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College Football Post-Week 13 Award Watch


The Heisman ceremony is two weeks away, and the field is in disarray.

Meanwhile, the field for other position awards is starting to narrow as the season-long voting for many of these awards has been whittled to finalists.

While we love prognosticating who will win college football’s most coveted individual trophy, we also love the glut of postseason awards that go to each position, each with a nod to the game’s history from Davey O’Brien and Doak Walker to Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe to Ray Guy and Lou Groza.

Everyone tracks the progress in the Heisman race, but Athlon Sports will try to keep an eye on who will take home college football’s positional awards.

Here’s our look at the “other” trophies through the 13th week of the season.

The majority of winners for college football’s position awards will be announced Dec. 12 on the College Football Awards Show on ESPN.

Maxwell (Player of the Year)
Our leader: Alabama’s AJ McCarron
The Maxwell Award recipient tends to differ from the Heisman winner in recent seasons (exceptions: Cam Newton in 2010 and Tim Tebow in 2007), though both technically award the top player in the nation. Voters have tended to pick career achievers for this award, so McCarron may be the favorite.
Finalists:Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Biggest snub: Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey

Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Losses last week by Baylor, Texas A&M and Oregon helped separate Winston from the pack in on-field achievements. Winston now leads the nation in pass efficiency and remains second in yards per attempt. His 32 touchdowns is tied for third nationally.
Finalists:Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Biggest snub: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey
Both Carey and Andre Williams are deserving, but Carey’s consistency gets the nod. He’s rushed for at least 100 yards in each game he’s played this season, including 206 and four touchdowns against Oregon last week.
Finalists: Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Boston College’s Andre Williams
Biggest snub: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans
Ask the Iron Bowl participants for their vote: Evans had 279 yards and a touchdown against Alabama and 287 yards and four touchdowns against Auburn.
Others: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, Clemson’s Sammy Watkins
Biggest snub: Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

Amaro remains a snub for the award presumably because he doesn’t always line up as a classic tight end in Texas Tech’s wide open offense. Still, 92 receptions for 1,157 yards with six touchdowns is more than enough to merit attention at a position that’s diminished in prominence in recent years.
Finalists: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron, Florida State’s Nick O’Leary, Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Biggest snub: Amaro

Outland (Top interior lineman)

Our leader: Baylor’s Cyril Richardson
The Outland has tended to to award offensive linemen. In the last 10 years, LSU’s Glenn Dorsey and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh are the only defensive players to win the award. Aaron Donald is making a late push, but Cyril Richardson would be our pick if Baylor can rebound from the rout to Oklahoma State to beat TCU and Texas.
Finalists: Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Baylor’s Cyril Richardson
Biggest snub: Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio

Nagurski (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Alabama’s C.J. Mosley

Another award where Aaron Donald has (finally) gained national attention in recent weeks. Still, the SEC players here — C.J. Mosley and Michael Sam — have opportunities for signature games. Mosley vs. the Auburn run game could clinch it for the Alabama linebacker.
Finalists: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner, Alabama’s C.J. Mosley, Missouri’s Michael Sam
Biggest snub: UCLA’s Anthony Barr

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Mosley

Finalists: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Alabama’s C.J. Mosley, Missouri’s Michael Sam
Biggest snub: BYU’s Kyle Van Noy

Butkus (Top linebacker)

Our leader: Mosley
Finalists: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, Alabama’s C.J. Mosley, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov
Biggest snub: Wisconsin’s Chris Borland

Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard

Dennard had nine tackles and an interception in the rout of Northwestern last week. Braxton Miller will be wise to avoid him in the Big Ten title game.
Finalists: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner
Biggest snub: Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Texas’ Anthony Fera
Fera, the Penn State transfer, is 17 of 18 this season, including 4 of 5 from at least 40 yards out.
Others: Florida State’s Robert Aguayo, Texas’ Anthony Fera, USF’s Marvin Kloss
Biggest snub: Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin

Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Memphis’ Tom Hornsey
Memphis is second in the nation in net punting, led by Hornsey’s 45.5 yards per kick. 

Finalists: Memphis’ Tom Hornsey, Texas A&M’s Drew Kaser, Purdue’s Cody Webster
Biggest snub: Alabama's Cody Mandell

Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

An easy choice for Winston, who remains the frontrunner for the Heisman.
Others: Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, UCLA's Myles Jack

Coach of the year
Our leader: Auburn’s Gus Malzahn

The Tigers have gone from three wins to No. 4 in the BCS with a chance to reach the BCS Championship Game. No matter the outcome of this season, Malzahn has orchestrated one of the best single-season turnarounds in college football history.

Others: Baylor’s Art Briles, Duke’s David Cutcliffe, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel

Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi
The phone for the coordinator of the nation’s top defense is about to to start ringing. He’ll have his pick of head coaching jobs by the end of the season.
Others: LSU’s Cam Cameron, Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama’s Kirby Smart, Oklahoma State’s Glenn Spencer