Week 13 Player Awards

November 29, 2023 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

(NOTE: In addition to numerous other awards, CollegeFootballPoll.com's Dave Congrove is a season-end voter for these awards in this article: Ray Guy, Bednarik, Maxwell, Lou Groza, Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski)

In no particular order, here are the Players of the Week, as announced by some of college football's major award recipients.

Shaun Alexander Award - Freshman Player of the Week

The Maxwell Football Club announces that QB Noah Fifita of Arizona has been named The Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Week after a dominant performance against Arizona State. In the 59-23 blowout, Fifita went 30-41, throwing for 527 yards and 4 passing touchdowns. The freshman set a Arizona record for passing yards in a single game, breaking Anu Solomon's previous record of 520 yards. Fifita’s 5 touchdowns is also a career high. This was also the most passing yards ever thrown in the Territorial Cup. The Wildcats now look forward to playing their first bowl game since 2017.

Weekly Winners
Week 13: Noah Fafita, QB, Arizona
Week 12:
Jahiem White, RB, West Virginia
Week 11: C.J. Allen, LB, Georgia
Week 10:
Eugene Wilson, WR, Florida
Week 9:
Kevin Concepcion, WR, NC State
Week 8:
Reuben Bain Jr., DE, TCU
Week 7:
Josh Hoover, QB, TCU
Week 6: Noah Fifita, QB, Arizona
Week 5: Caleb Downs, DB, Alabama
Week 4: Rocco Becht, QB, Iowa State
Week 3: Jordan Castell, S, Florida
Week 2: Anthony Hill, Jr., LB, Texas
Week 1: Dylan Edwards, RB, Colorado

Ray Guy Award - Punter - Finalists Announced

The Augusta Sports Council and the Ray Guy Award announced the semifinalists for Punter of the Year.

Matthew Hayball (Vanderbilt)
Alex Mastromanno (Florida State),
Tory Taylor (Iowa)

Weekly Winners - No more Weekly Winners after Week 10
Week 10: Porter Wilson, Duke
Week 9: James Ferguson-Reynolds, Boise State
Week 8: Tory Taylor, Iowa
Week 7: No announcement
Week 6: Austin McNamara, Texas Tech
Week 5: Oscar Chapman, Auburn
Week 4: Matt Hayball, Vanderbilt
Week 3: Tyler Perkins, Iowa State
Week 2: James Burnip, Alabama
Week 1: Ryan Rehkow, BYU

Outland Trophy - Interior Lineman - Finalists Announced

Joe Alt, OT (Notre Dame)
Cooper Beebe, OG (Kansas State),
T'Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas

Weekly Winners - No more Weekly Winners after Week 10
Week 10: Will Putnam, C, Clemson
Week 9:
Leif, Foutanu, OL, Arizona State
Week 8:
Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State
Week 7:
Charles Turner III, C, LSU
Week 6:
Walter Rouse, OL LT, Oklahoma
Week 5: Jeremy Flax, OL, Kentucky
Week 4: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State
Week 3: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
Week 2: Anez Cooper, G, Miami (FL)
Week 1: Tanor Bortoloini, C, Wisconsin

Maxwell Award - Offensive Player of the Week

Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III has been named the Maxwell Award of the Week after a stellar performance against Vanderbilt. In the 48-24 victory, Milton completed 22 of 33 passes for 383 yards and 4 passing touchdowns, while adding 11 rushing yards with 2 rushing touchdowns. Miltons’ 383 yards and 6 total touchdowns are both career-highs in his final game at Neyland Stadium. His 6 total touchdowns were the most by a Volunteer quarterback since Jonathan Crompton did it in November of 2009. The Volunteers now await a Bowl Game announcement, as they are bowl eligible.

Weekly Winners
Week 13: Joe Milton III, QB, Tenenssee
Week 12:
Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Week 11:
Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
Week 10: Jalen Milroe, QB, Alabama
Week 9:
Ollie Gordon !!, RB, Oklahoma State
Week 8:
Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Week 7: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Week 6:
Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma
Week 5: Ray Davis, RB, Kentcuky
Week 4: Cameron Ward, QB, Washington State
Week 3: Michael Penix, Jr., QB, Washington
Week 2: Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas
Week 1: Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State

Bednarik Award - Defensive Player of the Week

Cal outside linebacker David Reese has been named the Bednarik Player of The Week after a great performance against rival UCLA. In the 33-7 rout, the senior accumulated 4 tackles, 3 of which were TFL’s for sacks, as well as a forced fumble. Reese’s forced fumble came late in the second quarter, which led to a late first half touchdown for the Bears. The 3 tackles for loss also matched a career high. This win now makes the Bears bowl eligible, and they look forward to that game now.

Weekly Winners
Week 13: David Reese, OLB, Cal
Week 12:
Jabbar Muhammad, CB, Washington
Week 11: Jalen McLeod, EDGE, Auburn
Week 10: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson
Week 9: Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M
Week 8: Nathaniel Wilson, LB, Mississippi State
Week 7: Landon Jackson, DE, Arkansas
Week 5:
Howard Cross III, DL, Notre Dame
Week 4: Dallas Turner, LB, Alabama
Week 3: Daquan Evans, DB, USF
Week 2: Jaden Hicks, DB, Washington State
Week 1: Kaimon Rucker, LB, North Carolina

Lou Groza Award - Placekicker - Finalists Announced

College football’s top kicking award is presented by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Week 12 was the final week of announcing the Lou Groza Award "Stars of the Week".

Finalists are as follows:

Graham Nicholson of Miami (O) finished the regular season a perfect 23-for-23 on field goals, the most ever in a full FBS season without a miss. With the MAC Championship and a bowl game still to play, he stands three makes away from setting the all-time FBS record for consecutive field goals in a single season. He kicked field goals in every game this year, including three 3-for-3 performances, all in conference play.

Jose Pizano of UNLV brought award-winning credentials with him from FCS Missouri State and instantly became one of the top kickers at the FBS level, setting virtually every single-season record at UNLV. His 23 field goals are the most ever by a Rebel and included a run of 19 straight to set a new program mark as well. He kicked two game-winners, one as part of a 4-FG game against Vanderbilt and the other his record-setting 6th field goal of the game against Colorado State.

Will Reichard of Alabama capped one of the great collegiate careers of all time by becoming just the 12th kicker in history to be voted a Groza finalist more than once. He has amassed 530 points in his career, tied for the most by any player in FBS history. This season, his 3-for-3 mark on kicks from at least 50 yards gives him the most by any kicker who didn’t miss from long distance, perhaps not surprising given his 8 career makes from 50+ are the most in Alabama history.

Weekly Winners
Week 12: Alex Hale (Oklahoma State), Joshua Karty (Stanford), Graham Nicholson (Miami, O.)
Week 11: Tyler Loop (Arizona), Drew Stevens (Iowa), Alex McPherson (Auburn)
Week 10: Bert Auburn (Texas), Cam Little (Arkansas), Collin Rogers (SMU)
Week 9:
Andres Borregales (Miami), John Love (Virginia Tech), Brandon Talton (Nevada)
Week 8: Isaiah Hankins (Baylor), Dragan Kasich (Minnesota), Jose Pizaono (UNLV)
Week 7:
Alex Hale (Oklahoma State), Scott Taylor Renfore (Troy), Trey Smack (Florida)
Week 6: Alex Hale (Oklahoma State), Brock Travelstead (Louisville), Peyton Woodring (Georgia)
Week 5:
John Hoyland (Wyoming), Will Reichard (Alabama), Drew Stevens (Iowa)
Week 4: Michael Lantz (Georgia Southern), Trey Smack (Florida), Dominic Zvada (Arkansas State)
Week 3: Harrison Mevis (Missouri), Jose Pizano (UNLV), Noah Rauschenberg (North Texas)
Week 2: Colton Boomer (UCF), Caden Davis (Ole Miss), Camden Lewis (Oregon)
Week 1: Josh Karty (Stanford), Andrew Stein (Southern Miss), Brock Travelstead (Louisville)

Doak Walker Award - Running Back - Ten Semifinalists Announced

Finalists are as follows:

Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State: A three-time Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week this season, Gordon leads the nation with 1,580 rushing yards to go with 20 touchdowns as the Cowboys prepare to play Texas for the Big 12 championship on Saturday. Gordon has run up his numbers despite only having 19 carries in the season's first three games. In the last two weeks alone, Gordon has scored eight touchdowns and run for 332 yards and is now averaging 6.45 yards on 245 carries. He joins Chuba Hubbard (2019) and Kendall Hunter (2010) as a finalist from Oklahoma State.

Omarion Hampton, North Carolina: The nation's fourth-leading rusher with 1,442 yards and 15 touchdowns, he had reeled off six straight 100-yard games at one point and has seven on the season. Hampton was the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week for his Sept. 9 performance vs. App State (26 carries, 234 yards and three touchdowns) and is the first Doak Walker Award finalist from UNC.

Cody Schrader, Missouri: The SEC's leading rusher by more than 30 yards per game has 1,499 yards on 247 carries, including earning the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week honor for his 205-yard performance vs. Tennessee the weekend of Nov. 11. The nation's second-leading rusher has 13 rushing touchdowns and has scored in nine straight games after a 217-yard outing vs. Arkansas to close the regular season. Schrader is the second finalist from Mizzou in three years, joining Tyler Badie from 2021.

Weekly Winners

Week 11:
Cody Schrader, Missouri
Week 10:
Dillon Johnson, Washingnton
Week 9:
Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
Week 8: Nay-Quan Wright, South Florida
Week 7: Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
Week 6: Trey Benson, Florida State
Week 5:
Ray Davis, Kentucky
Week 4:
DJ Giddens, Kansas State
Week 3:
Trevor Etienne, Florida
Week 2: Omarion Hampton, North Carolina
Week 1: Dylan Edwards, Colorado

Bronko Nagurski - Defensive Player

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FWAA) – Five finalists for the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy representing three different conferences plus Notre Dame, one of them from the top team in the current College Football Playoff rankings and one who has the sixth-most tackles in the FBS, were named Wednesday by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club as candidates for the award honoring the nation’s top defensive player.

Three members from the secondary, a linebacker and a defensive tackle compose the list. Three of the schools represented have had Bronko Nagurski Trophy winners in their past.

In alphabetical order, the finalists are Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean, Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton, Georgia safety Malaki Starks, NotreDame safety Xavier Watts and N.C. State linebacker Payton Wilson.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy recipient will be chosen from these five finalists. The FWAA All-America Committee selects the defensive player of the year who is part of the 2023 FWAA All-America Team and presented with the trophy at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet on Dec. 4 in Charlotte, N.C. where TCU head coach Sonny Dykes will be the keynote speaker.

Here is more information on the five Nagurski Trophy 2023 finalists:

Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa (#3, 6-1, 207, Jr., Odebolt, Iowa): DeJean is one of the nation’s top cornerbacks and one of Iowa’s most experienced players. He has 41 tackles on the season, two interceptions and five pass breakups. The ball is not thrown to his side of the field often. DeJean had 10 tackles against Iowa State, a rarity for a corner, marking his third career 10-plus tackle effort. Iowa’s defense currently is third nationally, giving up 12.3 points per game, and has allowed only one touchdown over its last four games; it’s fresh off its first Big Ten shutout since 2019 following a 22-0 home win over Rutgers last week.

Iowa has never had a Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner but has two recent finalists in defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon in 2020 and linebacker Josey Jewell from 2017. Linebacker Pat Angerer was also a finalist in 2009.

Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois (#4, 6-2, 295, Jr., St. Petersburg, Fla.): A constant force in the middle of Illinois’ defense, Newton is the national leader in quarterback pressures among interior defensive linemen with 39 according to Pro Football Focus and leads all FBS defensive tackles in snaps played at 61.1 per game. He has two standout games with seven pressures against Wisconsin and six against then-No. 7 Penn State. Newton is sixth on Illinois’ season tackles chart with 42 and leads the Illini with 6.5 tackles for loss. He is also a special teams force with three blocked kicks this season, tied for the national lead.

Illinois has never had a Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, but has had three previous finalists in defensive end Whitney Mercilus in 2011, linebacker Kevin Hardy in 1995 and linebacker Dana Howard in 1994.

Malaki Starks, S, Georgia (#24, 6-1, 205, So., Jefferson, Ga.): An imposing safety and one of the top underclassmen in the country, Starks lists fifth on the team with 33 tackles, ties for second with five pass breakups and has two interceptions. He has led the Bulldogs in tackles in two games this year against UT-Martin and Kentucky. Starks had 10 tackles against Tennessee last year, a career high, and faces the Vols again this weekend. Georgia, the top team in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings, is on a school record 27-game winning streak that is third in SEC history.

Georgia is well represented in Bronko Nagurski Trophy history. A fellow Bulldog defensive back, cornerback Champ Bailey, is the lone winner from 1998. But the Bulldogs have now had a finalist in three consecutive seasons and in five of the last six seasons (safety Chris Smith in 2022, defensive tackle Jordan Davis in 2021; safety J.R. Reed in 2019; linebacker Roquan Smith in 2017) and now nine finalists all-time. Eight of their nine finalists now have been in-state recruits.

Xavier Watts, S, Notre Dame (#0, 5-11, 204, Jr., Omaha, Neb.): A disrupter to opponents, Watts is the nation’s interceptions leader with seven, with five of them in the Irish’s last three games. He is the first Irish player to post multiple interceptions in consecutive games (vs. USC and Pitt) and the first FBS player to do it since 2020 – he was the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week following both wins. The USC game was a career highlight for him; in addition to seven tackles, Watts intercepted reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams twice, forced a fumble and recovered another and returned it for a touchdown. His seven picks – half of the team’s 14 – have led directly to Notre Dame points in every occurrence totaling 41 points, or 11 percent of the Irish’s team scoring. He has 42 tackles, fourth at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in 2012. He is the Fighting Irish’s lone previous winner. Fellow linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was a finalist for the award in 2020, as was cornerback Shane Walton in 2002.

Payton Wilson, LB, N.C. State (#11, 6-4, 238, Gr., Hillsborough, N.C.): Nicknamed by his head coach as a “wrecking ball,” Wilson leads the ACC and is fifth nationally with 11.2 tackles per game and has led the team in tackles in eight of NCSU’s 10 games. Wilson is 13th nationally in solo tackles and has 49 more tackles than any other Wolfpack player at 112 total, the highest mark by a Wolfpack player since 2012. N.C. State leads the ACC in scoring defense in league play at 14.5 ppg. In its last eight games Wilson has led the Wolfpack defense to allow just 84.1 rushing yards per game. He was a four-time ACC Linebacker of the Week and has 20 double-figure tackle outputs for his career, including five in 2023.

N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in 2017. Linebacker Levar Fisher is the Wolfpack’s only other finalist from the 2000 season.

Weekly Winners - No more Weekly Winners after Week 10
Week 10: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson
Week 9: Xavier Watts, S, Notre Dame
Week 8:
Jihaad Campbell, LB, Alabama
Week 7: Xavier Watts, S, Notre Dame
Week 6: Devin Grant, S, Buffalo
Week 5:
Caden Jenkins, CB, Baylor
Week 4: Maxwell Hairston, CB, Kentucky
Week 3: Carlton Johnson, DB, Fresno State
Week 2: Ron Stone, Jr., EDGE, Washington State
Week 1: Travis Hunter, CB, Colorado