DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: CLELIN FERRELL, CLEMSON
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.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: TRAVIS ETIENNE CLEMSON
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 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
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 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.
The Doak Walker Award, first awarded in 1990, honors the top running back in college football in the United States. It is named in honor of Doak Walker, a star halfback in college for the SMU Mustangs and in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions.
THIS YEARS WINNER…
JONATHAN TAYLOR, RB, WISCONSIN BADGERS
Taylor led the FBS in rushing with 2,194 yards on 307 carries, an impressive 7.1 yards per carry despite being the focus of opposing defenses, and 16 touchdowns. He went over 100 yards rushing in 12 of his 13 games, including four 200-yard games. Taylor posted a career-high 321 yards and three touchdowns against Purdue in November.
After just two seasons and 27 games, Taylor has rushed for 4,171 yards and ranks fifth on the all-time Wisconsin rushing list.
Taylor was named MVP of the 2018 Pinstripe bowl (Dec 27), where he gouged Miami for 205 yards on 27 carries with one touchdown.
Taylor will be recognized at the Doak Walker Award Banquet on Feb. 8 in Dallas. Johnny Robinson, the 2018 PwC Doak Walker Legends Award recipient, will also be honored.
In the CFP Semi-Final/Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Trevor Lawrence completed 27 of 39 pass attempts for 327 yards and three touchdowns, including 19 of 26 for 264 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Justyn Ross in the first half alone.
**Sophomore RB Travis Etienne (5-10/210)
Against Notre Dame, Travis Etienne ran for 109 yards on 14 carries, including a 62-yard touchdown run that pushed him past Wayne Gallman’s 2015 mark for the most rushing yards in a single season.
Senior DE Austin Bryant (6-5/265)
Austin Bryant’s two sacks and six total tackles were one of the main sparks of a defensive effort that only allowed three points to a Notre Dame team averaging over 33 per game this season.
***Freshman WR Justyn Ross (6-4/205)
True freshman wide receiver Justyn Ross has had Clemson fans talking since he walked on campus, but he made his first national splash with an outstanding game at the Cotton Bowl. Ross caught 6 passes for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging a whopping 24.7 yards per catch against the Fighting Irish.
Coach: Nick Saban
Alabama Players to watch:
**Sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa (6-1/216)
Tua Tagovailoa finished the Capital One Orange Bowl with a blistering 236.7 QB rating. He hit on 24 out of 27 passes for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns. During the Orange Bowl, Tagovailoa set a new UA school record of 3,671 passing yards in his career with a chance to add to that total on January 7th in Santa Clara, California.
*Junior RB Josh Jacobs (5-10/212)
Jacobs rushed for a team high of 98 yards against the Sooners. He also caught 4 passes for 60 yards. One of the most memorable plays of the game was when Jacobs bulldozed Oklahoma defensive back Robert Barnes on a 27-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass from Tagovailoa that put Alabama ahead by four scores 2 minutes into the second quarter.
**Sophomore WR DeVonta Smith (6-1/175)
Smith will be long remembered in College Football Playoff National Championship lore for catching Tagovailoa’s 41-yard bomb on a streak down the sideline to secure the Crimson Tide with its 17th national championship against Georgia in 2018. In this year’s CFP semi-final against Oklahoma, Smith pulled in 6 receptions for 104 yards and 1 touchdown.
***Sophomore FS Xavier McKinney (6-1/197)
McKinney was named the Defensive MVP of the Orange Bowl. Against Oklahoma’s gunslinging QB Kyler Murray, McKinney totaled five tackles to go along with a game-high four pass breakups.
Quarterback — Tua Tagovailoa, sophomore, Alabama Running backs — Travis Etienne, sophomore, Clemson; Trayveon Williams, junior, Texas A&M Tackles — Dalton Risner, senior, Kansas State; Andrew Thomas, sophomore, Georgia Guards — Dru Samia, senior, Oklahoma; Michael Dieter, senior, Wisconsin Center — Ross Piersbacher, senior, Alabama Tight end — T.J, Hockenson, sophomore, Iowa Wide receivers — Tylan Wallace, sophomore, Oklahoma State; Andy Isabella, senior, Massachusetts All-purpose player — Greg Dortch, sophomore, Wake Forest Kicker — Cole Tracy, senior, LSU
Ends — Montez Sweat, senior, Mississippi State; Jachai Polite, junior, Florida Tackles — Jerry Tillery, senior, Notre Dame; Gerald Willis III, senior, Miami Linebackers — Devin Bush, junior, Michigan; David Long Jr., junior, West Virginia; Joe Dineen, senior, Kansas Cornerbacks — Greedy Williams, sophomore, LSU; Byron Murphy, sophomore, Washington Safeties — Taylor Rapp, junior, Washington; Amani Hooker, junior, Iowa Punter — Mitch Wishnowsky, senior, Utah
Quarterbacks — Dwayne Haskins, sophomore, Ohio State Running backs — Benny Snell, junior, Kentucky; Eno Benjamin, sophomore, Arizona State Tackles — Andre Dillard, senior, Washington State; Cody Ford, junior, Oklahoma Guards — Terronne Prescod, senior, North Carolina State; Chris Lindstrom, senior, Boston College Center — Michael Jordan, junior, Ohio State Tight end — Noah Fant, junior, Iowa Wide Receivers — A.J. Brown, junior, Mississippi; David Sills V, senior, West Virginia All-purpose player — J.J. Taylor, sophomore, Arizona Kicker — Matt Gay, senior, Utah
Ends — Chase Winovich, senior, Michigan; Jaylon Ferguson, senior, Louisiana Tech Tackles — Jeffery Simmons, junior, Mississippi State; Ed Oliver, junior, Houston Linebackers — Paddy Fisher, sophomore, Northwestern; David Woodward, sophomore, Utah State; Te’Von Coney, senior, Notre Dame Cornerbacks — Hamp Cheevers, junior, Boston College; Lavert Hill, junior, Michigan Safeties — Andre Cisco, freshman, Syracuse; Johnathan Abram, senior, Mississippi State Punter — Jason Smith, sophomore, Cincinnati
Lawrence has completed 212-326 passes for 2,606 yards with 24 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He earned first-team freshman All-American honors from multiple outlets and was a second-team All-ACC quarterback, collecting ACC Rookie of the Year honors as he led Clemson its fourth consecutive ACC title.
*Junior DE Clelin Ferrell (6-5/260)
Winner of the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award, Ferrell leads the 2018 team in tackles for loss (17) and sacks (10.5) along with totaling 45 tackles in 13 games. In his three-year career, he has 47.5 tackles for loss, eighth most in Tiger history, and 26 sacks, fifth most in school history.
Senior LT Mitch Hyatt (6-5/305)
Hyatt is a big reason Clemson is averaging 259.8 rushing yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry. The Tigers have also allowed just 14 sacks in 13 games. In his four-year career, he has played 3,624 snaps, most by a Tiger in history.
***Sophomore RB Travis Etienne (5-10/210)
Etienne is among the nation’s leaders in rushing with 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns on 176 carries along with 10 receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. His 22 total touchdowns are a school record. He is averaging 112.5 rushing yards per game and 8.3 yards per carry.
Book helped the Irish rip off eight consecutive victories. Book finished the regular season completing 70.4% (197 of 280) of his passes with 19 TDs and 2,468 yards. He also rushed 78 times for 250 yards and four TDs. Book ranks sixth and eighth, respectively, in FBS completion percentage and pass efficiency. He became the first FBS signal caller to win his first five starts of a season with a completion percentage over 70% in each game since Russell Wilson at Wisconsin in 2011.
*Junior WR Myles Boykin (6-1/227)
Boykin totaled 54 catches for 803 yards, both team highs. He had a stretch of six straight games with at least one TD reception, making him the first Irish receiver to accomplish that feat since Will Fuller.
Senior LB Te’Von Coney (6-1/236)
Coney capped his career by starting all 12 games while recording a team-best 107 tackles (59 solo), 9.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He became the first Irish player to post back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since since Jaylon Smith (2014, 2015).
Senior DT Jerry Tillery (6-7/300)
Tillery started all 12 contests, recording a team-best eight sacks and three forced fumbles. He added 30 total tackles (10.5 for loss) and five QB hurries. Tillery leads all FBS interior defensive lineman in total QB hurries (31), sacks (8.0) and quarterback hits (44).