Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron was announced as the 2013 Maxwell Award winner for the Collegiate Player of the Year on Thursday evening's ESPN telecast.
Dan Wolken of the USA Today reported the news:
AJ McCarron wins the Maxwell Award as CFB player of the year. Wasn't even 1st team all conference— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) December 13, 2013
The senior signal-caller will end his tenure in Tuscaloosa in Jan. 2's Sugar Bowl, where the BCS No. 3 Tide will be taking on the 11th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in New Orleans, La.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops called McCarron the best player in the game on Monday, per the Crimson White:
Bob Stoops: "I think AJ McCarron is the best player in the country, I really do. If I had a [Heisman] vote that's who I'd vote for."— The CW Sports (@CWsports) December 9, 2013
McCarron beat out two formidable finalists in Florida State freshman star QB Jameis Winston and defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel for the Maxwell Award.
With the uncanny ability McCarron has displayed of thriving on the biggest stages college football has to offer, he guided Alabama to the previous two BCS National Championships.
Who was most deserving of the Maxwell Award?
Even in the regular-season finale's last-second, heartbreaking loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, the outcome couldn't be pinned on McCarron, who carved up the Tigers for 277 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
That performance was highlighted by a 99-yard touchdown connection to Amari Cooper, which put the Tide in the lead 28-21 in the fourth quarter before they lost 34-28.
Although it was a disappointing result for what is McCarron's final crack at archrival Auburn, he proved once again in that clash that he is more than the "game manager" label he's often struck with.
Sure, Alabama has an outstanding defense, a stellar offensive line and a great rushing attack to back McCarron up, but the quarterback still has to make the plays when he's put in position to succeed. That's all McCarron ever did, and it's helped him win 36 games as a starter.
Now that he's gotten his due with the Maxwell Award after completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 2676 yards, 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions, perhaps a prospective victory No. 37 will be more appreciated.