The college football world gathered in Atlanta on Thursday night as nearly a dozen of the sport’s most prestigious awards were handed out from the College Football Hall of Fame.
While a few of the winners were announced before the televised ceremony, here were the players who took home some hardware at the annual awards show:
Walter Camp Player of the Year — Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson
Maxwell Award as national player of the year — Lamar Jackson
Chuck Bednarik Award for defensive player of the year — Alabama’s Jonathan Allen
Davey O’Brien Award for best quarterback — Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (his second in a row)
Doak Walker Award as best running back — Texas’ D’Onta Foreman
Biletnikoff Award for best receiver — Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook
Outland Trophy for outstanding interior lineman — Alabama’s Cam Robinson
Rimington Trophy for best center — Ohio State’s Pat Elflein
Jim Thorpe Award for best defensive back — USC’s Adoree’ Jackson
Lou Groza Award for outstanding place kicker — Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez
Ray Guy Award for best punter — Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky
John Mackey Award for outstanding tight end — Michigan’s Jake Butt
Butkus Award for best linebacker – Alabama’s Reuben Foster
Wuerffel Trophy for community service — Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight
Home Depot Coach of the Year — Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher got together for a joint press conference in Miami today as the two coaches prepare to face one another in the Orange Bowl on December 30. Harbaugh said he is looking forward to the matchup but seemed to be much more interested in getting a chance to witness one of the pregame traditions of Florida State; Chief Osceola riding on Renegade and planting a spear in the turf.
“I’ve never been to a game at Florida State,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always wanted to go there and see what that atmosphere was like in person. This will be as close as I’ve ever been to that. I’m excited for that. I know I’m going to get some chills when that Appaloosa comes riding out there.”
Of course, this isn’t exactly a home game for the Seminoles, so sometimes pregame traditions are put on ice for the bowl season. Knowing this, Harbaugh made his case and made sure everyone listening knows just how cool he thinks it is.
“I want to see that. That’s one of the cool things,” Harbaugh said. “We have cool things and other teams have cool things, but that is right up there as one of the coolest things.”
Fortunately for Harbaugh, he will indeed get a chance to witness this pregame routine in person. Florida State Associate Athletics Director Jason Dennard said on Twitter Chief Osceola and Renegade will make the trip to Miami from Tallahassee.
For the second time today, a Michigan Wolverine has taken home a major college football award.
This morning, the Paul Hornung Award announced Jabrill Peppers as its 2016 winner. Not long after, the John Mackey Award named Peppers’ teammate Jake Butt as the 2016 recipient of its award, handed out annually to the nation’s top tight end.
Butt was a semifinalist for the 2015 award won by Arkansas’ Hunter Henry. He’s the first Michigan player to win the Mackey.
“It’s a great honor first and foremost, especially for this team,” a statement from Butt began. “One thing Coach [Jim] Harbaugh says, ‘A rising tide raises all ships.’ So it’s great to win this award. I want to thank the guys in this group; this is our award, really it’s not a one-man award. I really thank everyone on this team, this coaching staff, my position coach Jay Harbaugh, my family and everyone that’s helped me achieve this great award. I’m really appreciative of that.”
Butt’s 3.6 receptions per game tied for 10th amongst tight ends. he was one of three finalists for the award, and was joined by Alabama’s O.J. Howard and Clemson’s Jordan Leggett.
Jabrill Peppers is the most versatile player in college football. Not surprisingly, an award that rewards versatility will soon be sitting on the Michigan standout’s shelf.
Wednesday morning, the Louisville Sport Commission announced that Peppers has been named as the winner of the 2016 Paul Hornung Award. The award is handed out annually to the nation’s most versatile college football player.
There were three other finalists for the award: Stanford running back and 2015 Hornung winner Christian McCaffrey, USC defensive back Adoree Jackson and Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook.
“It means a lot to me to win this award,” said Peppers in a statement. “You definitely want to do as much as possible, and you want to do it as well as you can. I think there are a lot of guys who could have won this award, so it’s just a tremendous honor to be the winner and to represent the Paul Hornung Award. I’m just going to keep to trying to get better, keep working on my faults and do whatever I have to do to help my team.”
Peppers, the first Wolverine to claim this honor, played 933 snaps in 12 games this season — 726 on defense, 53 on offense and 154 on special teams. Most impressively, Peppers played those 933 snaps at 15 different positions.
Earlier this week, Peppers was named as one of five Heisman finalists. It’s expected Peppers will leave Michigan early for the NFL, where he’s widely projected to be one of the first 10 players selected in the April draft.
With Wilton Speight seemingly holding down the quarterback position for the foreseeable future, Shane Morris has decided his time at Michigan should come to an end. Reportedly.
According to ESPN.com‘s Tom VanHaaren, Morris is planning to pursue a graduate transfer from UM. Should Morris leave the Wolverines in such a manner, he’d be immediately eligible to play at another FBS school in 2017.
He has one year of eligibility remaining.
Morris came to Ann Arbor with significant hype, a four-star 2013 recruit rated as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the country by 247Sports.com. In four years with the program, he started a total of two games.
The first start came at the end of his true freshman season, with an injury to Devin Gardner opening the door for Morris to start the bowl game that year. His second was memorable as well.
Morris shot to the epicenter of what became a national debate over concussion protocols after his apparently concussed self was reinserted into a mid-October game in 2014. The situation brought significant criticism on the football program, but also led to the Big Ten adopting a conference-wide standard for concussion treatment.
In 2015, Morris not only lost out on the starting job to graduate transfer Jake Rudock but also fell behind Speight on the depth chart. Spight then beat him out for the starting job this season.
Both Speight and John O’Korn, who served as the primary backup in 2016, will return for the 2017 season.
During his time at UM, Morris completed 47 of his 92 pass attempts for 434 yards, zero touchdowns and five interceptions. In mop-up duty this season, he went 4-5 for 45 yards.