Sports

2011 Maxwell Award Rankings: Wilson, Luck, Griffin 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 -Russell WilsonQB, Wisconsin (5-0); 216.9 rating, 83-for-111 passing (74.8%), 1,391 yards, 13 TD, 1 INT, 22 attempts, 140 yards, 2 TDs. All the pieces are coming together for Wisconsin to not only repeat as Big Ten Champions, but to have a legitimate shot at a BCS Title. These “pieces” are Russell Wilson. Long considered a rushing quarterback, Wilson is getting it done in the air, and only uses his feet when he has to. He is athletic, smart, poised and one of the most electrifying players in college football this season.

2 -Andrew LuckQB, Stanford (5-0); 182.3 rating, 106-for-145 passing (73.1%), 1,383 yards, 14 TD, 2 INT, 12 attempts, 60 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. 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.

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3 – Robert Griffin IIIQB, Baylor (4-1); 212.9 rating, 114-for-142 passing (80.3%), 1,520 yards, 19 TDs, 1 TD, 60 attempts, 280 yards, 2 TD, 1 reception, 15 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. Based off of game film and statistics, Griffin is deserving of the “one of the best football players in college” tag.

4 – LaMichael JamesRB, Oregon (4-1); 95 attempts, 852 yards, 8 TDs, 11 receptions, 159 yards, 1 TD, 6 punt returns, 116 yards, 1 TD. Barring any significant time missed due to an elbow injury he sustained in the California game,      LaMichael James will be a finalist for several awards this year. The best non-QB football player in the country, James leads all running backs in rushing and all purpose yards, and is tied for fifth in scoring. 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 weeks for an average of 9 yards per carry, and 170.4 ypg.

5 – Trent RichardsonRB, Alabama (6-0); 115 attempts, 729 yards, 11 TDs, 13 receptions, 149 yards, 1 TD. Trent Richardson is the Tide’s workhorse with five straight games with at least 100 yards rushing and has topped 200 all purpose yards twice (against Arkansas and Florida). Al 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. If James’ elbow keeps him out of any games, Richardson should be able to surpass him on the list.

6 – Landry JonesQB, Oklahoma (5-0); 159.6 rating, 142-of-205 passing (69.3%), 1,814 yards, 13 TD, 5 INT, 10 attempts, 2 yards, 2 TDs. Talk of Landry Jones winning a significant award his junior year has dwindled mainly because of his completion percentage and TD-to-INT ratio. Jones does however play on one of the top teams with one of the top offenses. He ranks second for total offense with 363.20 ypg while the Sooners as a team are sixth with a 534.60 average yards per game. Compared to the other QBs on this list, Jones throws the ball a lot, which leads to dropped passes and interceptions. He is still an elite talent on the collegiate level.

7 – Tyrann MathieuCB, LSU (6-0); 41 total tackles (29 solo), 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 4 forced fumbles, 4 passes broken up, 3 fumble returns (2 TDs), 13 punt returns, 97 yards. The term “I’d rather be a big fish in a little sea, than a small fish in a big sea” does not apply to Tyrann Mathieu; he is a big fish in a big sea. Mathieu stands out not only in a conference known for defense, but on a team that ranks 5th in total defense, 8th in scoring defense, 4th against the run, and 17th 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.

8 – Kellen MooreQB, Boise State (5-0); 171.6 rating, 125-of-169 passing (74%), 1,391 yards, 17 TDs, 4 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. The one similarity he does have to Griffin is that he does not play for a BCS football powerhouse. Although Boise State has slowly been gaining respect and moved from the WAC to the MWC in the offseason, many argue the level of competition is still not up to snuff and use it against Moore. Truth is, Moore is a talented and capable quarterback, and is more than deserving to be named to this list.

9 – Denard RobinsonQB, Michigan (6-0); 151.2 rating, 67-of-117 passing (57.3%), 1130 yards, 10 TD, 9 INT, 102 attempts, 720 yards, 8 TDs. Despite unorthodox QB numbers, Denard Robinson is a fantastic athlete and football player. Robinson ranks 8th in total offense in the country with an average of 341.20 yards per game and fourth in the nation in rushing. Michigan is 6-0 and a large reason for that is Robinson who orchestrated two come-from-behind victories against Notre Dame and Northwestern.

10 – Robert WoodsWR, USC (4-1); 55 receptions, 747 yards, 6 TDs, 9 kick returns, 239 yards. Being the favorite target of a quarterback who has 1,587 yards passing through five games has its perks, most noticeably making national award watch lists. Robert Woods is ranked tied at one for receptions for game (11), and second in the country in both receiving yards per game (149.4) and total receiving yards. Through five games, Woods is 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.

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