Sports

2011 Maxwell Award Rankings: Luck, Wilson, James, Mathieu and More

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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.

1- Andrew LuckQB, Stanford (6-0)

  • 179.99 rating, 145-for-202 passing (71.8%), 1,888 yards, 20 TD, 3 INT
  • 16 attempts, 83 yards, 1 TD
  • 1 reception, 13 yards

Andrew Luck has been the Heisman favorite since deciding to forego the NFL Draft and stay at Stanford for his senior season. The decision has not disappointed Cardinal and college football fans alike. Against Air Force, Luck had a quiet day throwing 16-of-21 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns as Stanford won its national-best 15th straight game. 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.

2 – Russell Wilson QB, Wisconsin (6-0)

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  • 204.91 rating, 109-for-149 passing (73.2%), 1,780 yards, 16 TD, 3 INT
  • 32 attempts, 212 yards, 3 TDs
  • 1 reception, 25 yards, 1 TD

Wilson’s stock took a little hit after the loss to Michigan State on the road. Wilson threw his second and third interception and his lowest completion percentage (66.7%) of the 2011 campaign against the Spartans. Wisconsin may be out of the BCS National Championship hunt, but are still alive in their quest to repeat as Big Ten Champions. Michigan State’s stout defense will be the toughest Wilson will see all year, and he still has a chance to pull off big thing. He is athletic, smart, poised and one of the most electrifying players in college football this season.

3 – Trent RichardsonRB, Alabama (7-0)

  • 149 attempts, 989 yards, 17 TDs
  • 18 receptions, 212 yards, 1 TD

Trent Richardson is the Tide’s workhorse who had six straight games with at least 100 yards rushing before last week’s game and 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 tied for second in the country for most touchdowns by a running back.

4 – Kellen Moore QB, Boise State (6-0)

  • 180.72 rating, 174-of-228 passing (76.3%), 2,010 yards, 24 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 is now fourth in the BCS standings which helps Moore in the awards race. After the win against Air Force, Moore is now tied with former Texas QB Colt McCoy for most wins by a college quarterback at 45 and his 123 total career TDs pushed him past Ty Detmer for fourth best all time.

5 – Robert Griffin IIIQB, Baylor (4-2)

  • 205.13 rating, 143-for-183 passing (78.1%), 1,950 yards, 22 TDs, 2 TD
  • 72 attempts, 295 yards, 2 TD
  • 1 reception, 15 yards
  • 1 punt, 39 yards

From his accuracy to his touchdown-to-interception ratio, Robert Griffin III’s numbers are almost unbelievable. There is very little he can’t do better than almost anybody. His downfall? He plays for Baylor, a two-loss team who currently is not ranked in any poll. Based off of game film and statistics, Griffin is deserving of the “one of the best football players in college” tag and now leads the nation in QB rating and completion percentage.

6 – LaMichael JamesRB, Oregon (5-1)

  • 95 attempts, 852 yards, 8 TDs
  • 11 receptions, 159 yards, 1 TD
  • 6 punt returns, 116 yards, 1 TD

James has now missed back-to-back games with a dislocated elbow he sustained two weeks ago against California, but still leads the nation in rush yards per game (142.00), all-purpose yards with 191.3 per game.  Being sidelined the last two weeks has slid James down the list, but as long as he can get healthy and back on the field, he should pick up where he left off and start climbing again. LaMichael will be a finalist for several awards this year. Aside from the two games missed James has yet to gain less than 100 all purpose yards in a single game this year, and has had over 200 yards the last three games for an average of 9 yards per carry, and 170.4 ypg.

7 – Tyrann MathieuCB, LSU (7-0)

  • 42 total tackles (29 solo, 5 TFL), 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 4 forced fumbles, 5 passes broken up, 3 fumble returns (2 TDs), 1 QB Hurry
  • 15 punt returns, 119 yards

“Honey badger takes what he wants” is a popular term and tee-shirt depicting a honey badger in the “Heisman pose” with those words underneath.  Tyrann Mathieu, is the honey badger. Mathieu stands out not only in a conference known for defense, but on a team that ranks 3rd in total defense, 3rd in scoring defense, 4th against the run, and 11th against the pass. He is the best defensive player in the nation, but is often overlooked due to an incredibly strong quarterback class in Heisman talks. Mathieu and two teammates did not practice during the week, nor play on Saturday against Auburn due to a suspension.

8 – Robert WoodsWR, USC (6-1)

  • 72 receptions, 902 yards, 8 TDs
  • 11 kick returns, 283 yards
  • 5 punt returns, 52 yards

Being the favorite target of a quarterback who has over 2,000 yards passing through seven games has its perks, most noticeably making national award watch lists. Woods is a dynamic and capable young wide receiver who often faces double-coverage in games. Woods is ranked tied at two for receptions for game (10.3), and is second in the country in receiving yards per game (128.9) and fourth in total receiving yards. After six games, Woods was on pace to catch 132 balls for 1,793 yards and 14 touchdowns in twelve games. In the first two categories, he would not be far off the record-setting pace of 155 receptions (2009, Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green) and 2,060 yards (1999, Trevor Insley, Nevada) if USC was eligible for a bowl game. The success of Woods, however, rests solely on the shoulders of QB Matt Barkley; an injury or time missed would most assuredly affect Woods’ production.

9 – Sammy Watkins WR, Clemson (8-0)

  • 54 receptions, 819 yards, 9 TDs
  • 21 attempts, 126 yards
  • 15 kick returns, 434 yards, 1 TD

Sammy Watkins is the lone freshman on the list, but his play as the season progresses makes him a worthy candidate none the less. Watkins is seventh in the country for both receiving yards and all purpose yards with an average of 173.9 per game. His nine touchdowns tie him for most among receivers. However, just like Woods, Watkin’s stats rely heavily on the health and performance of his quarterback; in Sammy’s case, Tajh Boyd.

10 – Case Keenum – QB, Houston (7-0)

  • 184. 76 rating, 194-of-266 passing (72.9 %), 2,685 yards, 23 TDs, 2 INTs
  • 26 attempts, 40 yards

The Houston senior quarterback is new to the list this week with the monster season he is having, his accomplishments could not go unappreciated any longer. Keenum is a big part of the Cougars’s success this campaign as he sits near or atop almost every QB category in college football. Case leads the country in passing yards and yards per game (383.6), is fourth in completion percentage, and third in yards per attempt (10.1), passing touchdowns, and rating. His two picks put him tied at sixth, but four QBs ahead of him are tied at two.