With the conference championships in the rearview mirror and bowl season and the College Football Playoff to come, Thursday was a time to reflect on the individual accomplishments of the best players the sport has the offer.
The College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta played host to the ESPN broadcast of its annual awards show, as players such as Baker Mayfield (Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award and Walter Camp Award) and Bryce Love (Doak Walker Award) captured the coveted trophies.
Here is a look at the full list of winners from Thursday’s broadcast, as well as reaction.
Maxwell Award for player of the year: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Davey O’Brien Award for best quarterback: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Walter Camp Award for player of the year: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Doak Walker Award for best running back: Bryce Love, Stanford
Chuck Bednarik Award best defensive player: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Bronko Nagurski Trophy for best defensive player: Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State
Fred Biletnikoff Award for best wide receiver: James Washington, Oklahoma State
Jim Thorpe Award for best defensive back: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Home Depot Coach of the Year: Scott Frost, Central Florida
Lou Groza Award for best kicker: Matt Gay, Utah
Disney Spirit Award: Iowa football for the wave toward the children’s hospital every game
Butkus Award for best linebacker: Roquan Smith, Georgia
Outland Trophy for best interior lineman: Ed Oliver, Houston
John Mackey Award for best tight end: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Rimington Trophy for best center: Billy Price, Ohio State
William V. Campbell Trophy for top scholar athlete: Micah Kiser, Virginia
Ray Guy Award for best punter: Michael Dickson, Texas
Wuerffel Trophy for community service: Courtney Love, Kentucky
Broyles Award for best assistant coach: Tony Elliott, Clemson
Recap and Reaction
Mayfield dominated discussion throughout the 2017 season, so it was only fitting the Oklahoma signal-caller received the first award of the broadcast.
He won the Davey O’Brien Award over Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph—two quarterbacks he beat during the regular season—continuing the Sooners’ tradition, considering Sam Bradford and Jason White also won it:
ESPN’s broadcast wasn’t just a list of award winners, as the network had some fun during the intro with Barrett after he suffered an injury at Michigan when a cameraman made contact with him on the sideline:
The cones helped, but Barrett could have asked for protection from his center, Billy Price, who captured the Rimington Award. It was the second straight year a Buckeye won the honor with Minnesota Vikings center Pat Elflein winning last year.
Head coach Urban Meyer reacted to the news:
Barrett wasn’t the only Big Ten player involved in the lighter side of the event, as Penn State running back Saquon Barkley couldn’t complete the “invisible box” challenge. Former Georgia running back Herschel Walker also failed, although Brian Christopherson of 247Sports had his eye on the upcoming draft:
Offensive playmakers didn’t have the night to themselves, as Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick was honored as the best defensive player in the nation, and Central Florida’s Scott Frost—who will take over the Nebraska program—won the Coach of the Year.
Broadcaster Chris Fowler called Central Florida the Golden Knights and not the Knights when discussing Frost’s recognition, which didn’t go unnoticed:
The evening took an emotional and inspirational turn when ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi provided an inside look at the new tradition Iowa started when everyone in the crowd turns toward the nearby children’s hospital and waves at the children watching from the windows:
The broadcast closed with a run of marquee awards, as well as a montage of the best plays of the season and homage to announcer Brent Musburger.
One notable award went to Oklahoma State’s James Washington as the best wide receiver, which gave viewers the opportunity to see his coach’s hair:
Elsewhere, Love beat out Barkley and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor in a loaded race for the best running back, and Mayfield received additional recognition as the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Maxwell Award winner.
Mayfield’s night signified just how important he was to the college football narrative this year. He will now turn his attention toward the Heisman Trophy ceremony Saturday, where OddsShark listed him as a commanding 1-20 favorite.
The awards are nice, but he would likely trade them all for a College Football Playoff title.
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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News