Gil Alcaraz IV

Gil is the owner of the Minnesota Vikings blog, The Viking Den, and an editorial writer for Lakers Nation. Having followed the NFL Draft for years, Gil has had a knack for naming some of the big surprise players to make it in the NFL. Gil is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


Lou Groza Award: Dan Bailey

December 18, 2010

The Lou Groza Award is presented annually to the best place kicker in the nation. This year, Dan Bailey of the Oklahoma State Cowboys earned this prestigious designation.

 

Since becoming the Cowboys starting kicker in 2008, Bailey has grown into one of the most consistent kickers in the nation. After having a slight decline in percentage of field goals made from ’08 to ’09, Bailey made a huge step up in accuracy in 2010 with an impressive 85.7 field goal percentage. He connected on 24 of his 28 field goals, and made 65 of his 66 PAT attempts. He helped the Cowboys bring in a couple of their 10 wins with clutch field goals as time wound down. His consistency and accuracy, along with a strong leg that has 50-yard plus capabilities with help his chances of making it in the NFL.

 

Bailey’s best game (read more…)

Outland Trophy: Gabe Carimi

December 17, 2010

The Outland Trophy is presented annually to the best offensive lineman in the nation. This year, offensive tackle Gabe Carimi of the Wisconsin Badgers earned this prestigious designation.

 

During the 2010 season, Carimi has emerged as one of the best and most well-rounded offensive linemen in the NCAA. He was a part of the offense that was ranked fourth in points-per-game and twelfth in rush-yards-per-game. Carimi was the crucial left tackle on an offensive line that only gave up 12 sacks throughout the entire 2010 regular season. Going up against some of the best defensive ends in the nation, including Adrian Clayborn, Cameron Heyward and Ryan Kerrigan, Carimi held all three of them to just two total sacks. He asserted himself as one of the most consistent offensive tackles in the nation and helped the Badgers’ offense earn its way into a Rose Bowl game against (read more…)

Campbell Trophy: Sam Acho

December 16, 2010

The Campbell Trophy, one of the most sought-after awards in college football, is presented annually to the best senior scholar-athlete in the nation. This year, defensive end Sam Acho of the Texas Longhorns earned this prestigious designation.

 

For the last two years, Acho has been named to the Big-12 all-academic team while starting at defensive end for the Longhorns. He made a big impact for Texas this year, compiling 60 tackles, two forced fumbles and a team-high eight sacks. However, the main reason he won this award was for the impact he made off the field. From balancing classes, homework and practice, to helping out in the community and volunteering his time to better the lives of those less fortunate than him, Acho was an excellent role model for the Longhorns’ football team and the entire University of Texas. He has been a prime example of (read more…)

Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award: Nick Fairley

December 16, 2010

The Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award is presented annually to the best lineman in the nation. This year, defensive tackle Nick Fairley of the Auburn Tigers earned this prestigious designation.

 

Drawing comparisons to the disruptive way that Ndamukong Suh played last year for the Nebraska Corn Huskers, Fairley has been simply dominant in 2010 for the Tigers. Fairley played like a man possessed, bowling his way through offensive lines almost every play and practically owning real estate in opposing offenses’ backfield. He did a sensational job as the anchor for a Tigers defensive unit that only allowed three 100-yard rushers all season. He was part of the defense that held the 2009 Heisman trophy winner, running back Mark Ingram, to only 36 rushing yards. Despite missing the Chattanooga game, Fairley tallied 55 tackles including 21 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception.

 

Fairley’s (read more…)

Home Depot Award: Gene Chizik

December 15, 2010

The Home Depot Award is presented annually to the head coach of the year. This year, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik earned this prestigious designation.

 

After taking over for Tommy Tuberville in 2009, Chizik has led the Tigers to a 21-5 record. During his first year as the coach of the Tigers, he led them to an 8-5 record, including a 38-35 Outback Bowl win over Northwestern. After bringing in an outstanding recruiting class that included the number one running back in the nation, Michael Dyer, Chizik’s Tigers exploded onto the national scene in 2010. Finishing the season ranked sixth in points-per-game and seventh in the nation in offensive yards-per-game, Chizik’s offense was unstoppable with players like junior quarterback Cam Newton and Dyer in the mix. The defense was also impressive, playing well in arguably the toughest conference in the NCAA. And to put the icing (read more…)

Fred Biletnikoff Award: Justin Blackmon

December 14, 2010

The Fred Biletnikoff Award is presented annually to the best wide receiver in the nation. This year, Justin Blackmon of the Oklahoma State Cowboys earned this prestigious designation.

 

After losing both their starting quarterback Zac Robinson and star receiver Dez Bryant last year, the Cowboys thought that their offense would see a steep decline in production. They couldn’t have been happier with what really happened. Junior quarterback Brandon Weeden came in and made an immediate connection with sophomore receiver Blackmon to create one of the most dominant quarterback-receiver tandems in the NCAA. Blackmon was the spark for the Cowboys’ offense, hauling in 102 passes for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns despite missing one game due to an ankle injury. Every outing in 2010 was a highlight reel for Blackmon, who never had less than 100 receiving yards and one touchdown in a game. He even took (read more…)

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award: Scott Tolzien

December 14, 2010

The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is presented annually to the best senior quarterback in the nation. This year, Scott Tolzien of the Wisconsin Badgers earned this prestigious designation.

 

There’s got to be something to like about a quarterback who helped lead his team to victories of 83-20 and 70-23 against Big Ten teams. Despite the Badgers being a run-oriented team in 2010, Tolzien displayed an outstanding control of the offense and wasn’t afraid to air it out when called upon. He completed an impressive 74.3 percent of his 245 passes for 2,300 yards and 16 touchdowns, while limiting his interception total to only six. At the end of the season, his passer rating was a 169.8, a vast improvement on his 2009 rating of 142.99. Tolzien helped lead a tough Wisconsin team to an 11-1 record and a berth in the Rose Bowl against the (read more…)

Ray Guy Award: Chas Henry

December 13, 2010

The Ray Guy Award is presented annually to the best punter in the nation. This year, Chas Henry of the Florida Gators earned this prestigious designation.

 

In his fourth year starting for the Gators, Henry continued to display impressive growth as a punter. He punted 44 times for 2,042 yards, an average of 46.4 yards per punt. Of those 44 punts, only 3 of them went into the endzone for touchbacks whereas 16 of them fell within the opponents own 20 yard-line. To go along with this outstanding accuracy and placement, Henry possesses a very strong leg which allowed him to boot 15 of his punts for more than 50 yards. Even though he wasn’t always successful, he also displayed versatility by occasionally filling in as a place kicker for the Gators. Every year at Florida, he improved on his punting numbers and should be able to continue his (read more…)

Dick Butkus Award: Von Miller

December 13, 2010

The Dick Butkus award is presented annually to the best linebacker in the nation. This year, outside linebacker Von Miller of the Texas A&M Aggies earned this prestigious designation.

 

During his time as an Aggie, Miller has proven himself to be one of the best pass-rushing linebackers in recent college history. After asserting himself as a dominant pass-rush presence with 17 sacks in 2009, Miller opted to stay for his senior year in 2010 and put on quite an encore. As a senior, he racked up 59 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles, and an interception. Despite the drop in sacks, he was much more productive in pass coverage, as evidenced by his six pass breakups, as well as against the run. Miller led the way for an Aggies’ defense that helped lift the team to a 9-3 record, 17th overall BCS ranking at the (read more…)

Doak Walker Award: LaMichael James

December 13, 2010

The Doak Walker Award is presented annually to the best running back in the nation. This year, LaMichael James of the Oregon Ducks earned this prestigious designation.

 

James, only a redshirt sophomore, was one of the most important pieces to Oregon’s road to the national championship. Despite not playing in Oregon’s first game of the season, a 72-0 shellacking of the New Mexico Lobos, James managed to lead all NCAA Div. 1 players in rushing yards. He compiled 1,682 yards on 281 carries, an impressive 6 yards-per-carry, while scoring 21 touchdowns on the ground. To add to his rushing totals, he also caught 13 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. He managed to turn in more games of 200-plus rushing yards (3) than games with less than 100 rushing yards (2). James also finished third in the Heisman voting.

 

James’ most impressive game was Oregon’s 52-31 win (read more…)

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