Sports

2011 Maxwell Award Player Rankings: Week 12

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The two most prestigious college football awards in the nation are the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award, both given to the best college football player in America. The Heisman Trophy is presented by the Down Town Athletic Club, and is voted on by past winners and selected media members chosen by its presenter. The Maxwell Award is presented by the Maxwell Football Club and is voted on by sportscasters, sportswriters, NCAA head coaches, athletic administrators and also the membership of the Maxwell Football Club.

You can vote for the Maxwell Award, the Bednarik Award, the new NFL Fantasy Player of the Year Award, and other prominent awards presented by the oldest football club in America by obtaining a RotoExperts Maxwell Football Club membership.

The Maxwell Football Club announced its semi-finalists for the Maxwell Award on October 31st, which you can view HERE.

1. Trent Richardson – RB, Alabama

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  • 204 attempts, 1205 yards, 18 TDs
  • 25 receptions, 318 yards, 1 TD

Trent Richardson is the Tide’s workhorse who had six straight games with at least 100 yards rushing and only three below triple digits. Richardson has topped 200 all purpose yards three times (against Arkansas, Florida, and Mississippi). A lot of the buzz surrounding Richardson is due to playing for one of the best teams in the country in the best conference in the country. Richardson is seventh in the country in both total yards and ypg (120.50) and ranked fifth for most touchdowns by a running back.

2. Andrew Luck – QB, Stanford

  • 169.03 rating, 221-of-313 passing (70.6%), 2695 yards, 29 TD, 7 INT
  • 34 attempts, 134 yards, 2 TD
  • 1 reception, 13 yards

Andrew Luck has been the Heisman favorite since deciding to forego the NFL Draft and stay at Stanford for the 2011 season. The decision has not disappointed Cardinal and college football fans alike. Last week, Luck’s BCS Title chances were all but erased in the 53-30 loss to Oregon, as he arguably his worst performance of the year. Luck completed 27-of-41 passes (65.9%) for 271 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions as Stanford’s national-best win-streak came to a halt at 17. He is tied for fourth in passing TDs, ranked fifth in the FBS in passer rating, and seventh in completion percentage. He has incredible command of the huddle and his field vision is unparallel. Luck is the proto-typical NFL QB, which has led many to believe he will be the overall number one in the 2012 draft.

3. Brandon Weeden – QB, Oklahoma State

  • 164.16 rating, 313-of-428 passing (73.1%), 3635 yards, 31 TDs, 9 INTs

Weeden has slowly been gaining momentum for both the Maxwell and Heisman awards, largely in part to a system that allows him to put up video game type stats and timing. Against Texas Tech, Weeden completed 31-of-37 passes for 423 yards and five touchdowns while Andrew Luck had his worst performance of the year in a loss to Oregon.

4. Case Keenum – QB, Houston

  • 193.34 rating, 279-of-376 passing (74.2 %), 3951 yards, 37 TDs, 3 INTs

Just like Weeden, Houston’s senior quarterback has been putting up video game like stats all season, and is a product of the system and lack of defensive competition. Last Thursday, Keenum completed 22-of-29 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters in the 73-17 blowout against Tulane. He is a major part of the Cougars’ success this campaign as he sits near or atop almost every QB category in college football. Keenum leads the country in passing yards, yards per game (395.1), and touchdowns and is second in rating, and tied for first in completion percentage. Keenum holds the NCAA records in total passing yards and has passed for over 300 yards every game this season. He needs only 49 yards to become only the second QB in collegiate history to have three seasons with at least 4000 yards passing. Houston still has two more regular season games, and a bowl game, in which Keenum could potentially become the first NCAA player ever to have three 5,000 yard seasons.

5. Kellen Moore – QB, Boise State

  • 177.24 rating, 220-of-297 passing (74.1%), 2549 yards, 31 TDs, 5 INTs

Kellen Moore may not be as mobile as some of the other QBs on the list, but he in incredibly smart and is a tremendous leader. Boise State’s last second loss to TCU may hurt Moore, but he threw 28-of-38 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns in the first home loss of his career. After the win against UNLV two weeks ago, Moore holds the NCAA record for most wins by a college quarterback at 46 and has 130 total career TD passes. Moore is third in the nation in completion percentage, tied for second in touchdowns, and forth in rating.

6. Russell Wilson – QB, Wisconsin

  • 201.58 rating, 160-for-218 passing (73.4%), 2416 yards, 25 TD, 3 INT
  • 55 attempts, 295 yards, 4 TDs
  • 1 reception, 25 yards, 1 TD

Wilson’s stock began to slip as Wisconsin had back-to-back losses and with it, his game play. The usually efficient QB threw two picks against Michigan State, and had a completion percentage of 62.5% against Ohio State, but Wilson looks to be back in his groove after solid performances the last two weeks. In the 42-13 win over Minnesota, Wilson completed 16-of-17 passes for 178 yards and four touchdowns and added 19 yards on 7 carries. Wilson’s passer rating leads the nation, and he is fourth in the FBS in completion percentage. Wisconsin is already out of the BCS title hunt and chances to repeat as Big Ten Champions are slim, but he still has a chance to pull off big numbers the remainder of the schedule. His poise was shaky in both losses, but his decision making was much improved the last two weeks. He is athletic, smart, and still one of the most electrifying players in college football this season.

7.  Robert Griffin III – QB, Baylor (5-3)

  • 188.58 rating, 224-for-302 passing (74.2%), 3093 yards, 29 TDs, 5 INTs
  • 116 attempts, 489 yards, 5 TD
  • 1 reception, 15 yards
  • 2 punt, 71 yards

Robert Griffin III’s numbers are still holding strong amongst the best in the FBS, but Baylor’s three losses were forcing Griffin’s stock to decline, just as Wilson’s did. But two weeks of strong outings may have gotten Griffin back in the hunt. In the 31-30 OT win over Kansas Griffin went 22-of-29 for 312 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 85 yards and a score on 10 attempts. Griffin did however, throw a pick and end his three-game streak of at least 400 yards passing. Individually, there is very little he can’t do better than almost anybody and based off of game film and statistics, Griffin is deserving of the “one of the best football players in college” tag.  Griffin is tied for first in completion percentage, second in total offense (398.0 ypg), third in rating, tied for fourth in TDs, and sixth in passing yards per game (343.7).

8. LaMichael James – RB, Oregon

  • 153 attempts, 1207 yards, 12 TDs
  • 13 receptions, 175 yards, 1 TD
  • 7 punt returns, 119 yards, 1 TD

James missed back-to-back games with a dislocated elbow he sustained against California, but the soft cast seems to be protecting him just fine as he rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns on 20 attempts in the win over Stanford Saturday night. James leads the FBS in rushing yards per game (150.88), is third in all-purpose yards per game (190.3), sixth in total rushing yards, and tied for ninth in average yards per attempt (7.89).

9. Justin Blackmon – WR, Oklahoma State

  • 93 receptions, 1142 yards, 14 TDs

With Broyles out for the season, and Brandon Weeden as hot as he’s been lately, Blackmon is making a strong case to repeat as the Biletnikoff winner. Blackmon is tied for first in TDs, third in receptions and receptions per game (9.3), fifth in total yards, and seventh in yards per game with 114.2. Blackmon is an exceptional talent regardless of system, has decent size at 6’1” 215 Lbs, and great hands.

10. Robert Woods – WR, USC

  • 92 receptions, 1126 yards, 11 TDs
  • 17 kick returns, 393 yards
  • 12 punt returns, 109 yards

Woods has been a see-saw production-wise the last few weeks, capped off by a season low two catches and five yards against Washington last week. Woods has been slipping down the list, and may find himself off of it all together with another lackluster performance this week. He is still ranked in the upper echelon of WRs, but that is mainly due to a solid showing in the beginning of the season. Woods is now tied for fourth in TDs and receptions per game (9.2), fourth in receptions, seventh in yards, and ninth in yards per game (112.6). With Broyles out for the remainder of the season, Woods’ only competition for best receiver in the nation is last year’s Biletnikoff winner, Justin Blackmon. This being the year of the quarterback, it’s going to be hard for a non-QB to win the Maxwell this year.

Dory LeBlanc, covers Gator sports for Gators First and BourbonMeyer.com. Not just a college sports enthusiast, Dory is also a fan of NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. Born outside Philly, she moved to Tampa, and now resides in Illinois, giving her a broad perspective on the sporting world. You can follow Dory on twitter @DoryLeBlanc