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2020 was a unique year and the college football season was no exception. The uncertainty of the season’s scheduling even impacted the order in which the postseason awards were presented.
Usually, the College Football Awards Show precedes the Heisman Trophy presentation, building to the crescendo of the sport’s highest honor, culminating with the National Championship.
The title game remains the main event as Alabama and Ohio State tangle in Miami on Monday, but this year, the awards presentations were reversed. DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy this past Tuesday, while the rest of the honors were handed out on Thursday. Let’s take a look at some of the marquis honors the nation’s top players took home this week.
Davey O'Brien Award - Mac Jones, Alabama
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones won the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's best quarterback, a nice consolation after finishing as the Heisman runner-up. Jones threw for 4,036 yards with 36 touchdowns and four interceptions this season, beating Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Florida's Kyle Trask for the O'Brien Award. Both Lawrence and Trask were Heisman finalists.
Doak Walker Award - Najee Harris, Alabama
Harris finished fifth in the Heisman voting, resulting in just the second time in history that a trio of teammates finished in the top five. Harris takes home the award for the top running back in the country after leading the nation with 24 touchdowns.
With one game remaining, Harris is third in the FBS in rushing yards. He beat out Iowa State's Breece Hall and Clemson's Travis Etienne for the award.
Chuck Bednarik Award - Zaven Collins, Tulsa
We pause from the onslaught of Alabama recipients (briefly, as you’ll see momentarily) to bring you the nation’s top defensive player in Zaven Collins from Tulsa. The junior linebacker, who also won the Bronko Nagurski Award, finished with 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and four interceptions, beating out Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Alabama's Patrick Surtain II for the honor.
John Mackey Award - Kyle Pitts, Florida
Pitts was named the nation's best tight end after catching 43 passes for 770 yards with 12 touchdowns, despite opting out of the Cotton Bowl. He is projected to be a top-10 pick and the first tight end selected in next April’s NFL Draft. The other finalists were Iowa State's Charlie Kolar and Texas A&M's Jalen Wydermyer.
Maxwell & Biletnikoff Awards - DeVonta Smith, Alabama
As promised, back to the Crimson Tide. Smith takes home the award for the top receiver and the top overall player in the country, a fitting sweep of the top three he was eligible for coming off one of the greatest seasons ever produced from his position. Another projected top pick, Smith beat out Jones and Lawrence for the Maxwell Award, and Pitts and Elijah Moore from Ole Miss for the Biletnikoff.
Alabama didn’t stop there as Alex Leatherwood won the Outland Trophy for the nation’s best interior lineman, and Landon Dickinson took home the Rimington Trophy for being named the best center in the country. Below are the rest of the awards and their recipients:
Lou Groza Award (Best Kicker): Miami's Jose Borregales
Ray Guy Award (Best Punter): Georgia Tech's Pressley Harvin III
Paycom Jim Thorpe Award (Best Defensive Back): TCU safety Trevon Moehrig