December 9, 2010

Newton the big winner of awards night

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton cleaned up at the 2010 College Football Awards show Thursday night, taking home three trophies and setting himself up for the biggest individual trophy of all.

Newton, who has guided Auburn to a 13-0 mark, won the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback, the Maxwell Award as the nation's best all-around player and the Walter Camp Player of the Year award. He's the heavy favorite to win the Heisman on Saturday night in New York.

Newton beat two other Heisman finalists - Boise State's Kellen Moore and Stanford's Andrew Luck - to win the O'Brien and the Maxwell.

Ten awards were handed out during the show, and six were won by SEC players. In addition to Newton's three honors, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player and the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back, and Florida's Chas Henry won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter.

Peterson is the first player to pull the Bednarik-Thorpe double since Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson in 1997.

Alamo Bowl-bound Oklahoma State had a big night, as well. Justin Blackmon won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top wide receiver, and Dan Bailey won the Groza Award as the nation's top kicker.

Oregon's LaMichael James - the other Heisman finalist - won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back, and Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi won the Outland Trophy, given to the nation's best interior lineman.

Bailey, Carimi and Henry were the only senior winners. Newton and Peterson are juniors, while Blackmon and James are sophomores.

While the other award winners spoke to the media both before and during the event, Newton talked only to ESPN - briefly, at that - beforehand. That stems from the controversy surrounding Newton's recruitment out of Blinn College last year. Though he has been cleared to play by the NCAA, it was announced before the event that Newton would not grant interviews.

The other Heisman finalists did talk, and when Moore was asked if he thought Newton would win the award, he answered with a laugh, "Obviously. He's the best in the business."

The other finalists didn't want to pick a Heisman winner, though Luck did laugh and say, "Who's going to win? Hmm. I think I'll just say 'no comment.' "

LSU's Peterson wasn't shy at all about giving his opinion as to whether Newton would take home the Heisman. Newton ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns in Auburn's 24-17 win over LSU on Oct. 23.

"Definitely," he said. "Hands down, he's the best player. He's a machine. The guy's a wall of bricks. ... He's carried that team on his back to the national championship game."

The four finalists leave Orlando for New York on Friday morning, and Moore said he was looking forward to the trip.

"I'm from a town of 5,000 [Prosser, Wash.]," he said, "and I'm going to a place where there will be 5,000 people on one street."

Chuck Bednarik Award
Given to: Best defensive player
Finalists: Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn DT Nick Fairley, LSU CB Patrick Peterson
Our pick: Fairley
Winner: Peterson
Biletnikoff Award
Given to: Best receiver
Finalists: Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery
Our pick: Blackmon
Winner: Blackmon
Lou Groza Award
Given to: Best kicker
Finalists: Oklahoma State's Dan Bailey, Southern Miss' Danny Hrapmann, Notre Dame's David Ruffer
Our pick: Ruffer
Note: Our real pick, Nebraska's Alex Henery, wasn't a finalist
Winner: Bailey
Ray Guy Award
Given to: Best punter
Finalists: Georgia's Drew Butler, Iowa's Ryan Donahue, Florida's Chas Henry
Our pick: Henry
Winner: Henry
Maxwell Award
Given to: Best all-around player
Finalists: Stanford QB Andrew Luck, Boise State QB Kellen Moore, Auburn QB Cameron Newton
Our pick: Newton
Winner: Newton
Davey O'Brien Award
Given to: Best quarterback
Finalists: Stanford's Andrew Luck, Boise State's Kellen Moore, Auburn's Cameron Newton
Our pick: Newton
Winner: Newton
Outland Trophy
Given to: Best interior lineman
Finalists: Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi, Florida State G Rodney Hudson, Colorado OT Nate Solder
Our pick: Carimi
Winner: Carimi
Jim Thorpe Award
Given to: Best defensive back
Finalists: Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara, TCU FS Tejay Johnson, LSU CB Patrick Peterson
Our pick: Peterson
Winner: Peterson
Doak Walker Award
Given to: Best running back
Finalists: Wisconsin's John Clay, Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter, Oregon's LaMichael James
Our pick: James
Winner: James
Walter Camp Award
Awarded to: Most outstanding player
Finalists: Oregon RB LaMichael James, Stanford QB Andrew Luck, Auburn QB Cam Newton
Our pick: Newton
Winner: Newton
Already awarded
Mackey Award
Given to: Top tight end
Finalists: Missouri's Michael Egnew, Wisconsin's Lance Kendricks, Arkansas' D.J. Williams
Our pick: Egnew
Winner: Williams
Rimington Award
Given to: Best center
Finalists: Arizona's Colin Baxter, Stanford's Chase Beeler, Ohio State's Michael Brewster, TCU's Jake Kirkpatrick, Michigan's David Molk, Auburn's Ryan Pugh
Our pick: Beeler
Winner: Kirkpatrick
Butkus Award
Given to: Best linebacker
Finalists: UCLA's Akeem Ayers, North Carolina's Bruce Carter, Georgia's Justin Houston, Boston College's Luke Kuechly, Texas A&M's Von Miller
Our pick: Kuechly
Winner: Miller
Lombardi Award
Awarded to: Outstanding lineman
Finalists: Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers, Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn, Auburn DT Nick Fairley, TCU C Jake Kirkpatrick
Our pick: Fairley
Winner: Fairley
Nagurski Award
Awarded to: Defensive player of year
Finalists: Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn DT Nick Fairley, Georgia LB Justin Houston, Boston College LB Luke Kuechly, LSU CB Patrick Peterson
Our pick: Fairley
Winner: Bowers
Ted Hendricks Award
Awarded to: Top defensive end
Finalists: Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn, Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, Texas A&M's Von Miller, Pittsburgh's Jabaal Sheard, Wisconsin's J.J. Watt
Our pick: Bowers
Winner: Bowers

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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