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College football awards recap: Why is Pitt’s Aaron Donald not a Heisman finalist again?

Florida State v Pittsburgh Getty Images

Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the big winner of this week’s awards circuit. The ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year collected the Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy. Somehow though, Donald is not one fo the six finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented Saturday in New York. How a player so dominant and decorated on the defensive side of the football misses out on a trip to New York when six finalists are extended an invitation is beyond comprehension.

The likely Heisman Trophy winner, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, received a handful of honors as well. Winston was named the Walter Camp Player fo the Year and Davey O’Brien Award winner.Winston was one of three Florida State players to win an award, with Bryan Stork winning the Rimington Trophy for best center and kicker Roberto Aguay0 winning the Lou Groza Award.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, another Heisman finalist, was named the Maxwell Award winner. Boston College running back Andre Williams, also on his way to New York for the Heisman festivities, was named the Doak Walker Award winner.

Here is a rundown of the awards presented or acknowledged Thursday night in Orlando at the annual college football awards show.

Maxwell Award (Player of the Year)

AJ McCarron, Alabama

Walter Camp Player of the Year

Jameis Winston, Florida State

Chuck Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year)

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

Bronko Nagurski Award (Nation’s Outstanding Defensive Player)

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

Rotary Lombardi Award (Nation’s Outstanding Lineman)

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

Davey O’Brien Award (Nation’s Best Quarterback)

Jameis Winston, Florida State

Doak Walker Award (Best Running Back)

Andre Williams (Boston College)

Biletnikoff Award (Best Wide Receiver)

Brandin Cooks, Orgeon State

John Mackey Award (Best Tight End)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

Outland Trophy (Most Outstanding Interior Lineman)

Aaron Doanld, Pittsburgh

Rimington Trophy (Best Center)

Bryan Stork, Florida State

Jim Thorpe Award (Best Defensive Back)

Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

Lou Groza Award (Best Kicker)

Roberto Aguayo, Florida State

Ray Guy (Best Punter)

Tom Hornsey, Memphis

William V. Campbell Trophy (Academic Success)

John Urschel, Penn State

Home Depot Coach of the Year

Gus Malzahn, Auburn

Frank Broyles Award (Top Assistant Coach)

Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State defensive coordinator

NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award

John Gagliardi

Disney Spirit Award

Devon Walker, Tulane

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17 Responses to “College football awards recap: Why is Pitt’s Aaron Donald not a Heisman finalist again?”
  1. thefiesty1 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:14 PM

    Because he plays defense, stupid!

  2. tgaustin says: Dec 12, 2013 10:21 PM

    Hey Kevin, who won the Ted Hendricks award?

  3. Deb says: Dec 12, 2013 10:21 PM

    Did you just ask why a defensive tackle isn’t among the six Heisman finalists?

    Child, please.

    A better question is what kind of deal with the devil Charles Woodson made to wrest stiff-armed man from Peyton Manning.

    The Heisman voters might occasionally let a defensive back or even a linebacker come to the party, but I don’t think the doors are wide enough to admit anything as big as a defensive tackle.

  4. dmcgrann says: Dec 12, 2013 10:32 PM

    Kevin, you’re obviously a young whippersnapper to ask that question. Giving short shrift to defensive players is as much a Heisman tradition as is the tradition of the Baseball Writer’s to always have a member who figures that no one ever deserves to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.

  5. granadafan says: Dec 12, 2013 10:54 PM

    Kevin is right. The Heisman rarely picks the best PLAYER in the country. Heck every single QB who won the Heisman since the early 90s has been a bust or just average at the next level. If they’re the “best player” as voted by so-called experts, then the system needs a serious overhaul.

  6. Kevin McGuire says: Dec 12, 2013 10:58 PM

    Playing defense may make it nearly impossible to win the Heisman Trophy, but is certainly not a disqualifier to be a finalst. Manti Te’o was a finalist last year. Tyrann Mathieu and Ndamukong Suh are ther more recent defensive finalists. Considering there are six players invited this season, not including Donald seems like an oversight from the voters.

  7. Kevin McGuire says: Dec 12, 2013 11:00 PM

    Jackson Jeffcoat of Texas won the Ted Hendricks Award. (Source:

  8. Deb says: Dec 12, 2013 11:37 PM

    @Kevin …

    Didn’t realize Suh was a Heisman finalist. Guess the doors are bigger than I thought. But it would still shock me if they ever awarded the trophy to one of the big boys–and that includes offensive linemen. As a lover of great defense, I think that’s a shame. But the same mentality applies when choosing the NFL MVP.

  9. sportsguy3434 says: Dec 13, 2013 1:01 AM

    Because the Heisman is unfortunately about who the media has hyped and told us is the front runner. I know the voters can vote differently than popularity, but whoever gets the highlights and hype is toward the top.

    Suh got hyped for throwing Colt McCoy around like a rag doll…and his name doesn’t hurt either. Manti was a feel good story and a descent player until the NC game. Woodson was a dynamic punt returner. That’s how they made a name for themselves.

  10. m3dman3 says: Dec 13, 2013 2:06 AM

    Khalil Mack is more of an impact on the field, that’s why.

  11. boomgrounder says: Dec 13, 2013 5:25 AM

    Because ESPN didn’t name him as a candidate. ESPN decides who the Heisman candidates will be and ultimately ESPN runs CFB. Their talking heads spout out information and brainless Heisman voters believe if ESPN says it then it must be true.
    I swear I think ESPN could get Lou Holtz elected President if it wanted to!

  12. v2the4 says: Dec 13, 2013 6:47 AM

    agreed with all said..dont worry though, Donald will be a very high draft pick in the nfl and will get his name recognized for his play far earlier in his career, like game 1, than all of the qb’s on this heisman list.

    on another note, check out the list of gifts that the players will get from bowl games this years…samsung gallery 3, a Tourneau watch-which is very expensive, playstation 4, Oakley sunglasses, best buy shopping trips, macy’s shopping trips and top of the line backups among other things

  13. jkulha86 says: Dec 13, 2013 7:19 AM

    Because he is a defensive player, he isn’t a QB, and because he doesn’t play on a big name team. The sports media only care about the big name teams, and their star players. Just look at how ESPN single handidly pushed Manti Te’o into the Heisman race last year.

  14. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 13, 2013 10:01 AM

    Congrats to Cooks and OSU on the Bilitnekof…

    Mike Evans looked almost disinterested in A&Ms last 2 games…. not sure what happened there but he let that award slip right out of his hands.

  15. mogogo1 says: Dec 13, 2013 10:56 AM

    “Heck every single QB who won the Heisman since the early 90s has been a bust or just average at the next level.”

    The equivalent of claiming your high school valedictorian was undeserving because he went on to be just another student at Harvard. College and the NFL are totally different games.

  16. newlydead says: Dec 13, 2013 11:27 AM

    Congrats to John Urschel, PSU …. Academic Success

    We Are!

  17. onlyoneleft says: Dec 13, 2013 7:41 PM

    SC fans had the Clown as Mr. Everything at the start of the season. I don’t get it: not even mentioned. Even old Loose Boltz thought he would get it.

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