Winners from the 2023 College Football Awards
The Heisman Trophy will be awarded Saturday night, but there's plenty of other hardware to hand out in the meantime. Here are the winners from the 2023 Home Depot College Football Awards show:
Davey O'Brien Award (Best quarterback)
Jayden Daniels, LSU
There was no player more dominant than Daniels was at LSU this season. The Arizona State transfer turned in a statistical performance for the ages with 50 total touchdowns against only four interceptions. Daniels ranked third in the nation in passing yardage despite throwing the ball over 100 times less than both Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix. Daniels didn't just complete over 72% of his passes - he averaged a whopping 11.7 yards per throw while doing it. Daniels and Joe Burrow are the only LSU players to win the award, giving the Tigers two in the past five years. The former certainly hopes the O'Brien Award is a preview of Saturday night's Heisman ceremony, where he's heavily favored to win college football's greatest individual honor.
Other finalists: Bo Nix (Oregon), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)
Chuck Bednarik Award (Best defensive player)
Payton Wilson, LB, NC State
Wilson was a hitting machine, terrorizing ACC opponents all season. The linebacker led the conference in tackles by a whopping 17 and topped the 14-team league in tackles for loss. He's the first NC State player to claim the Bednarik Award and breaks a 10-year ACC drought: Pitt's Aaron Donald was the last winner from the conference.
Other finalists: Laiatu Latu (Edge, UCLA), Dallas Turner (Edge, Alabama)
Biletnikoff Award (Best receiver)
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
The only non-quarterback to get invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony is also the winner of the Biletnikoff Award. Harrison has been arguably the most important non-passer in college football the past two seasons, dominating opposing secondaries since he stepped on the field. The Ohio State star finished second in the nation with 14 touchdown catches on the season and ninth in yards per game at just over 100. Harrison joins Terry Glenn (1995) as the only Buckeyes to have claimed the honor.
Other finalists: Malik Nabers (LSU), Rome Odunze (Washington)
Coach of the Year
Kalen DeBoer, Washington
DeBoer led the Huskies to a school-record 13 wins, clinching a berth in the College Football Playoff in his second season with the program. With star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. under his wing, DeBoer coached Washington to the longest active win streak in the FBS (20 games). The 49-year-old is the first Pac-12 coach to steer his team to a 13-0 mark since Pete Carroll did it with USC in 2004.
Jim Thorpe Award (Best defensive back)
Trey Taylor, Air Force
Taylor was arguably the best player on the nation's 14th-ranked defense in 2023. The senior safety was third on the team in tackles and grabbed three interceptions on the season. He's the first player from Air Force - or any service academy - to win the Thorpe Award.
Other finalists: Cooper DeJean (Iowa), Malaki Starks (Georgia)
Lou Groza Award (Best kicker)
Graham Nicholson, Miami (OH)
Nicholson had a standout season for the MAC champions, connecting on 26 of his 27 field goal attempts. That ranks him No. 1 in the country for accuracy among kickers who had more than 15 attempts on the year. Nicholson becomes the first Miami (Ohio) kicker to win the Lou Groza Award and is the first non-Power 5 player to claim the honor since 2012.
Other finalists: Jose Pizano (UNLV), Will Reichard (Alabama)
Doak Walker Award (Best running back)
Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
Gordon came on like a man possessed after a slow start to the season, finishing as the FBS leader in rushing yards and second in touchdowns. The Oklahoma State star had just 109 yards on the ground through three games but still ended up with over 1,600 on the year. Back-to-back games of over 270 yards rushing sprung Gordon into the limelight and helped him finish atop the pile for the Doak Walker Award. Gordon is the first Oklahoma State player and second straight Big 12 rusher to claim the honor.
Other finalists: Omarion Hampton (North Carolina), Cody Schrader (Missouri)
Outland Trophy (Best interior lineman)
T'Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas
The 362-pound Sweat has been vital in Texas' emergence as one of the most dominant defensive units in the country. The Longhorns lead the nation in both third-down and red-zone defense with Sweat clogging up the run game regularly. He posted 40 tackles, including eight for loss, on the campaign. His effort includes a vital blocked kick that was returned 82 yards for a two-point score. He also owns the most viral moment for any of the Outland finalists with a touchdown catch in the Big 12 title game win over Oklahoma State. Sweat becomes the fourth Texas player to win the award and first since 1977.
Other finalists: Joe Alt (OT, Notre Dame), Cooper Beebe (OT, Kansas State)
Ray Guy Award (Best punter)
Tory Taylor, Iowa
It's not a stretch to call Taylor the biggest weapon of Iowa's anemic offense. The senior punter kicked for a whopping 4,119 total yards on the season - over 1,000 more than the offense gained all year. While Taylor averaged nearly 50 yards per punt, his accuracy consistently - and dramatically - flipped the field for the Hawkeyes: Taylor kicked 11 balls inside the opposition's 10-yard line this season. He's the first Iowa player to win the Ray Guy Award and will likely be the first punter selected in the upcoming NFL draft.
Other finalists: Matthew Hayball (Vanderbilt), Alex Mastromanno (Florida State),
Maxwell Award (Best player)
Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Penix's brilliant play is a major reason Washington is now an incredible 23-2 in Kalen DeBoer's two seasons as head coach. The Indiana transfer opted to return to the Huskies for another season instead of jumping to the NFL - a move that proved wise as an improved season likely boosted Penix's pro prospects. The quarterback completed almost 66% of his passes on the season, leading the nation with 4,218 yards through the air. He threw 33 touchdowns against 9 interceptions and was 12th in the nation at 9.1 yards per attempt. He becomes the first Washington player to win the Maxwell and will look to add to his trophy case on Saturday at the Heisman ceremony.
Other finalists: Jayden Daniels (QB, LSU), Bo Nix (QB, Oregon)