Scott Frost and the Nebraska Cornhuskers got what they wanted. It wasn't pretty by any stretch but the Huskers had a 2020 football season. Even during a pandemic, the Year Three product isn't where anyone was expecting or is content with, fans or Frost. Still, there were standout contributors, and they are who we celebrate today.
Many awards dot the college football landscape. There are game-day helmet stickers handed out by national pundits. The Nebraska media votes on both the Tom Novak and Guy Chamberlin trophies while the coaches bestow the Cletus Fischer Native Son honor. You've heard of the Maxwell, the Bednarik, and of course, the Heisman.
In this spirit, we wanted to hand out some hardware to recognize those that stood out the most for the Big Red this season.
Offensive MVP: Dedrick Mills, RB
The team's second-leading rusher in 2020, Mills played in six games amassing 396 yards and three touchdowns. Those aren't flashy stats, but it's about how he tallied what he did.
Mills was clearly banged up for several games. The most logical conclusion he wasn't used more often in his traditional role is injury. No other running back matched what he offered at the position as evidenced by the use of Wan'Dale Robinson and the overall ineffectiveness of Rhamir Johnson and Marvin Scott III.
When Mills was finally given the opportunity to quite literally take the ball and run with it, the Huskers not only scored the most points in a second half this season against Rutgers but also had their best rushing performance. With a career-high 191 yards in Piscataway, Mills gave the Big Red yet another player with 1,000 career rushing yards.
Defensive MVP: Cam Taylor-Britt, CB
The Blackshirts performed above expectations and Taylor-Britt was the linchpin. Tying Myles Farmer with two interceptions, game-planning for the Alabama native was a necessity for offensive coordinators. He also garnered the highest all-conference honors on the team being named to the second team by Big Ten coaches joining other NFL-quality company in this distinction.
Taylor-Britt is now faced with the decision of opting to head to the NFL in search of a contract or returning to improve his draft stock with a captainship nearly guaranteed. With this year's eligibility frozen, being a part of the Big Red secondary for another season would no doubt give him a bump if he feels a better payday is in his future.
Special Teams MVP: Connor Culp, K
One year after a dumpster fire at the position, Culp was brought in to be a salve to heal one of the unit's several wounds. If new senior special teams analyst Jonathan Rutledge wants to take credit for any of the group's successes, having the Big Ten's best kicker is surely at the top of his list.
Culp went 13-of-15 on field goals including a career-long of 49 yards against Purdue — the longest field goal made by any Husker since 2016. Despite not having the opportunity to kick many extra points, he converted all 20 of those attempts as well.
In Culp, we've identified one player from this season Frost will most likely lobby the hardest to return.
Under-the-Radar Award: Luke Reimer, ILB
Nebraska's linebacker corps was a major question mark prior to kickoff. But Remier showed to be more than capable of holding his own checking in at fifth on the team's tackle list (40 total, 29 unassisted). The sophomore also trailed only seniors Jojo Domann and Will Honas in tackles for a loss (5), notched two sacks and forced a fumble.
With Collin Miller opting to retire in the wake of a spinal concussion suffered against Illinois, Reimer's presence will be even more important come 2021.
All-Teammate Awards: Adrian Martinez, QB and Collin Miller, LB
While Martinez's junior season was filled with miscues, he had a career-defining moment. After Frost made the emotional decision to bench Martinez in favor of Luke McCaffrey following losses to Ohio State and Northwestern, the Californian could've checked out.
Instead, he was one of McCaffrey's most vocal cheerleaders and was there to celebrate every positive moment his redshirt freshman replacement had. He would regain the starting spot, but if there was any doubt what kind of attitude 2AM brings to the roster, it was squashed.
Miller, meanwhile, was not only a frequent contributor to the Blackshirts, but after his aforementioned injury, he did everything he could to help coach up teammates and foster a positive environment lifting up members of the roster across the board.
When Miller addressed the media and announcing his intentions to hang up the cleats, the idea of a coaching career was brought up. While there are other priorities, Miller noted it's on his list. Both of these young men embodied what a coach wants most out of his players when they cannot affect a game's outcome on the field.
Team MVP: Wan'Dale Robinson, WR
If defensive coordinators know one thing heading into Nebraska week, it's that Robinson has to be accounted for. No matter who is taking snaps or which running backs are available, he carries with him the threat of scoring on any play if he gets both the ball and daylight.
Frost didn't want him to be the featured running threat and his touches were more limited down the stretch. But he had 29 carries over a three-game stretch including 16 in the Huskers' first win of the year against Penn State.
His jersey sporting No. 1 is fitting as he is not only Frost's best offensive weapon. As it stands, he is the finest athlete on the roster. When he's not on the field, Nebraska is significantly worse off for it and this will remain the case until he takes his leave.
For now, the pride of Frankfort, Kentucky, is, simply put, the best the Huskers have to offer.