Our favorites for major the positional awards in college football
Why should the Heisman Trophy have all the fun?
Unfair to award contenders or not, the Heisman Trophy is the only major sports award where the favorites are decided almost as soon as the previous winner is named.
We think college footballâs rich history of trophies and awards deserves more fanfare all season long. Thatâs why weâll take a look at contenders for major position awards, and later coach of the year awards. Weâll name our weekly leaders for the Davey OâBrien, the Doak Walker, Nagurski, Lombard, Outland and more each week, here in the weekly awards watch.
If youâre looking for our thoughts on that other trophy, check our weekly Heisman poll.
Davey OâBrien (Top quarterback)
Last yearâs winner: Robert Griffin, Baylor
Our leader: Geno Smith, West Virginia
USCâs Matt Barkley is the Heisman favorite, but it was tough to beat Geno Smithâs stat line against Marshall. Smith completed 32 of 36 passes for 323 yards with three touchdowns. He also rushed for 65 yards and a score, a career high. He never ran for more than 26 yards in a game last season. Smith leads an offense that has scored 139 points in two games.
Others: USCâs Matt Barkley, Nebraskaâs Taylor Martinez
Doak Walker (Top running back)
Last yearâs winner: Trent Richardson, Alabama
Our leader: LeâVeon Bell, Michigan State
Bell took the pressure off first-time starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell by rushing for 210 yards and two touchdowns against Boise State. Bell, who had split time in past seasons, had never topped 20 carries in a game in his career.
Others: UCLAâs Johnathan Franklin, Clemsonâs Bruce Ellington
Biletnikoff Award (Top wide receiver)
Last yearâs winner: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Our leader: Marqise Lee, USC
Lee may be overtaking the more veteran Robert Woods as USCâs most visible receiver. Against Hawaii, Lee caught 10 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. He added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to boot, marking the second time in his career heâs had a touchdown catch and a special teams score. Lee has 10 touchdowns in his last six games.
Others: Clemsonâs DeAndre Hopkins, Vanderbiltâs Jordan Matthews
Mackey Award (Top tight end)
Last yearâs winner: Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Our leader: Kaneakua Friel, BYU
The junior tight end caught seven passes all of last season and almost topped that against Washington State. Friel caught six passes from 101 yards, including touchdown catches from two different quarterbacks.
Others: Arkansasâ Chris Gragg, Washingtonâs Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Outland Trophy (Top interior lineman)
Last yearâs winner: Barrent Jones, Alabama
Our leader: Jones, Alabama
No offensive lineman came into this season with more fanfare than the defending Outland winner, even earning a little bit of Heisman attention from those whoâd like to see the award go to a lineman every once in a while. Led by Jones, the Alabama offensive line was dominant against Michigan, opening gaping running lanes for Alabama backs. The Crimson Tide rushed for 232 yards and 5.2 yards per carry in the win over The Wolverines.
Others: Notre Dameâs Manti Teâo, Alabamaâs D.J. Fluker
Rimington Trophy (Top center)
Last yearâs winner: David Molk, Michigan
Our leader: Alabamaâs Jones
Others: Clemsonâs Dalton Freeman
Bednarik Award/Nagurski Award (Defensive Player of the Year)
Last yearâs winners: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU (Bednarik), Luke Kuechly, Boston College (Nagurski)
Our leader: Dee Milliner, Alabama
Michigan probably tested Alabamaâs new first-time cornerback one too many times in the 41-14 rout. Milliner finished the game with four pass breakups and an interception returned 35 yards to set up a short Alabama field goal. Denard Robinson completed only 5 of 16 passes in the first half against the Alabama defense.
Others: Notre Dameâs Manti Teâo, Florida Stateâs Bjoern Werner
Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)
Last yearâs winner: Keuchly
Our leader: Manti Teâo, Notre Dame
Notre Dameâs star linebacker recorded six tackles and picked up two turnovers (one interception and a fumble recovery) in the 50-10 Irish win over Navy. Hard to believe for one of the nationâs best linebackers, but it was just his first career interception.
Others: BYUâs Kyle Van Noy, Florida Stateâs Bjoern Werner
Butkus Award (Top linebacker)
Last yearâs winner: Kuechly
Our leader: Teâo, Notre Dame
Others: Michigan Stateâs Max Bullough, West Virginiaâs Isaiah Bruce
Thorpe Award (Top defensive back)
Last yearâs winner: Morris Claiborne, LSU
Our leader: Milliner, Alabama
Others: Rutgersâ Brandon Jones, Texasâ Kenny Vacarro
Groza Award (Top kicker)
Last yearâs winner: Randy Bullock, Texas A&M
Our leader: Sean Ianno, UTSA
Ianno accounted for 15 points, including a 51-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining to clinch a 33-31 win over South Alabama. in UTSAâs debut as an FBS program Ianno also kicked field goals of 47, 32 and 21 yards.
Others: Clemsonâs Chandler Catanzaro, Iowaâs Mike Meyer
Ray Guy Award (Top punter)
Last yearâs winner: Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech
Our leader: Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State
Van Der Kamp averaged 43 yards per kick on nine punts, landing five of them inside Tulsaâs 20-yard line in the Cyclones 38-23 win.
Others: Coloradoâs Darragh OâNeill, Michiganâs Will Hagerup
Freshman of the Year
Our leader: Duke Johnson, Miami
Whether breaking tackles or running to the end zone untouched, Duke Johnson hinted at entering his spot in Miamiâs long running back tradition. Johnson rushed for touchdowns of 54 and 56 yards against Boston College, finishing with 135 yards on seven carries.
Others: UCLAâs Brett Hundley, Alabamaâs T.J. Yeldon
by David Fox
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