Right now in the world of college football, it is awards season, when we force coaches to wear neckties, let players pick out their funkiest suits and hand out more hardware than Home Depot, the store that sponsors the big event.
All week long, various touchdown clubs located all over the map have held dinners and presented their trademark accolades. On Monday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, NC State’s Bradley Chubb won the Bronco Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defender. Earlier that day in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Washington State’s Luke Falk upset Baker Mayfield to win the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the most outstanding player who started his career as a walk-on. On Tuesday, the new College Football Hall of Fame class was inducted. On Wednesday morning, Scott Frost was named the Home Depot Coach of the Year.
The point here is, college football likes to hand out awards, and this is the time of year when they do it, part of a weeklong march toward Saturday night’s Heisman Trophy presentation.
On Thursday night, all of those who have already won stuff and some who haven’t but are good enough to will gather at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta for the Home Depot College Football Awards (7 ET, ESPN and ESPN App). There will be nine biggies given to the sport’s biggest stars.
Who is going to win what? Who should actually win what? And what are they actually winning? Here’s our guide to the goings-on on the turf carpet.
Chuck Bednarik Award
What it is: Top defensive player, similar to but not the Nagurski Award that was awarded Monday night.
Who it’s named for: Chuck Bednarik, aka Concrete Charlie, was a waist gunner on a B-24 bomber during World War II, then returned home to play both defense and offense for Penn. In 1948, he won the Maxwell Award and finished third in Heisman voting … playing linebacker and center! He is considered one of the greatest NFL players of all time, remembered by many for nearly taking Frank Gifford’s head off his shoulders in 1960.
Who should win it: Chubb. He won the Nagurski on Monday night (beating out Fitzpatrick and Smith), and on Wednesday afternoon he was named winner of the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s top defensive end. Only four players have won those two in the same year and only one has pulled off the Nagurski/Hendricks/Bednarik sweep: Alabama’s Jonathan Allen a year ago.