Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year: DE CHASE YOUNG, OHIO STATE
Young racked up 21 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks en route to Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Big Ten. Pretty impressive considering Young missed two games this season. Plus, in Young’s last three games — against Michigan, Wisconsin and Clemson — he had zero sacks and just 1.5 tackles for loss.
Young did not take part in any of the on-field workouts for his position group at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was to participate in position drills during Ohio State’s pro day on March 25 – but that has since been canceled due to the new Corona Virus Outbreak.
Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year: QB JUSTIN FIELDS, OHIO STATE
Last year, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year.
This year, it’s Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The Georgia transfer threw for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns, ran for 484 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first season as Ohio State’s starting quarterback. The Buckeyes were undefeated in the regular season and won the Big Ten Championship.
“I’m proud of his development,” head coach Ryan Day said. “He’s come a long way in the pocket, moving in the pocket, seeing things and drop-back protection. We have a list of things that he’s working on to get better at.”
Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year: WR DAVID BELL, PURDUE
Purdue’s Rondale Moore was named the Big Ten Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year in 2018, and now David Bell follows in his footsteps.
With Rondale Moore limited to four games due to injury, Purdue turned to freshman wide receiver David Bell. Bell led the conference with 86 catches for 1,035 yards and seven scores.
Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year: JAVON LEAKE, MARYLAND
Leake finished third in FBS, while leading the Big Ten, with 804 kick return yards. He also led Big Ten with two kick return touchdowns, tied for the most in a single season in Maryland history. Leake ranked 13th nationally and led Big Ten with a 26.8 kick return average. He has declared for the April’s NFL Draft.
Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year:: P.J. FLECK, MINNESOTA
Big Ten coaches have selected P.J. Fleck as their choice for the Big Ten’s Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year. Fleck was honored with the award after leading the Minnesota Golden Gophers to their first 10-win regular season since 1905.
Fleck led the Gophers to their first 9-0 start since 1904, culminating in a 31-26 upset of then No. 4-ranked Penn State. Minnesota was ranked as high as No. 8 at one point by the College Football Playoff selection committee.
With the NFL Scouting Combine recently finished, we’ll take a quick re-cap of the major D-I College Football Conferences awards.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB JOE BURROW, LSU
SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year was LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. No real surprise here. Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns. He led his team through an undefeated season and a National Championship.
He won every notable award there is in Div I FBS football: the Heisman, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Davey O’Brien Award (National Quarterback of the Year), the Manning Award (National Quarterback of the Year), the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and was also named AP National Player of the Year.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DT DERRICK BROWN, AUBURN
Brown would have surely been a first round pick if he would have come out as a junior. Instead, he decided to return to Auburn for his senior season. He has parlayed that decision into a top-10 selection in this April’s NFL Draft.
He was named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year after posting 55 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks during the 2019 season.
Along with All-SEC and All-American honors, Brown won the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy, which goes to the defensive player who has the biggest IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity).
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Alabama is a team loaded with playmakers, and sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is one that made a significant mark in 2019. In the 2019 Iron Bowl, he recorded 230 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns — three coming through the air and one resulting from an electric 98-yard kickoff return.
Waddle is said to be as fast as departing teammate Henry Ruggs. Ruggs recently ran a sub 4.3 at the NFL Scouting Combine. Waddle’s speed helped his win the SEC Special Team’s Player of the Year award. He led the nation averaging 24.35 yards per punt return, including a 77-yard touchdown against LSU.
Note: Last year, Waddle was named the SEC Freshman of the Year. Can’t wait to see what kind of break-out season he’ll have in the 2020 season.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: QB Bo Nix, Auburn
Last spring, Nix was caught in a heated quarterback competition at Auburn. The Tigers didn’t declare who had won the job until shortly prior to the opening of the season. The win the job, Nix had to be out the highly touted Joey Gatewood and Malik Willis, who had spent the previous two seasons as a back-up to Jarret Stidham.
In the end, Head Coach Gus Malzahn picked the right guy for the job: Bo Nix. While Nix had his moments where he looked like a true freshman, he also had moments where he flashed and you would think, “Wow, he’s going to be special.”
On his way to earning the SEC Freshman of the Year award, Nix threw for 2,542 yards and 16 touchdowns (both Auburn freshman records), while rushing for 313 yards and scoring 7 more TDs on the ground.
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: RODRIGO BLANKENSHIP, GEORIGA
Blankenship graduated Cum Laude (3.71 GPA) in December 2018 with a degree in Digital and Broadcast Journalism. The 2019 Academic All-American was a 2018 winner of the Billy Payne Award for graduating with at least a 3.0 GPA and being on the football team for four years.
On the field, Blankenship was the winner of the 2019 Lou Groza Award while scoring a school record 440 points in his career.
JACOBS BLOCKING TROPHY: LT ANDREW THOMAS, GEORGIA
Thomas has anchored a Georgia offensive line that has allowed an SEC-leading 0.92 sacks per game. The Bulldogs are No. 5 in the conference in rushing offense, averaging 189.5 yards per game.
SEC COACH OF THE YEAR: ED ORGERON, LSU
Orgeron led his team to an exciting 15-0 record. Along the way they beat No. 9 ranked Texas, No. 7 ranked Florida, No. 9 ranked Auburn, No. 3 ranked Alabama, No. 5 ranked Georgia, No. 4 ranked Oklahoma, and No. 2 ranked Clemson.
Orgeron said after winning the National Championship, “Now, I think that this team is going to be mentioned as one of the greatest teams in college football history.”
PLAYER OF THE YEAR & OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: TRAVIS ETIENNE, CLEMSON
Clemson junior running back Travis Etienne has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He is the first running back since North Carolina’s Mike Voight (1975-76) to win the honor in multiple years. Etienne enters the Fiesta Bowl vs Ohio State as the conference’s all-time leader in career touchdowns (58) and rushing touchdowns (54). In 2019, Etienne rushed for 1,500 yards with an 8.2 yard per carry average.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: ISAIAH SIMMONS, CLEMSON
In only his second full year at the linebacker position after moving from safety following the 2017 season, Simmons owns a team-high 83 tackles and ranks sixth among ACC defenders with 14 tackles for loss. The athletic junior from Olathe, Kansas, has also registered six quarterback sacks as the leader of a Clemson unit that leads the nation in fewest points allowed per game (10.1) and ranks second in total defense.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR & OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: SAM HOWELL, NORTH CAROLINA
Howell leads the ACC in passing yards (3,347) and touchdowns (35) this season. His 35 passing touchdowns is an ACC and FBS single-season record for a true freshman. Of the seven ACC quarterbacks with at least 300 passing attempts, he has thrown the second-least interceptions with seven.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: GREGORY ROUSSEAU, MIAMI
Among Rousseau’s top performances of the year came in his first-ever appearance versus rival Florida State on the road in Tallahassee on Nov. 2. Rousseau finished the game with a career-high five tackles-for-loss and four sacks in a dominant win, earning Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors for his performance.
COACH OF THE YEAR: SCOTT SATTERFIELD, LOUISVILLE
Satterfield took a team that last season went 2-10 without a conference win and led the Cardinals to a 7-5 record, a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division and a berth in the Music City Bowl against Mississippi State.
Burrow has opted out of the Senior Bowl; he opted out of the Combine, and he still looks like a lock for the No. 1 overall pick.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
Young also skipped the Combine, but continues to hold the second spot in the draft.
With new head coach Ron Rivera being a defensive-minded guy, it seems reasonable Washington could build around a player of Young’s caliber.
3. Detroit Lions: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on I.R. with bone fractures in his back in December. The Lions went 0-8 without him in the starting lineup. Time to draft the quarterback of the future? Tua said numerous times he’d rather watch and learn for a year opposed to being a day one starter. This looks like it could be a good fit.
At the Combine, Tua said he felt good; that his medical checked out well; and that he would start throwing in the spring.
Giants GM Dave Gettleman took Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. Wirfs showed enough athletic ability at the Combine for the Giants to feel comfortable moving him to the left side. Another option, they could gamble here and go with Becton instead.
5. Miami Dolphins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
With five picks in the first two rounds, Miami can load up in this draft. They have several options with this pick, including a quarterback, but they will most likely upgrade their offensive and defensive fronts as the rebuild continues.
Miami plays it safe, grabbing the top proven left tackle in the class.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert had a very good Senior Bowl, followed by an excellent Combine. He’s got plenty of teams interested and could end up going higher.
7. Carolina Panthers: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Carolina’s new head coach, Matt Rhule takes the shut down corner from Ohio State.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Arizona has needs on both lines. Protecting last year’s number one overall pick, QB Kyler Murray, would seem to be a priority in this offseason.
The Jags finished 28th in the league versus the run. Brown is the most athletic interior lineman in the draft. The Jags are hoping that Brown, the winner of the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy, can make an immediate impact in Jacksonville.
Baker Mayfield, much like Kyler Murray, has found out he’s not in Oklahoma anymore. These guys are running for their lives play-after-play. Since Cleveland needs help all across the line, they’ll certainly find the best spot to plug the raw Becton into.
11. New York Jets: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Jets finished 26th in the league in sacks per attempt, Epenesa would be a great addition. One way to improve that number is to improve coverage down the field. Henderson had an excellent Combine and keeps moving up the boards.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The versatile Simmons can do it all. He can rush the passer; he can play linebacker; and he can drop back and play some safety.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
QB Jacoby Brissett is one of the top deep ball passers in the league. By giving him a guy with 4.27 speed, Indianapolis could become a quick strike team.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K’lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has his defense going in the right direction and expects a leap from year one to year two. Chaisson has a lot of upside, especially in the pass rush.
15. Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Denver could use an offensive tackle, a wide receiver, and a cornerback. With the top four tackles off the board, and the top two corners off the board, Denver has it’s pick of the top two WR’s in this class: Jeudy and Lamb.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Javon Kinlaw, DT, So. Carolina
The Falcons are getting some pressure upfront with Jarrett, McKinley, and Beasley, but not enough. They finished 28th in the league in sacks. Getting some help along the defensive line should be a priority.
17. Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Dallas grabs a dynamic playmaker in Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb.
18. Miami Dolphins (from Pitt): Jordan Love, Utah State
Without having to trade up. The Dolphins find Love falling in their lap at pick 18. Love has the most raw talent and biggest upside of tall the QBs in this year’s draft.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chi): Josh Jones, OT, Houston
The Raiders need help on the defensive side of the board, but with all the top tackles gone, now is not the time to wait if you want a good one. Jones has risen up the draft boards with impressive outings at the Senior Bowl and the Combine.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR): Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Jacksonville took some defensive line help with pick No. 9. They continue to improve their defensive by taking the speedy linebacker from LSU.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma
The Eagles will look to bolster their defense during the offseason. Murray is capable of directing the Philadelphia defense.
22. Buffalo Bills: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Buffalo looks to bolster their defense by getting Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos. Gross-Matos showed enough athleticism to get himself into the bottom of the first round.
23. New England Patriots: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Preparing for life without Brady, the Patriots will need to lean on the running game more-so-than-ever. Taylor had an impressive week at the Combine.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Eason has all the tangibles. It will be Sean Payton’s job to grow him into the quarterback of the future.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
The Vikings are in need of a cornerback, Johnson is one of the best.
Madubuike continues to impress. His Combine efforts could push him into the first round. The Dolphins are ranked 30th, defensively, in yards per game. There is no question they’ll have to address their lack of talent and depth an cornerback. Diggs looks like a top 25 pick at this point.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Carlos Ruiz, OC, Michigan
Seattle needs to improve the core of its offensive line. Ruiz is the top center in this year’s class.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Baun’s Combine, paired with his game film, is enough to entice a team to take him late in the first round. Baltimore could also defensive line here.