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.
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."
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
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