2009-10 Major Conference Awards
Another great college football regular season of disappointments, pleasant surprises, upsets, and thrillers is in the books. There have been some breakout players who raised their draft stock, and some who most certainly did not (i.e. LeGarrette Blount).
Here's a look at who had the most impact in each major conference.
Offensive Player of the Year- CJ Spiller; Clemson, RB-Spiller was electric for the Tigers in every aspect of the game. He scored a touchdown just about every way you can. He had 11 rushing TD's, four receiving, four kick returning, one punt returning, and even one passing. He was clearly the most complete player in the conference.
Defensive Player of the Year: Derrick Morgan; Georgia Tech DE- Morgan was sensational in the 2009 campaign. Simply put, he was unstoppable. He lead the ACC with 12.5 sacks and also had 19 tackles for loss.
Breakout Player of the Year: Josh Nesbitt; Georgia Tech QB- Nesbitt put up some of the best rushing numbers in the ACC, and he's a quarterback! We knew he could run, but 991 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground? That's unheard of for a QB.
Freshman of the Year: Ryan Williams; Virginia Tech RB- Williams showed that he is the best freshman back in VT history. He broke their freshman rushing record with 1,538 yards along with 19 scores.
Offensive Player of the Year: Mardy Gilyard; Cincy WR- Mardy was simply dynamite all season whether it be on a reception, kick return, or punt return. He's a big reason why the Bearcats completed a perfect 12-0 regular season and Tony Pike had the fantastic year that he had.
Defensive Player of the Year: Devin McCourty; Rutgers CB- McCourty was all over the field all year for the Scarlet Knights. He was a shut down corner, one prime example being Jonathan Baldwin's one catch for 17 yards vs Rutgers. He definitely helped the special teams, blocking three kicks, one punt, and forcing a muffed punt.
Breakout Player of the Year: Tony Pike; Cincy QB- At the beginning of the 2008 season, Pike was fighting for the third string spot. Eventually, he became the starter and was rock solid with 19 TD's and 11 picks. This year, in just nine games, he threw for 26 touchdowns and just six INT's. If not for a mid-season injury, he would have been a major Heisman candidate.
Freshman of the Year: Dion Lewis; Pitt RB- This award was no doubt going to Lewis. There aren't too many freshman who can say that they rushed for 1,640 yards (third most nationally) and 16 touchdowns (tied for 10th nationally). He is by far the best freshman in the conference and probably in the country.
Offensive Player of the Year: Colt McCoy; Texas QB- McCoy was sensational once again in the 2009 campaign. His 27 touchdown passes were impressive, but his leadership of the National Championship contending Longhorns was even better.
Defensive Player of the Year: Ndamukong Suh; Nebraska DT- I don't think that there was any doubt about this one. Suh was most certainly the top defensive player in the country. He did it all, whether it be stuffing the run, rushing the quarterback, or tipping passes. You'll see him on Sunday's really soon.
Breakout Player of the Year: Blaine Gabber; Mizzou QB- No Chase Daniel, no problem when you have Blaine Gabbert. He established himself as one of the top QB's in the country. His 23 touchdowns to just seven picks is incredible, considering he's only a sophomore. Look for him to take over the top quarterback spot in the Big 12.
Freshman of the Year: Landry Jones; Oklahioma QB- Jones filled in very nicely for injured Sam Bradford. He put up some great numbers, including 23 TD's and 2780 yards.
Offensive Player of the Year: Daryll Clark; Penn St QB- Clark was great once again in the 209 season, He led the Nittany Lions to a 10-2 season. He also threw for an impressive 2,787 yards and 23 TD's through the air and scrambled for 7seven scores.
Defensive Player of the Year: Brandon Graham; Michigan DE- Despite the Wolverine's 5-7 struggle, Graham was still a monster on the D-line. He lead the nation in tackles for loss with an astonishing 26 to go along with 10.5 sacks and two blocked kicks.
Breakout Player of the Year: John Clay; Wisconsin RB- Clay was solid in the 2008 season, but really came out of his shell this year. He gained 1,396 yards and 16 TD's on the ground for the Badgers.
Freshman of the Year- Tate Forcier; Michigan QB- Although his stats don't jump out at you, he showed early in the season that he could really play. He accumulated 2290 yards, 16 total touchdowns and was a big reason for the big victory over Notre Dame early this year.
Offensive Player of the Year: Toby Gerhart; Stanford RB- No question here. Gerhart put upthe best rushing numbers in the nation by far. He powered his way to leading the nation in both rushing yards (1,736) and touchdowns (26).
Defensive Player of the Year- Brian Price; UCLA DT- Price was a top pass rusher in the nation. The 300-pounder had 22.5 tackles for loss, seven of those being sacks.
Breakout Player of the Year: Jake Locker; Washington QB- Last year, Locker was an absolute nobody. This year, he's at the top of everyone's big board. His 21 touchdown passes, 2,800 yards, and seven TD runs probably had something to do with that leap to the top of the list.
Freshman of the Year- LaMichael James; Oregon RB- When LeGarrette Blount was suspended, it seemed that the Oregon running game was going to be solely Jeremiah Masoli on QB sneaks or options. Then came redshirt freshman LaMichael James. He didn't just fill in nicely for Blount. He ran for 1,476 yards and 14 TD's. It looks like the early season incident actually helped the Ducks, and James' career.
Offensive Player of the Year: Mark Ingram; Alabama RB- Ingram ran all over, through, and past defenders. He didn't put up the best numbers in the nation, but he was without a question the leader of the BCS Championship bound Crimson Tide. To me, he was well deserving of the Heisman Award.
Defensive Player of the Year: Terrence Cody; Alabama DT- "Mount Cody," as many know him as, was a truck for 'Bama. The 360 pounder stuffed the middle and kept the Crimson Tide undefeated with his block of the potential game-winning field goal against Tennessee. Although he didn't fill up the box score, he definitely was a game changer.
Breakout Player of the Year: Ryan Mallet; Arkansas QB- Mallet put up some of the best numbers in the country from under center. After transferring from Michigan, where he didn't play well at all, he threw for 29 scores to just seven picks. The 6'7" QB showed that he should and will be feared next year in college football.
Freshman of the Year: Alshon Jeffrey; South Carolina WR- Jeffrey lead a pretty weak freshman class in the SEC. He was the No.1 receiver for the "Head Ball Coach" lead Gamecocks. He accumulated 735 yards on 43 receptions and six TD's. This soon to be sophomore has a bright future at South Carolina.