The push for the College Football Playoff is not the only thing heating up in November. Award season is started to come closer and closer. On Monday, the Maxwell Football Club released its list of semifinalists for two of the top individual awards in college football, the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Every Power 5 conference is represented on the Maxwell Award semifinalist list with 2 from the ACC, 4 from the Big 12, 2 from the Big Ten, 4 from the Pac-12 and 2 from the SEC. The SEC led the power conferences with seven players named to the Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalists with four.
Last year’s winner for the two Maxwell Football Club awards were Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (Maxwell Award) and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright (Bednarik Award). A quarterback has won the Maxwell Award 13 times since 2000 and has included players like Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise gives the Irish a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the list of all-time winners by school. Notre Dame and Penn State each have seven Maxwell Award winners for the most of all-time. Navy, Ohio State and Texas each have four winners.
Penn State also has more Bednarik Award winners than any other school with four. LSU has a chance to come within one with linebacker Kendall Beckwith named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award. Past winners of the Bednarik Award, first awarded in 1995, include Pat Fitzgerald, Charles Woodson, LaVar Arrington, Ndamukong Suh, Tyrann Mathieu, Manti Te’o and Aaron Donald.
The winners of the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award will be announced on December 10, 2015 during ESPN’s college football awards show. Three finalists will be announced for each award prior to that on November 24. A formal presentation for the awards will be held during the Maxwell Football CLub’s annual awards gala in Atlantic City, New Jersey, currently scheduled for March 11, 2016 at the Tropicana Resort & Casino.
2015 Maxwell Award Semifinalists
- RB Devontae Booker, Utah
- QB Trevone Boykin, TCU
- WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
- QB Connor Cook, Michigan State
- RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
- WR Josh Doctson, TCU
- QB Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
- RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
- RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
- RB Royce Freeman, Oregon
- RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
- QB Cody Kessler, USC
- QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
- QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
- RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
- QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
- RB C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame
- QB Keenan Reynolds, Navy
- QB Greg Ward Jr., Houston
- QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
2015 Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalists
- LB Kendall Beckwith, LSU
- NT Andrew Billings, Baylor
- DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
- DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida
- DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
- S Jeremy Cash, Duke
- LB Su’a Cravens, USC
- DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
- CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
- DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
- CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
- LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple
- DE Carl Nassib, Penn State
- DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
- DE Emmanueal Ogbah, Oklahoma State
- LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
- CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
- DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
- LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin
- LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Mississippi State has officially responded publicly to the brouhaha kicked up by their new head football coach.
Last Thursday, Mike Leach sent out a tweet in which he apologized for anyone he offended in a previous tweet. In the controversial tweet in question, the caption read “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf..” The picture attached to it? An elderly woman knitting a noose.
A handful of Leach’s followers were offended by the tweet. In response to Leach’s original tweet, Mississippi State football player Fabien Lovett wrote simply, “Wtf.” Lovett soon thereafter announced that he was entering the transfer portal; his father confirmed later that the tweet played a role. Monday, one of Lovett’s, Brevyn Jones, announced that he too will be transferring.
In the midst of that social media maelstrom, Mississippi State had been largely silent. Until now. In a statement, MSU athletic director John Cohen expressed disappointment in Leach’s tweet. He also stated that the university is confident that Leach has learned from what was described as a “misstep.”
Below is the statement, in its entirety.
No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that’s particularly true in the South and in Mississippi. Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach. He removed the tweet and issued a public apology. The university is confident that Coach Leach is moving quickly and sincerely past this unintended misstep and will provide the leadership for our student-athletes and excitement for our football program that our fans deserve and that our students and alumni will be proud to support.
To ensure that Leach has learned from his “misstep,” Mississippi State also announced the following steps it will take when it comes to its head football coach.
Cohen said that a plan is in place for Coach Leach to participate in additional listening sessions with student, alumni, and community groups and to provide the coach with opportunities to expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi. One of those opportunities will include a guided visit to the “Two Museums” – the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum – in Jackson as soon as restrictions from the current public health crisis will allow.
Arizona State linebacker Tyler Johnson announced after the Sun Devils’ Sun Bowl win that he planned to retire from football for medical reasons. On Tuesday, Sun Devil Source reported Johnson has changed his mind.
A 6-foot-5, 258-pound junior defensive lineman, Johnson collected 22 tackles, 5.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks in 2019 while battling injuries throughout.
Johnson recorded four sacks in the final seven games of his redshirt freshman season of 2018.
Considered one of Arizona State’s best pass rushers when healthy, Johnson is expected to move from linebacker to defensive end as the Sun Devils move from a 3-3-5 to a 4-3 scheme.
In arguing that coaches should get back to work on May 1 and the season should start on time, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy inadvertently argued that college football players are professional athletes. That, or indentured servants.
In an hourlong teleconference Tuesday that began with a 20-minute monologue, Gundy said, though he’s not 100 percent, the season should begin on time because players are young and, thus, “have the ability to fight this virus off” and because “we need to run money through the state of Oklahoma.”
He also said there are “too many people that are relying on” college football the sport not to be played.
Gundy floated the idea that games could be played without fans in the stands and students on campus.
Others can debate about Gundy’s thoughts on testing and antibodies and the ability of a 22-year-old to “fight off COVID-19” — though I’d add Boise assistant Zac Alley, a 26-year-old, said his bout with the disease was like breathing with a knife in his ribs — but I’d like to talk about the economic implications of Gundy’s comments.
Gundy is not wrong at all that plenty of families depend on college athletics to put food on the table and that Cowboy football is an important economic engine of the state of Oklahoma. He’s exactly right, of course.
But to argue that a college scholarship is appropriate compensation for risking exposure to the virus while fans and students remain home — “We’re trying to find a way to pay everybody’s salary and keep the economy going.” — then either the players deserve a cut of that economy, or they’re nothing more than indentured servants whose labor belongs to others.
“I’m not taking away from the danger of people getting sick,” Gundy said. “You have the virus, stay healthy, try to do what we can to help people that are sick, and we’re losing lives, which is just terrible. The second part of it is that we still have to schedule and continue to move forward as life goes on and help those people.”
Boise State assistant coach Zac Alley revealed to reporters on Tuesday that is among the 392,000 and counting Americans to test positive for COVID-19. And he said it was terrible.
“I had no symptoms, no anything, and in about a 24-hour period I went from 0 to 100,” Alley told the Idaho Press. “I just had some sharp pains in my chest and all that. It got to a point that night where I was pretty short of breath and couldn’t breathe, and thankfully my girlfriend was like ‘we’re going to the ER’. When we got there they were saying thank God you came in.
“Every breath was kind of like taking a knife and sticking it through your ribs.”
Alley, 26, is in his second year on Boise State’s staff, where he coaches the Broncos’ outside linebackers and co-coordinates the special teams. He spent his previous eight years at Clemson as an undergraduate and graduate assistant.
He said he and his girlfriend quarantined at home as all good citizens have, and the only place he’d ventured out was the grocery store, where he theorizes he contracted the coronavirus from a shopping cart.
“As a young healthy person I didn’t think it would affect me as drastically as it did,” Alley said. “I mean my health deteriorated so fast and really I didn’t show any traditional symptoms of what they were saying other than the shortness of breath.”
Alley spent one day at the hospital but was discharged the same day. He is now symptom free.