With the NFL Scouting Combine just finished on Monday, we’ll take a quick re-cap of the major D-I College Football Conferences awards.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: OLB/DE JOSH ALLEN, KENTUCKY
Allen set the Kentucky record with 31.5 career sacks, including a school-record 17 in 2018. He is the SEC’s leader in sacks, tackles for loss (21.5) and forced fumbles (5). Allen is tied for first on Kentucky’s all-time career forced fumbles list with 11. He was named winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophyawarded to the nation’s top defensive player.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB TUA TAGOVAILOA, ALABAMA
Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,966 yards this season and set a school record with 43 touchdown passes. He has thrown for 300 or more yards in six of Alabama’s games, and he also set a school record with a combined 48 passing and rushing touchdowns. Tagovailoa is tied for second on Alabama’s all-time career touchdown pass list with 54. He was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
Beyond the stats, Tagovailoa’s pure arm talent simply looks better than anyone else’s in the SEC. He’s making throws like no Alabama quarterbacks has done before. And his career QB rating of 195.1 is better than any Alabama quarterback, ever. He’s well on his way to become the greatest to ever play the position in program history.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: P BRANDON MANN, TEXAS A&M
Mann is the first Aggie to be named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year. He lead the FBS with a 50.98 punting average. He set a pair of NCAA records in 2018 with a 60.8 gross punt average on five punts against Alabama and 14 60-yard punts for the season. The Aggie punter was named to the A.P. All-American; All-SEC First Team; awarded Special Teams Player of the Year; and took home the Ray Guy Award for best punter in America. Mann will return for his senior year.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: JAYLEN WADDLE, ALABAMA
Waddle lead all SEC freshmen with 61.8 receiving yards per game and seven touchdown receptions during the regular season. He was fourth in the SEC in yards per catch (19.6) and second in punt return average (15.1). Waddle has returned one punt for a touchdown this year. He finished 2018 with 848 receiving yards and 233 punt return yards
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: HALE HENTGES, ALABAMA
Hentges graduated Magna Cum Laude in three years and is now pursuing a master’s in marketing. He earned a 3.74 GPA as an undergraduate and holds a 4.0 GPA in his master’s program. A CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, Hentges has played in all 13 games this season and has a pair of touchdown receptions.
Williams has start all 15 games this season for Alabama and helped pave the way for an offense that leads the SEC with 522 yards per game. The Crimson Tide lead the FBS with 12 games of 500+ total yards.
SEC COACH OF THE YEAR: MARK STOOPS, KENTUCKY
Stoops led Kentucky to a 9-3 regular season record, including a 5-3 mark in SEC play, both of which are the best for the Wildcats since 1977. Kentucky earned a bid to the Citrus Bowl for the first time in school history, defeating Penn State 27-24.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy, usually known colloquially as “the Heisman Trophy” or simply just as “The Heisman”, is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football. The winner epitomizes great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.
The award is presented by the Heisman Trophy Trust in early December before the postseason bowl games.
THIS YEARS WINNER…
KYLER MURRAY, QUARTERBACK, OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Kyler Murray of the University of Oklahoma was selected on Saturday (Dec. 8) as the 84th winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy, an award presented annually by the Heisman Trophy Trust to the most outstanding player in college football.
The 5-10, 195-pounder from Allen, Texas, threw for 4,054 yards and 40 touchdowns, with another 892 yards and 11 scores on the ground while leading the Sooners to a 12-1 record, the Big 12 title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. His passer rating of 205.72 is the best in Heisman history, eclipsing the mark of 203.76 set by Mayfield in 2017.
He’s the seventh Sooner to win the Heisman, joining Billy Vessels (’52), Steve Owens (’69), Billy Sims (’78), Jason White (’03), Sam Bradford (’08) and Mayfield (’17). That total ties Notre Dame and Ohio State for most Heisman wins.
The award is named for Walter Camp, “The Father of American Football,” who played at Yale from 1877-82 and is credited with creating many strategy features which led to the development of the organized game.
The winner is decided by a group of NCAA Division I FBS head coaches and sports information directors under the auspices of the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
THIS YEARS WINNER IS…
TUA TAGOVAILOA, QUARTERBACK, ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Tagovailoa played in 15 games this year completing 69 percent of his passes for 3,966 yards and is averaging 265.4 yards per game. Of his 199 completions, 43 were touchdowns. Only six of his 355 passing attempts were interceptions. He finished this season with an amazing passing efficiency rating of 199.4. He has also rushed for six touchdowns and 355 yards.
Along with being named the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Tagovailoa was more recently name to the 2018 consensus All-American team (Jan. 8th, 2019) edging out Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
There are five outlets is used to determine consensus All-Americans: the American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Foundation.
Each year the Maxwell Football Club presents the Maxwell Award for the College Player of the Year. This award is presented in honor of Robert W. (Tiny) Maxwell, legendary college player, official and sports columnist.
Voters for the Maxwell College Awards are NCAA Head College Football Coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club & sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country
THIS YEARS WINNER…
TUA TAGOVAILOA, QB, ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Tagovailoa has led the no. 1 ranked Crimson Tide to a 14-0 (8-0 SEC) record; and SEC crown; and to the CFP Championship game vs Clemson. He has authored one of the most prolific seasons by a quarterback in recent memory, throwing for 3,353 yards, 37 TDs, 4 INTs, 67.7 cmp%, 11.41 ypa, 190 rushing yards, 5 TDs, 202.3 passer rating .
His numbers are amazing, especially when one considers he hardly played in the fourth quarter at all during the regular season. The Tide were just that dominant – blowing out their opponent by 30+ points by the time the fourth quarter began. Imagine, if Tagovailoa had played in the fourth quarter, what would his numbers look like then?
The Davey O’Brien Award honors candidates who exemplify Davey O’Brien’s enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics.
Originally, the Davey O’Brien Memorial Trophy was presented annually to the most outstanding player in the Southwestern states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Four years later, the award was expanded nationally in scope and limited to quarterback, the primary position of our namesake. The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award.
THIS YEARS WINNER…
KYLER MURRAY, QB, OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Murray, the 2018 Davey O’Brien winner, has amassed more than 4,000 total yards of offense (3,310 passing and 739 rushing). The junior has completed 196 of 279 passes with 34 touchdowns, and has also scored 10 rushing touchdowns while averaging 7.1 yards per carry.
Nationally, Murray ranks second in points responsible for (264), passing efficiency (205.8), total quarterback rating (95.5) and passing yards per attempt (11.9). He also is among the NCAA top 10 in total offense per game (3rd, 368.1), touchdown passes (4th, 34), completion percentage (6th, .703) and passing yards (8th, 3,310).
The product of Allen, Texas, has accounted for at least four touchdowns on eight occasions, highlighted by a game against Baylor when he totaled 477 total yards and seven scores. He was named the Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week on Sept. 13.
Oklahoma finished the season with a 12-2 record and were ranked No. 4 at the end of the regular season. Murray joins Mayfield (2017), Bradford (2008), White (2003, 2004) as the Sooners’ winners all time.
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.