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College Football Post-Week 14 Award Watch


The Heisman ceremony is a week away, and the winner may be all but determined.

Thursday's announcement that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will not be charged following an investigation related to an allegedy sexual battery ends a saga that clouded the second half his season.

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 14th 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
Those looking at the loss column will unfairly diminish McCarron. His performance in the Iron Bowl was excellent with two scoring drives from his own 1, including a 99-yard touchdown pass. 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.
Finalists: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Biggest snub: Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch

Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Winston heads into the ACC Championship Game with the top credentials for the Davey O'Brien, the Heisman and a host of other preseason awards. The state attorney announced Thursday that Winston would not be charged with a crime after an investigation into an alleged sexual battery incident.
Finalists: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Biggest snub: Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey
Andre Williams left the loss to Syracuse with injury, but he had rushed for only 29 yards on nine carries. Carey’s team lost big to Arizona State, but he still rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.
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: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks
Mike Evans’ four catches for eight yards has tilted this back into the favor of Cooks, who had a combined 20 catches for 227 yards against Washington and Oregon.
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 because he doesn’t always line up as a classic tight end in Texas Tech’s wide open offense. Amaro’s 98 receptions for 1,240 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: Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald
The Outland has tended to favor offensive linemen with the exception of LSU’s Glenn Dorsey and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh. Donald is in that class. His 26.5 tackles for a loss is 4.5 more than anyone else in the country.
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: Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald

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: Donald

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: UCLA’s Anthony Barr
Barr has finished the season in a flurry with seven tackles for a loss and four sacks in the final three games, including three TFLs and two sacks in a 35-14 win over USC.
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 played closer to the line against run-oriented Minnesota, picking up nine tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in the 14-3 win. Michigan State has five interceptions and has not allowed a passing touchdown in the last two games.
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
With two field goals against Texas Tech, Fera has made 15 kicks in a row and 19 of 20 this season.
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 fourth in the nation in net punting, led by Hornsey’s 45.9 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. Winston should make it back-to-back for redshirt freshmen for the award.
Others: Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, UCLA's Myles Jack

Coach of the year
Our leader: Duke’s David Cutcliffe

Auburn has had top recruiting talent, and Missouri has played in conference championship games before. As remarkable as those turnaround are, David Cutcliffe is the first 10-win coach in Duke history and still has an ACC Championship Game in his future.
Others: Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, 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: Minnesota’s Tracy Claeys, Baylor’s Phillip Montgomery, Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama’s Kirby Smart, Oklahoma State’s Glenn Spencer

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