Cougars led the Pac-12 in scoring (38.3 ppg), total offense (461.8 ypg) and passing offense (379.8 ypg). It’s the second time Leach has earned Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors (Co-Coach with Stanford’s David Shaw in 2015).

2019 Big Ten Awards

Power 5

BIG TEN CONFERENCE

Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year: Devin Bush, Michigan

Bush was a Consensus All-American for the Wolverines.
Photo: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

Michigan co-captain linebacker Devin Bush Jr. was named the most outstanding defensive player in the Big Ten. According to the team site, in 12 games he totaled 79 tackles (38 solo), 9 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks. Bush, who was also a unanimous All-Big Ten first-team pick, was named the Nagurski-Woodson defensive player of the year by the league on Tuesday. He also won the league’s Butkus-Fitzgerald linebacker of the year honor. 

Because the pool of draft-eligible underclassmen in so large, Bush might not hear his name called until the second round.

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Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year: Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Haskins owns the B1G’s single-season passing yards record.
Photo: Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports

Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year. Haskins led Ohio State to an 11-1 record and 8-1 in the Big Ten while throwing for 4,003 yards and 41 touchdowns. He added 127 yards on the ground with four touchdowns. Haskins also took home the Big Ten’s Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year award.

RELATED: Haskins is expected to go in the first six picks of the NFL draft.

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Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year: Rondale Moore, Purdue

In his college debut, Moore has 313 all-purpose yards vs. Northwestern.
Photo: Purdue Athletics

In the last game of his freshman year, at the Music Bowl, All-American Rondale Moore established a new school record with 2,215 all-purpose yards in a single season. The wide receiver finished with 1,258 yards receiving. His 114 receptions were the best in the country for the 2018 season and seven behind the school record of 121 set by Chris Daniels in 1999 (also in 12 games). His 12 touchdown catches were tied for fourth on the Boilermaker’s single season list.

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Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa

Smith-Marsette consistently gave Iowa strong field position with his returns.
Photo: Jeffery Becker/USATODAYSports

In 2018, Smith-Marsette returned 24 kicks for 707 yards and a 29.5 yards per return average. Though he was unable to return a kick for a touchdown this year, the former Newark, New Jersey, Weequahic high school track star, was invariably consistent with his kick returns for the Hawkeyes. He followed his blocks well and seemed to glide effortlessly down the field. His 29.5 kick return average led the Big Ten, finishing second nationally. 

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Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media vote) & Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches vote): : Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Fitzpatrick was an unanimous selection for B1G’s Coach of the Year.
Photo: Jim Brown/USATODAYSports

Fitzgerald led Northwestern to its first-ever Big Ten West title and an 8-1 conference mark which is NU’s best Big Ten record since 1995. The Wildcats have also won 15 of 17 conference games. The Wildcats beat No. 20 Wisconsin and No. 21 Iowa, losing to No. 14 Michigan by only 3 points. In the Holiday bowl, they beat No. 17 Utah 31-20.

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