Tag:Bednarik Award
Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:19 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:24 pm
 

Mathieu 'hopes' to go pro after 2012 season

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Whether on Twitter or in an interview, Tyrann Mathieu has never been one to shy away from speaking his mind. And so when the topic of the 2013 NFL Draft came up in a radio interview Friday, Mathieu didn't mince words: he intends to be in it.

"I hope so," Mathieu said on Philadelphia's 97.5 "The Fanatic" when asked if 2012 would be his final year in an LSU uniform. "If I'm fortunate enough."

Mathieu was speaking from the Maxwell Athletic Club dinner in Atlantic City, N.J., where he was on hand to receive the Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player for 2011. Mathieu missed the opening day of LSU spring practice but is expected to participate in Monday's drills.

It's honors like the Bednarik that make Mathieu's pronouncement more surprising for its timing and honesty than for its content itself. After a sophomore season that saw him travel to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist and earn him multiple All-American nods, a successful junior year -- particularly in the realm of one-on-one coverage, the one area where Mathieu could (in this blogger's opinion) stand to sharpen his skills -- would leave him with little left to prove on an individual level.

After his Tigers' embarrassing defeat in the BCS national championship, though, there's still plenty of unfinished business on a team level entering 2012. But Mathieu also said he expects big things from LSU this fall.

"We’ve got a pretty good team coming back next year, pretty much the same team from a year ago minus the quarterback, a few receivers and obviously Morris [Claiborne] and Brandon Taylor and Ron Brooks in the secondary," Mathieu said. "But we have a lot of guys that are going to step up and make a name for themselves.”

Mathieu's name was already big enough that a draft declaration was already more "when" than "if"--meaning we can't blame him for making it a non-issue at nearly the first opportunity.

For more Tiger football, follow Glenn Guilbeau's CBSSports.com LSU RapidReports.

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Bednarik Award Watch List also released

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Maxwell Football Club is best known, of course, for the eponymous best-player-in-the-country award whose Watch List was posted on this very blog just a few minutes ago. But the organization also hands out the annual Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation's best defensive player (since we all know no one's going to vote a defensive player as the best in college football, no matter how good he is). The 2010 recipient was LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

So the Club also released their Watch List for the Bednarik today, featuring the 65 players listed below in alphabetical order. The team with the best mathematical odds of snagging the award? Alabama, leading the way with five Watch List members, though none of them number among the three 2010 Bednarik semifinalists included below. Those players are Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (pictured) and Florida State defensive end Brandon Jenkins.

Without further ado, the list:

Ray Ray Armstong, Jr., S, Miami
Ryan Baker, Jr., LB, LSU
Mark Barron, Sr., S, Alabama
Jake Bequette, Sr., DE, Arkansas
Brandon Boykin, Sr., CB, Georgia
Nigel Bradham, Sr., LB, Florida State
Tanner Brock, Jr., LB, TCU
Vince Browne, Sr., DE, Northwestern
Vontaze Burfict, Jr., LB, Arizona State
Tank Carder, Sr., LB, TCU
Morris Claiborne, Jr., CB, LSU
Quinton Coples, Sr., DT, North Carolina
Jared Crick, Sr., DT, Nebraska
Vinny Curry, Sr., DE, Marshall
Lavonte David, Sr., LB, Nebraska
Alfonzo Dennard, Sr., CB, Nebraska
Tony Dye, Sr., S, UCLA
Donnie Fletcher, Sr., CB, Boston College
Jerry Franklin, Sr., LB, Arkansas
Stephon Gilmore, Jr., CB, South Carolina
Zaviar Gooden, Jr., LB, Missouri
Casey Hayward, Sr., CB, Vanderbilt
Dont'a Hightower, Jr., LB, Alabama
Jayron Hosley, Jr., CB, Virginia Tech
Jaye Howard, Jr. DT, Florida
Delano Howell, Sr., S, Stanford
Bruce Irvin, Jr., DE, West Virginia
Brandon Jenkins, Jr., DE, Florida State
Coryell Judie, Sr., CB, Texas A&M
Mychal Kendricks, Sr., LB, Cal
Dre Kirkpatrick, Jr., CB, Alabama
Jake Knott, Jr., LB, Iowa State
Luke Kuechly, Jr., LB, Boston College
Robert Lester, Jr., S, Alabama
Travis Lewis, Sr., LB, Oklahoma
Brandon Lindsey, Sr., DE, Pitt
Mike Martin, Sr., DT, Michigan
Chris Marve, Sr., LB, Vanderbilt
Jonathan Massaqoui, Jr., DE, Troy
Tyrann Mathieu, Soph., CB, LSU
T.J. McDonald, Jr., S, USC
Chase Minnifield, Sr., CB, Virginia
Roosevelt Nix, Soph., DT, Kent State
Donte Paige-Moss, Jr., DE, North Carolina
Shaun Prater, Sr., CB, Iowa
Kheeston Randall, Sr., DT, Texas
Kevin Reddick, Jr., LB, North Carolina
Greg Reid, Jr., CB, Florida State
Kendall Reyes, Sr., DT, Connecticut
Xavier Rhodes, Soph., CB, Florida State
Keenan Robinson, Sr., LB, Texas
Shayne Skov, Jr., LB, Stanford
Sean Spence, Sr., LB, Miami
Alameda Ta'amu, Sr. DT, Washington
Keith Tandy, Sr., CB, West Virginia
Kenny Tate, Sr., S, Maryland
Bruce Taylor, Jr., LB, Virginia Tech
Devin Taylor, Jr., DE, South Carolina
Manti Te'o, Jr., LB, Notre Dame
Danny Trevathan, Sr., LB, Kentucky
Courtney Upshaw, Sr., LB, Alabama
Prentiss Waggner, Jr., S, Tennessee
Korey Williams, Sr., LB, Southern Miss
Billy Winn, Sr., DT, Boise State
Jerel Worthy, Sr., DT, Michigan State

Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:19 pm
 

Nick Fairley follows coach's lead, wins Lombardi

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's one of those stories that would be edited out of a film script for being "too heavyhanded," but happened in real life Wednesday night anyway: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, playing the past two seasons under the tutelage of his school's last winner of the Lombardi Award, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, became the school's newest winner of the same award . It's not irony, but it's close enough that Alanis Morrisette would think it is.

In any case, the award's voters -- "a distinguished committee of nearly 400 of America's most prominent college football coaches, football writers, sports broadcasters and previous Rotary Lombardi Award winners and finalists," charged with selecting the nation's best lineman or linebacker -- weren't voting based on the headlines; Fairley was arguably the nation's most disruptive defensive force this season, leading the SEC in tackles for loss with 21.5 (for comparison's sake, one more than Ndamukong Suh totaled in 2009) and finishing second with 10.5 sacks. But Fairley's penchant for brutal hits on opposing quarterbacks -- a handful of which straddled the line between fair play and unnecessary roughness, and earned him something of a villain's reputation in some quarters of the conference -- meant his impact was felt even beyond his imposing statistics.

All that said, the Lombardi committee couldn't have gone wrong with the equally beastly Da'Quan Bowers, the Clemson defensive end who leads the nation in sacks and was one of three other Lombardi finalists (with the others Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn and TCU center Jake Kirkpatrick ). Bowers won the Nagurski Trophy over Fairley, setting up a kind of rubber match vote with the Bednarik Award , given to the nation's best defensive player later today.

Whether Bowers or Fairley triumphs in their little one-on-battle on the awards circuit (the Bednarik could also declare an effective tie by honoring LSU corner Patrick Peterson ), the real winner here is the NFL draft, which assuming Fairley declares, looks poised to have an outstanding class of defensive linemen on its hands this April.

Follow along with all the postseason college football honors at the CBS Sports Awards Watch .

Posted on: November 9, 2010 2:25 pm
 

Maxwell semifinalists released; where are RBs?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There has been one good piece of news to come out over the past 24 hours for Cam Newton : the Maxwell Football Club named him one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award , the organization's honor for the best player in college football. And though Newton has accumulated the stats and highlight reels of an All-American running back this season, it's perhaps for the best for him he doesn't actually play the position. That's the way it looks from the complete list of semifinalists:

WR Justin Blackmon , Oklahoma State, So.
WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma, Jr.
QB Andy Dalton , TCU, Sr.
QB Robert Griffin III , Baylor, So.
RB Kendall Hunter , Oklahoma State, Sr.
RB LaMichael James , Oregon, So.
QB Colin Kaepernick , Nevada, Sr.
QB Andrew Luck , Stanford, So.
QB Ryan Mallett , Arkansas, Jr.
QB Taylor Martinez , Nebraska, Fr.
QB Kellen Moore , Boise State, Jr.
QB Cam Newton , Auburn, Jr.
QB Terrelle Pryor , Ohio State, Jr.
QB Denard Robinson , Michigan, So.
QB Ricky Stanzi , Iowa, Sr.
QB Tyrod Taylor , Virginia Tech, Sr.

All right, so it's also a little odd that none of the top 16 players in the nation by the Maxwell's estimation happen to play defense. But it's nothing unusual for defenders to get snubbed in the national Player of the Year talk, and since the Maxwell Club also hands out the Bednarik Award to the nation's best defensive player, the Maxwell itself appears to be a de facto offensive players-only honor; even the great Ndamokung Suh didn't crack the semifinalists list last season .

So the much bigger surprise is that among a list of the nation's top 16 offensive players, only two running backs, Hunter and James, make the cut next to two wide receivers and a whopping 12 quarterbacks. Since when has the the second-most high-profile position on the football field been this devoid of stars?

Since 2010, apparently. Last year's Maxwell semifinalist list included seven tailbacks, including a pair of Heisman finalists in Toby Gerhart and Mark Ingram and several who returned to college football for this 2010 season: Ingram, Noel Devine , Jacquizz Rodgers , Dion Lewis . Unfortunately for those four players, the season hasn't played out as expected for any of them; not one currently ranks among even the top 30 rushers in the nation at present, with Rodgers' 803 yards (good for 33rd) the best year to-date of the bunch.

Why the sudden downturn in the fortunes of the nation's top tailbacks? Some of it is probably a simple fluke. But some of it is the continuing rise of the spread offense, which revolves around the all-purpose quarterback at the expense of pounding along with the traditional bruising tailback. Auburn , Nevada , Michigan , TCU , Baylor -- these are all some of the most explosive offenses in the country, and all five begin with a mobile QB. It's no wonder all five placed their quarterbacks on the list above despite the presence of top rushers like Nevada's Vai Taua , Baylor's Jay Finley , and TCU's Ed Wesley . This year's top pro-style attacks, meanwhile, are all quarterback-dominated as well: Stanford and Luck, Arkansas and Mallett, Boise and Moore. Offenses like the 2009 Cardinal and Tide attacks that turned Gerhart and Ingram into superstars just aren't out there this year.

They'll probably be back next year. But that doesn't mean they'll be back in the same numbers we've seen in the past; as long as the spread remains as in vogue as it is today, the kind of bludgeoning workhorse tailback that makes award lists is going to stay an increasingly endangered species.
 
 
 
 
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