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 Wilson – QB, Wisconsin (6-0)
- 210.94 rating, 95-for-128 passing (74.2%), 1,557 yards, 14 TD, 1 INT
- 24 attempts, 182 yards, 2 TDs
- 1 reception, 25 yards, 1 TD
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 Luck – QB, Stanford Cardinal (6-0)
- 180.55 rating, 129-for-181 passing (71.3%), 1,719 yards, 18 TD, 3 INT
- 13 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.
3 – Trent Richardson – RB, Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0)
- 132 attempts, 912 yards, 15 TDs
- 15 receptions, 179 yards, 1 TD
Trent Richardson is the Tide’s workhorse with six straight games with at least 100 yards rushing 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.
4 – Robert Griffin III – QB, Baylor Bears (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. Based off of game film and statistics, Griffin is deserving of the “one of the best football players in college” tag.
5 – LaMichael James – RB, Oregon Ducks (5-1)
- 95 attempts, 852 yards, 8 TDs
- 11 receptions, 159 yards, 1 TD
- 6 punt returns, 116 yards, 1 TD
Despite missing the Arizona State game due to a dislocated shoulder he sustained the week prior against California , LaMichael James will be a finalist for several awards this year. The best non-QB football player in the country, James slipped from the top spot, but still leads all running backs in rushing per game (170.4) and all purpose yards (229.6), and is fourth in receiving. Aside from the game 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.
6 – Tyrann Mathieu – CB, LSU Tigers (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 4th in total defense, 7th in scoring defense, 6th against the run, and 15th 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.
7 – Kellen Moore – QB, Boise State Broncos (6-0)
- 179.66 rating, 151-of-199 passing (75.9%), 1,729 yards, 21 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. The truth is, Moore is a solid, talented and accurate quarterback, and is more than deserving to be named to this list.
8 – Landry Jones – QB, Oklahoma Sooners (6-0)
- 156.00 rating, 171-of-253 passing (67.6%), 2,177 yards, 16 TD, 6 INT
- 12 attempts, 11 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 fourth for total offense with 364.7 ypg while the Sooners as a team are also fourth with a 547.20 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.
9 – Denard Robinson – QB, Michigan Wolverines (6-1)
- 140.11 rating, 76-of-141 passing (53.9%), 1253 yards, 11 TD, 10 INT
- 120 attempts, 762 yards, 9 TDs
Despite unorthodox QB numbers, Denard Robinson is a fantastic athlete and football player. Due to his poor outing against Michigan State, Robinson fell from 8th in total offense to 23rd in the country with an average of 287.9 yards per game and slipped from fourth to tenth in the nation in rushing. Michigan is 6-1 and a large reason for that is Robinson who orchestrated two come-from-behind victories against Notre Dame and Northwestern. Against the Spartans, however, he just couldn’t pull it off before exiting the game after being shaken up by a hit. Robinson is barely hanging on at #10, and could find himself out of contention if he can’t bounce back against Purdue.
10 – Robert Woods – WR, USC Trojans (5-1)
- 60 receptions, 783 yards, 6 TDs
- 10 kick returns, 263 yards
- 3 punt returns, 23 yards
Being the favorite target of a quarterback who has 1,782 yards passing through six games has its perks, most noticeably making national award watch lists. Robert Woods had a slight set-back last week due to fighting double-coverage all game, but he is still a dynamic and capable young wide receiver. Woods is ranked tied at two for receptions for game (10), and fourth in the country in receiving yards per game (130.5) and total receiving yards. After six 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