Maxwell Football Club President Ron Jaworski announced today that Cam Newton of Auburn is the winner of the 74th Maxwell Award for the Collegiate Player of the Year, and that Patrick Peterson of LSU is the winner of the 16th Chuck Bednarik Award for the Defensive Player of the Year.
Newton, a junior quarterback from College Park, Georgia, led No. 1 Auburn to a 13- 0 regular season record and a berth against No. 2 Oregon in the Jan. 10 BCS National Championship game. The 6-6 signal caller's season was nothing short of astounding. He led the FBS with a passer rating of 188.16, completing over 67% of his passes for 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns against just six interceptions. Perhaps even more impressively, he shattered the SEC rushing record for quarterbacks by gaining 1,409 yards. In accounting for 48 touchdowns, he helped the Tigers rank sixth nationally in scoring.
Peterson, a junior cornerback from Pompano Beach, Florida, was dangerous as both a defensive back and a return man. Built like a safety, but with a shutdown corner's speed, the dynamic playmaker helped No. 11 LSU rank 10th in the country in pass defense. Peterson intercepted four passes and broke up another six, forcing quarterbacks to avoid his side of the field. He also blocked a kick in the Tigers’ tight win over West Virginia. It wasn't the only mark he left on special teams. Peterson averaged nearly 30 yards a kickoff return and returned two punts for touchdowns..
It’s the fifth time that the Maxwell and Bednarik winners hail from the same conference, as both players compete in the SEC. Last season, the Maxwell Award went to Colt McCoy of Texas, while the Bednarik went to Big 12 conference-mate Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska. McCoy and Suh now suit up for the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, respectively.
The winners of the 74th Maxwell Award and the 16th Chuck Bednarik Award were announced tonight as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
The formal presentation of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner on Friday, March 4, 2011 at the Harrah's Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, NJ.
Eligible voters for the Maxwell and Bednarik awards include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors, and selected national media.
All questions concerning the winners or the awards presented by the Maxwell Football Club can be directed to Mark Wolpert, Maxwell Football Club Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Richard Cirminiello, Director of Collegiate Awards at email@example.com
The Maxwell and Bednarik Awards are members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official website, ncfaa.org.
The Home Depot College Football Awards will feature the live presentation of nine player awards; the NCFAA (National College Football Awards Association) Contribution to College Football Award; Disney Spirit Award; The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award; AllState Good Hands Award; and student athletes selected to the Walter Camp All-America Team. Fans can visit the show's dedicated Web site at www.espncollegefootballawards.com to find the latest college football awards news, including show details, previous winners, fan voting, a photo gallery and video highlights.