The season has concluded and many of the associations will give out their awards for this season. We are going to give our awards but ours will be much more creative. This season was mainly driven by quarterbacks and spoiler alert, most of the awards are going to quarterbacks. College football was full of stars this season. Some played above their potential while others disappeared for the majority of the season. We may not have an All-American list but do have our end of season superlatives.
The “Where’d You Go” Award”: Tyler Van Dyke (Miami FL QB) – Tyler Van Dyke was considered to be a Heisman contender before the start of the season but this year was a flop. Miami hired Mario Cristobal and Van Dyke struggled through most of the season. Van Dyke threw for just 1,844 yards and 10 touchdowns across the 10 games in appeared in this year.
The “Where’d You Come From” Award: Chase Brown (Illinois Running Back) – Chase Brown actually ran for over 1,000 yards during the 2021 season. Brown flew under the radar because Illinois registered just five wins last season. Brown was the focal part of Bret Bielema’s offense and helped the Fighting Illini navigate the season and reach a bowl game.
The “How Are You Still Here?” Award: Sean Clifford (Penn State QB) – Sean Clifford completed his sixth year of college and his fourth as a starting quarterback. Clifford is almost old enough to be kicked off his parent’s health insurance. Penn State will have a new starting quarterback next year and many fans will welcome the change even after a largely successful career.
Freshman of the Year Award: Kelvin Banks (Texas Offensive Tackle) – Kelvin Banks was not just one of the best freshman in the country, he was one of the best offensive linemen in college football. Banks impressed the coaching staff and started at left tackle for the Longhorns. Banks began his career allowing just one pressure through his first two starts.
The “Explode on the Scene” Award: Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee Wide Receiver) – Jalin Hyatt was not known by many fans outside of Knoxville before the season. Hyatt burst onto the scene and instantly became one of the best receivers in the country. Hyatt registered just over 500 yards through his first two seasons but exploded for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
September Heisman Award: CJ Stroud (Ohio State Quarterback) – It may not be fair to label C.J. Stroud the September Heisman after he was the favorite for almost the entirety of the season. Stroud was the betting favorite until he lost to Michigan. Stroud had a great season but he fell short when it mattered most. September Heisman winners tend to start hot but fall off after key losses or struggles.
The “Try Again Next Year” Award: DJ Uiagalelei (Clemson Quarterback) – DJ Uiagalelei was hyped as the true successor to Trevor Lawrence after he performed well against Notre Dame in 2020. Uiagalelei was one of the worst quarterbacks in the country in 2021. He made significant strides in 2022 but likely was not enough to hold off Cade Klubnik next season. Rumors have swirled Uiagalelei may test the transfer portal to explore his options. A fresh start and a change of scenery could be best for him at this point.
The “We Missed Out” Award: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State Wide Receiver) – Jaxon Smith-Njigba was expected to be the best wide receiver in college football this season. He registered more receptions and yards than Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave in 2021. Smith-Njigba was injured on the first drive of the Notre Dame game. He attempted to play against Toledo and Iowa totaling just five receptions for 43 yards this season. Smith-Njigba will likely be headed for the NFL meaning we only saw one full season from him.
The “At Least You Were Fun to Watch” Award: Bo Nix (Oregon Quarterback) – Bo Nix made the decision to transfer from Auburn to Oregon after the 2021 season. Nix had his best season registering 41 total touchdowns and only six interceptions. Oregon was an exciting team for the majority of the season and even made a run at the College Football Playoffs. Bo Nix helped the Pac-12 become an exciting conference once again.
The “I Forgot You Existed” Award: Michael Penix (Washington Quarterback) – Michael Penix transferred from Indiana to Washington after the 2021 season. Most fans did not take notice of the transfer because Penix struggled with injuries while at Indiana. Many fans were unsure if he would even start before the season began. Penix was able to stay healthy and he threw for over 4,300 yards and 29 touchdowns. Washington had one of the best offenses in the country and Penix was one of the main reasons.
The “2023 Hype Train” Award: Drake Maye (North Carolina Quarterback) – Most of the star quarterbacks in college football will be headed for the NFL after the season. Maye was phenomenal in his first season as a starting quarterback. Caleb Williams is likely to win the Heisman this season but Maye will be one of the favorites for next season. North Carolina and Maye will be considered trendy picks for the College Football Playoffs and the Heisman in 2023.
The “Cool as a Cucumber” Award: Jim Harbaugh (Michigan Head Coach) – Jim Harbaugh was nearly fired after the 2020 season. He responded with his best season at Michigan where he appeared in the College Football Playoffs. Harbaugh flirted with the NFL but ultimately decided to return to Michigan. The Wolverines ran through their schedule and once again dominated Ohio State. Harbaugh could have celebrated but he remained focused and helped the Wolverines reach another Big Ten Championships.
The “You Came Out of Nowhere” Award: TCU Horned Frogs – TCU hired Sonny Dykes last season after Gary Patterson elected to step down. TCU’s win total was set at 6.5 before the season began. The Horned Frogs were expected to barely make a bowl game but they are currently 12-0 and playing for a Big 12 Championship. TCU will have a chance to make their first College Football Playoff with a win on Saturday.
The “At Least You Tried” Award: Texas A&M Aggies – Texas A&M began the season ranked in the top 10 and will finish with a losing record. Desmond Howard even picked the Aggies to win the National Championship. Jimbo Fisher’s team started three different quarterbacks this season and failed to find consistency. The Aggies fought hard against Alabama, South Carolina and Ole Miss but continued to fall short.