Dennis Dodd named recipient of 2022 Bert McGrane Award

INDIANAPOLIS — Veteran sportswriter Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports has been named the recipient of the FWAA’s Bert McGrane Award for 2022, symbolic of the association’s Hall of Fame.  He will be honored during the Past Presidents Dinner here tonight.  

“To paraphrase the great Bobby Bowden upon his retirement,” said Dodd, who was previously a co-FWAA Beat Writer of the Year recipient, “there is only one more big event in your life after you win the Bert McGrane.

Dennis Dodd

“Seriously, I am humbled to join such an accomplished and legendary group. I truly don’t consider myself worthy. The FWAA has been at the core of my professional life. The FWAA’s values and principles have formed the foundation of college sports writing. Its members consider journalism a vocation, not just a job.”

The Bert McGrane Award, since 1974, has been bestowed on a FWAA member in recognition of contributions to the association and to college football and recognized in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Dodd was named the Steve Ellis co- FWAA Beat Writer of the Year in 2018 and was also FWAA President in 2006.

“These last 18 months or so have been an inspiration,” Dodd continued. “Some of the best writing in any discipline has come from FWAA members during the pandemic. The virus presented a lot of us with unique challenges. We, as a group, rose to the occasion to frame COVID and its impact on the sport. To be part of this great fraternity remains an honor of a lifetime.”

A rundown of Dodd’s career …

PERSONAL: Married. Wife Janet. Two children — Haley, 29, and Jack 25. Haley is a graduate of Missouri, former Volney Meece scholarship recipient in 2009 and is working in Los Angeles in digital media. Jack is in business development in Kansas City. Dennis has won three first-place FWAA Best Writing Contest Awards. He is one of seven media members to cover all 16 BCS title games. Counting this year’ CFP championship game, that’s 22 of 24 championship games overall in the BCS era (since 1998). He has written two books, one on the history of Missouri basketball and the other on the formation of the Big 12. He calls his wife, Janet, “the absolute light of my life, guidance counselor, travel companion, life coach, cancer survivor and best friend.” One of his hobbies, NCAA Football on the PlayStation, was taken away from him by litigation. That and Jack took the Xbox to college. His passions are Happy Hour, hockey and Friday nights before Saturday games in college towns dining with media friends. “There’s no better fellowship,” he says.

MENTORS:  Kansas City Star co-workers Tom Shatel and Steve Richardson, early on. Richardson, Dodd says, “mentored him when he came to Kanas City in 1981.” Shatel: “I wish I could be him as a writer and a father.” They can all still be seen in San Diego in somebody’s picture of that little joint by the sea. Dodd started going to America’s Finest City 38 years ago to watch the 1983 Holiday Bowl. In his last college game, Steve Young caught the game-winning touchdown. Shatel was along for the ride. Ivan Maisel, a “literary and personal hero.” I also want to thank Vahe Gregorian, Andy BagnatoChuck Culpepper, David Jones, Todd Jones, Dick Weiss, Mark Blaudschun, Tony Barnhart, Chris Dufresne, Pat Forde and everyone who has pounded the keyboards at midnight with me.”

BEST STORIES:  He is most proud of two — one was on Dave Redding. “I drove up to central Nebraska to see legendary strength coach Dave Redding,” Dodd said. “In a profession full of characters, rogues and heroes, he was all three. Red Man had been stricken with Parkinson’s. He lived in a house built on the banks of the Platte River by himself and his dad. His only companions were a couple of dogs and a houseful of memories. He showed me his Super Bowl ring he earned with the Packers.He went in depth on two brothers who made it big in Hollywood before both dying of HIV. He kept asking me if I wanted a drink. It was 2 p.m. It was clear he was lonely. I had to decline because I had to drive back to Lincoln. I’m really proud of honoring him by writing that story.”

“In 2001, I had the idea to drive out to Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, to find the Knute Rockne Memorial where the great coach’s plane had crashed in 1931,” Dodd said. “It was the 70th anniversary of the crash that killed Notre Dame’s legendary coach. Before the days of GPS or Siri, I drove 90 minutes to Emporia, got directions to Cottonwood Falls, and then got directions again to Bazaar, Kansas. That’s the closest spot on a map to the memorial which stands alone on a 1,500-acre plot of land in the Flint Hills.

“I met a gentle soul named Easter Heathman.” Dodd said. “As a 13-year old in 1931, he had seen the plane come out of the clouds and crash. He was one of the first upon the scene. He remembered seeing a body with the legs wrapped with bandages. Years later, Heathman figured that must have been Rockne because the coach had phlebitis. Over the years Easter became a caretaker for the memorial, taking anyone who wanted to see it, up to the site. The landowner had given him a combination to unlock the gate. I revisited the story on the 90th anniversary of the crash this past March. But I had to sneak onto the land which has new owners who prohibit trespassers, including reporters like me. The five-mile hike across the Kansas prairie was worth it to geta cell phone picture of the memorial for the story.”

BEST ADVICE: Came from Janet, of course: “Listen … listen to her, listen to your children, listen to your heart,” Dodd says. “Professionally, listen to your interview subjects. They are doing you a favor by talking to you. They have a story to tell. It’s up to you to communicate it clearly.” Also, “Read (your story) one more time before sending it.”— Several editors.

THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN THE PROFESSION:  Dodd says: “The lack of intimacy. I don’t have to tell anyone in the FWAA how hard it is now to connect with subjects. Open locker rooms are few and far between. Interviews are now ‘media availability.’ A chat must fit into an available ‘window.’ I believe schools sometimes are doing a disservice to these kids. They come to college to grow as people and, sure, as athletes. For a lot of them this is going to be the time of their lives. I’ve said it many times, on the college beat we’re there to write something positive 80 to 90 percent of the time. Don’t make it so hard. I mourn the loss of access. Often the story that gets told is not THE story. COVID has obviously had an impact, but let’s hope we can get back to what we had. 

“On the positive side, the best biggest change is the influx of women into our profession. There still aren’t enough, but they keep coming. That’s a good thing. Thank you, Stef Loh for being our 2018 FWAA President and Heather Dinich this year. I know there are moretalented leaders inthe pipeline. Kelly Whiteside was our first female FWAA President in 2002”.

BEST INTERVIEW:  Jeff Sims.  “He wasthe coach at Garden City Community College,” Dodd says. “When I visited a few years ago, this was before Last Chance U. Sims grew up in St. Louis and had a dad — a cop—  who smoked marijuana in front of him. Sims once waited outside a prison to get a commitment from a player who was completing 3 1/2 years for armed robbery. There’s a book here somewhere about the desperation at the junior college level — for the players to get there, get good and get out. During my visit there, I sat across from a linebacker, Alex Figueroa, who’d been kicked out of a previous school for a violation of school policy. His teammate had body-slammed a high school security guard on camera. These are some of the kids Sims pursued to be on his team. It remains a fascinating interview. Coach and players made no excuses about why they were there in the southwest corner of Kansas — to get out as soon as possible.

Auburn’s Shelly Poe named FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2

Indianapolis — FWAA member Shelly Poe, Auburn’s Assistant AD/Media Relations, has been named the recipient of the association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2021 season, becoming the fourth person in the Sports Information field to receive the honor.

The award goes to a FWAA member or someone close to the organization who has contributed greatly to either college football, the writing profession or the FWAA during his or her career. Poe would be considered a trailblazer as a female football SID. 

Shelly Poe

Poe was the only female head SID at a Division I football school when she was named West Virginia’s (her alma mater) in 1988 after holding an assistant’s post at the same school for three years. She also was the youngest Division I head SID at that time at 23 years of age.

“I was very fortunate to have been one of the first women to make a career in football, and I was able to do that because a number of smart, tough, persistent women paved the way for those my age to choose the career path,” Poe said. “There were often challenges and resistance, but I quickly learned that the winners in athletics judged people based on how their talents can benefit the program.

“I worked hard to gain that trust and advocates stepped up from the most surprising quarters whenever biases made things difficult. Along the way, I’ve built so many lifelong relationships with friends who were first introduced to me as players, coaches, co-workers and media colleagues, and that is the real dividend.”         

“Shelly has been a staple in the college sports information field for more than three decades,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “It is one thing to have longevity in the field, but she has been a strong advocate for the media among her peers and those she has worked for at three FBS institutions. She also has been a tireless worker for CoSIDA.”

Besides her tenure at Auburn for the past decade, Poe also was Director of Football Communications at Ohio State from 2007 to 2012 following 20 years at West Virginia. An ex-officio member of the FWAA Board from 2013 to 2018, Poe is a 2006 member of the CoSIDA Hall of Fame, the 2013-14 CoSIDA President, the recipient of the 2012 CoSIDA Trailblazer Award and she was part of a CoSIDA-FWAA task force to determine media services adjustments at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in the summer of 2020.  She has been at Auburn since 2012.  

“I was blessed to work for many years for one of the finest gentlemen ever in this game, Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen, who would do an extra interview or make time for a guest, ‘because I think it’s good for the game,’” Poe recalled. “Those words have been a standard for me, and I hope I’ve made the game better by assisting so many talented people in telling its stories.

“My best friend, the late coach Dave Adolph, was known for asking, ‘Do you love football?’ I do love it, and I love the positive impact it’s had on so many lives, especially mine.”

The FWAA started naming a Lifetime Achievement Award winner nearly a decade ago. Art Spander of the San Francisco Examiner was the first recipient in 2013, followed by Bill Little (University of Texas) in 2014, Irv Moss (Denver Post) in 2015, OK (Buddy) Davis (Ruston Daily Leader) in 2016, Mike Finn (ACC) in 2017, Dave Plati (University of Colorado) in 2018, Wright Waters (Football Bowl Association) and Paul Hoolahan (Sugar Bowl) in 2019 and Sid Hartman (Minneapolis Star Tribune) posthumously in 2020.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

Georgia Student receives Volney Meece Scholarship

Indianapolis — Jacob Weiszer, a senior at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, Ga., was named the 25th winner of the Volney Meece Scholarship on Monday.

The scholarship is awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America and named for the late Volney Meece. Meece served 22 years as the FWAA’s executive director and was the organization’s president in 1971.

Jacob Weiszer

The scholarship is a $1,000 annual grant for four years. It is awarded to a deserving son or daughter of an FWAA member.

The 17-year-old Weiszer is the son of FWAA member Marc Weiszer. 

Jacob has compiled an impressive list of academic and extracurricular achievements. Accepted at the University of Georgia, where he is already taking classes, Jacob has also applied to several more universities. If he selects Georgia, he will be considered a sophomore when he enters next fall because of the college credits he’s earning as part of the of dual-enrolling program with the university.

At Cedar Shoals, Jacob has maintained a weighted 4.32 GPA while taking several advanced placement courses. A member of the National Honor Society, he ranks third academically in his senior class of 280 students and has been awarded the school’s Phi Beta Kappa Book Award, for exemplifying the highest level of academic, ethical and social commitment.

Jacob is a four-year member of his school’s soccer team, plays Alto saxophone in the marching band, is sports editor of the school magazine and a reporter for Cedar Shoals’  WJAG-TV station. He also volunteered as a youth summer camp counselor and is a religious school volunteer, helping mentor first-grade students in Judaic studies and the basics of Hebrew.

Jacob has attained many additional honors while also working part-time at a neighborhood restaurant. He intends to pursue a business degree with a goal of working in the accounting, financial or international business fields.

Past winners of the Volney Meece Scholarship

1997 Brett Goering Topeka, Kan.
1998 Kelly Brooks Denver, Colo.
1999 James Butz Schaumberg, Ill.
2000 Sara Barnhart Atlanta, Ga.
2001 Patrick Davis Coventry, Conn.
2002 Jacqueline O’Toole Gaithersburg, Md.
2003 Garrett Holtz Denver, Colo.
2004 Katie Hersom Oklahoma City, Okla.
2005 Katie Wieberg Lawson, Mo.
2006 Kaylynn Monroe Winter Park, Fla.
2007 Nate Kerkhoff Overland Park, Kan.
2008 Jack Caywood Lawrence, Kan.
2009 Haley Dodd Overland Park, Kan.
2010 Donald Hunt Philadelphia, Pa.
2011 Alaina Martens Papillion, Neb.
2012 Emily Alford Tupelo, Miss.
2013 Sarah Helsley Edmond, Okla.
2014Robert AbramsonPalos Verde, Calif.
2015Danielle HooverTulsa, Okla.
2016Dolen HelwagenPataskala, Ohio
2017Elizabeth SchroederNorman, Okla.
2018Mallory RosettaBaton Rouge, La.
2019Alexandra HaleyHamilton, N.J.
2020Sarah ShatelOmaha, Neb.

FWAA names finalists for First-Year Coach and Freshman Player of the Year Awards

GAINESVILLE, FLA.  – The Football Writers Association of America is pleased to announce the finalists for the Steve Spurrier First Year Coach Award, which goes to the best coach in his first year at a school, and the FWAA Freshman of the Year Award. Both awards are sponsored and presented by Chris Doering Mortgage, with the winners announced in January.

“I’m excited to honor my former coach (Spurrier) with the naming of the First Year Coach Award,” said Chris Doering, former college and NFL player and current football analyst for SEC Network. “It means a lot to me knowing how passionate he is about this award and what it stands for. In most cases as a first year coach, you’re basically being asked to turn around a program with a largely inherited roster. Coach Spurrier took great pride in each of his first year head coaching opportunities with an innate ability to get those around him to buy into the culture and what they’re being asked to do. I think it speaks to the essence of what a good coach is.”

Steve Spurrier First Year Coach Award finalists presented by Chris Doering Mortgage:

Shane Beamer, South Carolina: Beamer, the son of first-ballot College Football Hall of Famer Frank Beamer, helped the Gamecocks improve from 2-8 to 6-6 in his first season as a head coach. Beamer had to win games with three different quarterbacks – two apiece – one a former FCS quarterback and another a former graduate assistant coach.

Josh Heupel, Tennessee: Heupel led the Vols to a 7-5 record after taking over a program that went 3-7 the year before and was mired in an NCAA investigation left over from the previous staff. Heupel, a national championship quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up as a player at Oklahoma, is vying to become the first two-time winner of the Spurrier Award, having won it at Central Florida in 2018.

Gus Malzahn, UCF: Malzahn led the Knights to an 9-4 season including a Gasparilla Bowl victory over Florida, a three-game improvement from the 6-4 mark they ran up last season despite losing several key players, including QB Dillon Gabriel. Malzahn finished the season coaching with a broken tibia after being injured in a sideline collision, working some games from a sideline platform rather than going up into the coach’s box and just finished off the highest recruiting class in school history.

“This award is given to the coach in his first year at his school who comes in and exceeds expectations,” said Steve Spurrier. “All three of these coaches got their programs heading in the right direction and they didn’t make any excuses. They took what was there and started running with it and they all had outstanding seasons.”

Chris Doering Mortgage is also honored to present the Freshman Player of the Year award. Doering said this award is of particular interest to him because compared to his days as a player when you would typically get red-shirted and a chance to acclimate, today’s players are expected to come in and immediately contribute.

TE Brock Bowers, Georgia: The SEC Newcomer of the Year and a second-team All-American, Bowers set Georgia all-time tight end records for receiving yards (791) and touchdowns (11), and he enters the College Football Playoff needing three catches to set the receptions record. Bowers had a career-high 10 catches in the SEC Championship Game and recorded his fourth game with more than 100 yards receiving.

Chris Doering on Brock Bowers: “The tight end position has been something that has been a way to create a mismatch at the NFL level for 10 plus years. It’s now creeping into the college ranks and they can do it all, hands on the ground, the ability to run block, run routes to create matchup issues among the linebackers and safety’s. Brock definitely tasks opposing defensive coordinators with figuring out how to defend him.”

DE Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State: The Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year tied for seventh in the nation with 11.5 sacks for an Oklahoma State team that led the Big 12 and finished eighth in the nation in scoring defense. Oliver came through with two sacks in the Cowboys’ win over Oklahoma, and two more in the Big 12 Championship Game against Baylor.

Chris Doering on Collin Oliver: “You talk to defensive coordinators and they’re looking for a game-wrecker guy who can impact the opposing offense and their quarterback’s passing game. Oliver is that game wrecker and is a large part of Oklahoma State’s resurgence to one of the top defensive units in the country.”

QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State: The Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year currently has the best Ohio State single-season mark for passing efficiency (182.2), completion percentage (70.9) and passing yards per game (351.1). The Buckeyes led the nation in total offense and scoring offense with Stroud under center, and Stroud was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien national quarterback of the year award.

Chris Doering on CJ Stroud: “The quarterback position at Ohio State came with a lot of expectations and competition heading into the season. They were not sure who was going to start, let alone how much success that player would have. Stroud took this offense and the opportunity and ran with it. He served as great leader for the Ohio State Buckeyes.”

ALL-TIME FWAA FIRST-YEAR COACHES OF THE YEAR

2002 Tyrone Willingham, Notre Dame2012 Urban Meyer, Ohio State
2003 Steve Kragthorpe, Tulsa2013 Gus Malzahn, Auburn
2004 Mike Price, UTEP2014 Bryan Harsin, Boise State
2005 Steve Spurrier, South Carolina2015 Tom Herman, Houston
2006 Chris Petersen, Boise State2016 Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech; Clay Helton, USC
2007 Jeff Jagodzinski, Boston College2017 Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma
2008 Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech2018 Josh Heupel, UCF
2009 Chip Kelly, Oregon2019 Ryan Day, Ohio State
2010 Jimbo Fisher, Florida State2020 Karl Dorrell, Colorado
2011 Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia 

ALL-TIME FWAA FRESHMAN PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

2018 Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson2020 Will Anderson Jr., LB, Alabama
2019 Kenny Gainwell, RB, Memphis 

This will be the 21st straight season in which the FWAA has named a Freshman of the Year and the 20th consecutive year for the First Year Coach Award, although the first time with a namesake for the award, Steve Spurrier. The winner of each award will be announced in January 2022.

Spurrier, along with former player Chris Doering of Chris Doering Mortgage, is planning a February dinner to honor the winners. The site of the dinner in the state of Florida will be announced at a future time.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

Chris Doering Mortgage, based in Gainesville, Fla., was established in April 2007 as a residential lending company providing mortgage products including conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loans. The branch is a division of MortgageAdvisors.com – 3940 NW 16th Blvd., Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32605 – NMLS 70168/1937321. FHA Lender ID 2631500094. Chris Doering Mortgage is committed to skillfully and ethically delivering the highest quality customer service throughout the mortgage process, with a team of professionals that strive to exceed the expectations of clients and business partners while continually educating and adapting to the changing needs of the industry. For more information, visit ChrisDoeringMortgage.com.

Cincinnati’s Fickell wins 2021 FWAA-Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

DALLAS – Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell has taken the Bearcats to unmatched feats this season, qualifying for the College Football Playoff as the nation’s only undefeated team (13-0) and the first so-called ‘Group of 5’ program to do so while winning a second straight American Athletic Conference championship. For those achievements, Fickell has been named the recipient of the 2021 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award by the Football Writers Association of America and the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Fickell is a first-time winner of the Eddie Robinson Award in his second straight season as a finalist. He is Cincinnati’s first winner of the award as well and the second coach from the American Athletic Conference to win the honor. He was selected from voting by the entire FWAA membership from a record field of 12 other finalists from all 10 FBS conferences and independent programs. Then-head coach Brian Kelly was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award at Cincinnati in 2009.

The other finalists were Blake Anderson of Utah State, Dave Aranda of Baylor, Thomas Hammock of NIU, Jim Harbaugh of Michigan, Billy Napier of Louisiana, Pat Narduzzi of Pitt, Nick Saban of Alabama, Kalani Sitake of BYU, Kirby Smart of Georgia, Jeff Traylor of UTSA, Mel Tucker of Michigan State, and Kyle Whittingham of Utah.

Fickell will receive the iconic bust of the late Eddie Robinson, a College Football Hall of Fame coach at Grambling State University for 55 years and winner of 408 career games, at a Jan. 8, 2022, reception in Indianapolis prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Luke Fickell

Prior to that, Fickell’s No. 4 Bearcats will face top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 31 for a berth in the national championship game.

“On behalf of the Sugar Bowl Committee, I want to congratulate Luke Fickell on an outstanding season,” said Ralph Capitelli, the President of the Sugar Bowl Committee. “His accomplishments speak for themselves – the only undefeated team in the country, a conference championship and Cincinnati’s first trip to the College Football Playoff. More importantly, he’s conducted himself with class and demonstrated great sportsmanship throughout his career. He’s truly deserving of an award named for Louisiana’s own Coach Robinson.”

“The Eddie Robinson Family congratulates Luke Fickell and the University of Cincinnati football program on their historic 2021 season, and especially for winning this year’s ‘Eddie’ Award,” said Eddie Robinson III, coach Eddie Robinson’s grandson.

In a season of anticipation to see if the Bearcats could duplicate their banner 2020 results, Fickell led Cincinnati to a 13-0 mark as it heads into the CFP Semifinals headlined by a win at No. 5 Notre Dame that cemented the Bearcats’ place among the national title contenders. Cincinnati then maintained that standard as one of only two teams that list in the Top 10 in the FBS in scoring offense (8th at 39.2 ppg) and scoring defense (t-4th at 16.1) which aided another undefeated run through the American Athletic Conference with 12 All-AAC first-team selections.

Fickell is in his fifth season at Cincinnati and won the AAC’s Coach of the Year this season for a third time within the last four years. He is 47-14 at Cincinnati, including a 43-6 mark since the start of the 2018 season. Only a final-seconds loss to Georgia in last season’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl kept Cincinnati from back-to-back undefeated seasons going into this year’s postseason.

“I’m truly honored to receive this award. To be mentioned with one of the all-time greats in Eddie Robinson, who did so much for this profession, is humbling,” Fickell said. “I got into coaching because of the impact my coaches had on me when I was growing up, and my goal is to have a positive impact on my players. Any awards we receive are a credit to the success of our team as a whole and the hard work put in by all of our student-athletes.”

“It’s quite fitting that Cincinnati’s historic season is decorated with an honor for the coach who guided them through it,” said FWAA president Heather Dinich, a senior writer for ESPN.com. “To finish with a perfect 13-0 record speaks volumes about the program, the buy-in, and the discipline it takes to get there – and it all starts at the top. Congratulations to Luke Fickell.”

Fickell has guided Cincinnati to the highest rankings in school history as well. UC has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the AP and Coaches’ Polls earlier this fall and its current No. 4 ranking in the College Football Playoff Rankings is the highest ever by a non-Power 5 school.

The Eddie Robinson Award is the second of two FWAA postseason honors won by Cincinnati this season. Standout cornerback Ahmad Gardner became Cincinnati’s first two-time FWAA All-American this season with only UC’s sixth all-time All-America honor. The AAC’s only other Eddie Robinson Award winner was UCF’s then-head coach Scott Frost in 2017.

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. Beginning in 1997, the FWAA Coach of the Year Award has been named in honor of the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

Robinson, who passed away in 2007, won 70.7 percent of his games during his illustrious career. Robinson’s teams won or tied for 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships after joining the league in 1959. His Tigers won nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners in its 87-year history. The 88th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic is scheduled to be played on Jan. 1, 2022 between Baylor and Ole Miss. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

2021 Eddie Robinson Award
• Thirteen finalists named for 2021 Eddie Robinson Award
• Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award | All-time winners

Utah Utes win 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. –The Utah Utes football team is the 20th annual recipient of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Utah won its first Pac-12 title in a season that has been defined by both tragedy and triumph, as the program has lost two of its players, Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, since the end of the 2020 season.

Both players wore the No. 22 jersey, which the program has retired. The message throughout the Utes has been to live the way Jordan and Lowe did, and to be 22 percent better every day.

Utah is the third team to be honored as the Courage Award winner, joining the 2005 Tulane and 2009 UConn teams.

“We always tell our guys that adversity will hit at some point, but what matters most is how we respond to it,” Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham said. “This team has been faced with more adversity than we ever thought possible, and watching our players overcome it and respond to it the way they have has been incredible. The level of unity and love this team has for one another is something special. They define courage and we are proud to coach them.”

In 2020, Jordan led all freshmen nationally in rushing yards per game (119.4) and was named the Pac-12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year. He tragically died on Dec. 26, 2020. Lowe, a good friend of Jordan’s who had attended West Mesquite High School in Texas with him, was given the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship ahead of this season. Lowe also changed his jersey number from No. 2 to No. 22.

Lowe played in 20 career games and became Utah’s backup nickelback this season. But he, too, lost his life on Sept. 26, 2021 — nine months to the day of his friend and teammate’s death. Utah has created the Aaron Lowe Memorial Scholarship in Lowe’s honor.

Utah retired the No. 22 jersey during an Oct. 30 game against UCLA, making it the first retired number in school history. On that same night, the program unveiled a video honoring Jordan and Lowe that now plays at Rice-Eccles Stadium between the third and fourth quarters. The video has come to affectionately be known as a “moment of loudness,” as Whittingham encourages fans to live the way Jordan and Lowe did.

The Utes had entered that Oct. 30 matchup against the Bruins at 4-3. They won that game, 44-24, to earn sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South. And they have not looked back since.

Utah has won six straight games and now sits at 10-3 overall and No. 11 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Two of those victories during this winning streak came in dominant fashion over a higher-ranked Oregon team — a 38-7 rout in Salt Lake City on Nov. 20, then a 38-10 victory in a rematch 13 days later in the Pac-12 Championship Game in Las Vegas.

“Every year, we are privileged to help share the stories of so many remarkable people and programs throughout the college football season,” former FWAA President Matt Fortuna said. “Watching this year’s Utah team was particularly moving. The way the Utes have been able to push forward and find tremendous success on the field, while honoring Ty and Aaron every step of the way, shows that they have never lost sight of life’s bigger picture.”

Utah will close its season against No. 6 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, marking the Utes’ first appearance in “The Granddaddy of Them All.”

“This is the 20th year that the FWAA has awarded the Courage Award, and it’s hard to think of a more appropriate representative than this year’s Utah team,” Fortuna said. “We would like to thank the Orange Bowl for their 17 years of sponsorship.”

Amid Utah’s confetti-filled celebration after winning the Pac-12 title, a member of the team’s traveling party placed a red “Pac-12 Champions” t-shirt on the 22 yard line at Allegiant Stadium, in honor of Jordan and Lowe.

Players spoke adamantly after the game about how much it meant to win the conference title for Jordan and Lowe.

The entire Utah football program has embodied what the Courage Award is all about,” Orange Bowl Committee President and Chair Jack Seiler said.“Through their tributes to their fallen brothers, and through their remarkable play on the field, the Utes have simply been inspiring to so many around college football. They have represented the very best of this great game. We are excited to honor them on December 31.”

The Courage Award was first presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. A select group of writers from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship. The winner of the award will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation.

Previous winners of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award are Arkansas State analyst Alex Charlton (2020), Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson (2019), SUNY Cortland linebacker Kyle Richard (2018), Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon (2017), Pitt running back James Conner (2016), Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton (2015), Duke offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson (2014), San Jose State defensive lineman Anthony Larceval (2013), Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), Tulsa’s Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy’s Zerbin Singleton (2007), Clemson’s Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis’ Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State’s Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo’s William Bratton (2002).

###

About Orange Bowl

Orange Bowl is a 380-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars through its Orange Bowl Cares program: Youth Sports, Education, Community Engagement and Legacy Programs. Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31, 2021. For more information on the 2021 Orange Bowl events, including promotional inquiries and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org or follow @OrangeBowl on social media.

About FWAA

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

2021 FWAA All-America team unveiled

DALLAS – The 2021 Football Writers Association of America All-America Team, presented in partnership with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, is headlined by seven first-teamers from the four teams competing in the College Football Playoff, nine repeat All-Americans, six first-teamers from both the Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences, six explosive wide receivers, a sensational freshman running back and a record-setting punter. There are 23 schools represented from nine Football Bowl Subdivision conferences on the first team and 37 different schools are represented on the complete 54-man team.

“The partnership between the FWAA and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is one we take a lot of pride in,” said Bry Patton, Chairman, Cotton Bowl Athletic Association and Cotton Bowl Foundation. “We’re honored to play a small role in celebrating the on-field accolades these student-athletes achieved this season.”

“The FWAA is proud to partner with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic to highlight these amazing athletes, but it’s never an easy choice to whittle down the field,” said FWAA president Heather Dinich, a senior writer for ESPN.com. “What makes it so difficult is that there’s always – always – more than one deserving player at each position. This year’s combined team, though, reflects dominant seasons by both the Big Ten and the SEC, along with the Group of Five’s historic season, as a record 12 players were included.”

Alabama, the top seed in the College Football Playoff, has first-team selections and leads all schools with four on the combined team. Linebacker Will Anderson Jr., offensive lineman Evan Neal and quarterback Bryce Young made the first team with kick returner Jameson Williams on the second team. Anderson won the FWAA’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy this season, Neal is the latest Crimson Tide standout All-American on its offensive front and Young, the winner of the Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Tuesday night, surged late with a dramatic comeback against Auburn and a record-setting performance in the SEC Championship Game. No one has averaged more yards per touch (22.6) than Williams this season, who is also a standout wide receiver.

The defensive secondary has two returning first-team All-Americans in Ahmad Gardner of Cincinnati and Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame. Gardner is the first two-time FWAA All-American in Cincinnati history and Hamilton is the Irish’s first two-time FWAA All-American in 16 seasons (wide receiver Jeff Samardzija in 2005-06). Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, another two-time selection, moves to the first team after a second-team nod last year. Also from the secondary are App State defensive back Steven Jones Jr., the Mountaineers’ first All-American at the FBS level, and Jalen Pitre of Baylor, a second defensive first-teamer for the Bears of the last three seasons.

The four defensive linemen, collectively, may be the best group in the history of the team. Jordan Davis of Georgia, the Outland Trophy and Bednarik Award winner on the nation’s top defense, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, along with Thibodeaux and Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV, the Big 12’s Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year with 11.5 sacks, make up a formidable front. Nakobe Dean, the Butkus Award winner at Georgia, and Devin Lloyd of Utah join Anderson as the first-team linebackers.

Back on offense, Doak Walker Award winner Kenneth Walker III of Michigan State has been the national leader in rushing for most of the season and is on the first team along with Syracuse’s eye-catching freshman, Sean Tucker. Walker is second in the FBS in rushing at 1,636 yards (136.3 ypg) with 18 touchdowns. Tucker, a second-year player with freshman eligibility, set the Orange’s single-season rushing mark at 1,496 yards, fourth nationally, with nine 100-yard games and 14 total touchdowns. Tucker becomes the first freshman running back on the first team since Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma in 2004 and the first freshman at any skill position on the first team since Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in 2013.

The standout wide receivers gave a menagerie of options to the FWAA voters. Ohio State gained two of the six spots. For the first time, the FWAA selected three receivers on each of its two teams and thus 12-man offensive teams. Garrett Wilson becomes a two-time All-American here after a second-team spot last year and Chris Olave is on the second unit. Pitt’s Jordan Addison, the Biletnikoff Award winner, caught more touchdowns (17) than any other player, keying the Panthers’ offensive resurgence this season. He’s on the first team and his quarterback, Kenny Pickett, leads off the second team. Purdue’s David Bell produced highlight plays that prompted two of the biggest upsets this season and earned first-team honors. Along with Olave, second-team receivers Jerreth Sterns of WKU caught 39 more passes than any other player and was the national leader in receiving yards, and Drake London of USC averaged 135.5 yards per game with seven touchdowns despite playing in only eight games due to injury.

Tyler Linderbaum of Iowa, the winner of the Rimington Trophy, returns to become a two-time All-America center, this year on the first team after a second-team nod in 2020. Ohio State lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere was the leader at the front of the nation’s top offensive team. Kentucky tackle Darian Kinnard led one of the four Joe Moore Award finalist units and Ikem Ekwonu is N.C. State’s second first-team lineman of the past four seasons.

Iowa was one of three schools (along with Georgia and Ohio State) to have three All-Americans. The Hawkeyes have linebacker Jack Campbell and defensive back Riley Moss on the second team and Georgia added offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer to the second team. Texas A&M and Iowa State have repeat members on the second team after first-team spots last year. The Aggies have players on both the second-team offensive (Kenyon Green) and defensive (DeMarvin Leal) lines, and running back Breece Hall gives Iowa State a pair of All-Americans for a second consecutive season.

Also from the second team, defensive lineman Arnold Ebiketie and defensive back Jaquan Brisker give Penn State a pair of FWAA All-Americans in the same season for the first time since 2008. Rounding out the eight schools that had a pair of honorees is punt return phenom Britain Covey at Utah, Oregon with defensive back Verone McKinley III and Baylor with offensive lineman Jacob Gall. Oklahoma State has its first defensive All-American since 2013 with linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez alongside Leo Chenal of Wisconsin on the second team. Offensive linemen Zach Tom of Wake Forest and Olusegun Oluwatimi of Virginia, along with defensive lineman Jermaine Johnson II of Florida State, were three of the ACC’s seven selections, third-best among the conferences.

Rutgers has its first FWAA All-America selection since 2006 with punter Adam Korsak on the second team as well as Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis, the Tigers’ first All-American on special teams since Jeremy Maclin in 2007.

The so-called Group of Five schools put a record 12 players on the combined team – 22 percent of the total picks – and seven on the first team including all four special teams spots and both tight ends. Houston’s Marcus Jones, the Paul Hornung Award winner, repeats as the first-team punt returner and Sincere McCormick of UTSA repeats as a second-team All-America running back. Matt Araiza of San Diego State, currently the all-time leader in FBS history with a 51.4-yard season average, is the easy choice at punter following his selection as the Ray Guy Award winner. Colorado State tight end Trey McBride is the 20th-leading receiver nationally with 1,121 yards as the first-team selection and Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely on the second. McBride is the John Mackey Award winner.

Bowling Green’s field goal ace Nate Needham, 19 for 20 on field goal attempts, is the first-team kicker and USF’s Brian Battie, who had three kick return touchdowns, is the first-team kick returner and the only other freshman besides Tucker. One of the country’s interception leaders with five, second-team defensive back Ja’Quan McMillian is East Carolina’s first defensive All-American since 1991.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with 13 players on the combined teams from a spread of eight different schools, which also led all conferences. The SEC has 11 members from five different schools and the ACC had seven from six different schools. The Big 12 and Pac-12 had five members each, followed by the American Athletic (4), Mountain West (3), Conference USA and Sun Belt (2 each) and the Independents and Mid-American (1).

Many of the 2021 All-Americans had immediate impacts on their teams. Nearly one-fifth of the team – 10 of 54 players – were FWAA Freshman All-America selections earlier in their careers. Tops on that list is Anderson Jr., the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner and the 2020 FWAA Freshman Player of the Year, and Davis, who was on the 2018 FWAA Freshman All-America team. Six of the 10 – Bell, Ekwonu, Neal, Thibodeaux, Gardner and Hamilton – are first-teamers on the 2021 list. McCormick and McKinley are second-teamers.

Of the first-team members’ home states, California led the way with four followed by Florida and North Carolina with three each. On the complete 1st-2nd teams, California and Texas tied with seven each followed by Maryland and North Carolina with four and Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Iowa with three each.

The FWAA’s All-America Committee selected this 78th annual team based on nominations from the entire membership. This is the ninth season in the modern era (post-1950) that the FWAA has named a second team. For a fifth consecutive year, the FWAA has selected a 54-man full team, but the additional wide receivers were selected in lieu of recognizing all-purpose players this season.

2021 FWAA ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QBBryce Young, Alabama6-0194So.Pasadena, Cailf.
RBSean Tucker, Syracuse5-10210Fr.Owings Mills, Md.
RBKenneth Walker III, Michigan State5-10210Jr.Arlington, Tenn.
WRJordan Addison, Pitt6-0175So.Frederick, Md.
WRDavid Bell, Purdue6-2205Jr.Indianapolis, Ind.
WRGarrett Wilson, Ohio State6-0192Jr.Austin, Texas
TETrey McBride, Colorado State6-4260Sr.Fort Morgan, Colo.
OLIkem Ekwonu, N.C. State6-4320So.Charlotte, N.C.
OLDarian Kinnard, Kentucky6-5338Sr.Knoxville, Tenn.
OLEvan Neal, Alabama6-7350Jr.Okeechobee, Fla.
OLNicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State6-5315Jr.Tampa, Fla.
CTyler Linderbaum, Iowa6-3290Jr.Solon, Iowa

DEFENSE

DLJordan Davis, Georgia6-6340Sr.Charlotte, N.C.
DLAidan Hutchinson, Michigan6-6265Sr.Plymouth, Mich.
DLWill McDonald IV, Iowa State6-4245Jr.Pewaukee, Wis.
DLKayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon6-5258So.Los Angeles, Calif.
LBWill Anderson Jr., Alabama6-4243So.Hampton, Ga.
LBNakobe Dean, Georgia6-0225Jr.Horn Lake, Miss.
LBDevin Lloyd, Utah6-3235Jr.Chula Vista, Calif.
DBAhmad Gardner, Cincinnati6-3200Jr.Detroit, Mich.
DBKyle Hamilton, Notre Dame6-4220Jr.Atlanta, Ga.
DBSteven Jones Jr., App State5-10180Sr.Rockingham, N.C.
DBJalen Pitre, Baylor6-0197Sr.Stafford, Texas

SPECIALISTS

KNate Needham, Bowling Green6-1195Sr.Chesterton, Ind.
PMatt Araiza, San Diego State6-2200Jr.San Diego, Calif.
KRBrian Battie, USF5-8165Fr.Sarasota, Fla.
PRMarcus Jones, Houston5-8185Sr.Enterprise, Ala

FIRST TEAM ONLY BREAKDOWN

By School (23): Alabama 3; Georgia 2, Ohio State 2; App State, Baylor, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Houston, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pitt, Purdue, San Diego State, Syracuse, USF, Utah 1.

By Conference (9): Big Ten 6, SEC 6, ACC 3, American Athletic 3, Big 12 2, Mountain West 2, Pac-12 2, Independents 1, Mid-American 1, Sun Belt 1.

By Class: Juniors 12, Seniors 8, Sophomores 5, Freshmen 2.

By Home State (14): California 4, Florida 3, North Carolina 3, Georgia 2, Indiana 2, Maryland 2, Michigan 2, Tennessee 2, Texas 2, Alabama 1, Colorado 1, Iowa 1, Mississippi 1, Wisconsin 1.

2021 FWAA ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM

Offense: QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt; RB Breece Hall, Iowa State; RB Sincere McCormick, UTSA; WR Drake London, USC; WR Chris Olave, Ohio State; WR Jerreth Sterns, WKU; TE Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina; OL Jacob Gall, Baylor; OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M; OL Jamaree Salyer, Georgia; OL Zach Tom, Wake Forest; C Olusegun Oluwatimi, Virginia.

Defense: DL Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State; DL Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State; DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M; DL Cameron Thomas, San Diego State; LB Jack Campbell, Iowa; LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin; LB Malcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma State; DB Jaquan Brisker, Penn State; DB Verone McKinley III, Oregon; DB Ja’Quan McMillian, East Carolina; DB Riley Moss, Iowa.

Specialists: K Harrison Mevis, Missouri; P Adam Korsak, Rutgers; KR Jameson Williams, Alabama; PR Britain Covey, Utah.

COMBINED FIRST AND SECOND TEAM BREAKDOWN

By School: Alabama 4; Georgia 3, Iowa 3, Ohio State 3; Baylor 2, Iowa State 2, Oregon 2, Penn State 2, Pitt 2, San Diego State 2, Texas A&M 2, Utah 2; App State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Colorado State, East Carolina, Florida State, Houston, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, USC, USF, UTSA, Virginia, Wake Forest, WKU, Wisconsin 1.

By Conference (10): Big Ten 13, SEC 11, ACC 7, Big 12 5, Pac-12 5, American Athletic 4, Mountain West 3, Conference USA 2, Sun Belt 2, Independents 1, Mid-American 1.

By Class: Juniors 24, Seniors/Graduates 20, Sophomores 8, Freshmen 2.

By Home State (24): California 7, Texas 7, Maryland 4, North Carolina 4, Florida 3, Georgia 3, Indiana 3, Iowa 3, Michigan 2, Tennessee 2, Wisconsin 2, Alabama 1, Colorado 1, Kansas 1, Louisiana 1, Massachusetts 1, Minnesota 1, Mississippi 1, Missouri 1, New Jersey 1, Ohio 1, Oklahoma 1, Pennsylvania 1, Utah 1. (Australia 1).

The FWAA All-America Team was first selected in 1944, three years after the organization was formed. The FWAA’s inaugural team included Army’s Heisman Trophy tandem of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and Georgia Tech’s Frank Broyles, who later became Arkansas’ head football coach and athletic director.

Since 1945, the FWAA All-America Team has been among the five teams used to formulate the NCAA’s annual consensus All-America team, which will be announced later this week. Since the 2002 season, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), The Associated Press, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation have joined the FWAA as the five designated selectors by the NCAA.

Over the years, the FWAA team has highlighted all the game’s great players in several media forums. From 1946-70, LOOK magazine published the FWAA team and brought players and selected writers to New York City for a celebration. During that 25-year period, the FWAA team was introduced on national television shows by such noted hosts as Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Perry Como.

After LOOK folded, the FWAA started a long association with NCAA Films (later known as NCAA Productions), which produced a 30-minute television program. The team was part of ABC-TV’s 1981 College Football Series. From 1983-90, the team was introduced on either ABC or ESPN. In 2002 and ‘03, the All-America team was honored with a banquet at the Citrus Bowl.

The same bowl also was a sponsor when the team was featured on ABC and ESPN from different locations on Disney properties from 2004-07. From 2008-10, the team had been the subject of a one-hour ESPN special.

For seven decades the FWAA has selected an All-America team with the help of its members and an All-America Committee, which represents all the regions in the country. From that All-America team, the FWAA also selects the Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (best defensive player).

Some of the true greats of the writing profession have helped to select this team over the years: Grantland Rice, Bert McGrane, Blackie Sherrod, Furman Bisher, Pat Harmon, Fred Russell, Edwin Pope, Murray Olderman, Paul Zimmerman – and the list goes on and on. The FWAA All-America team is steeped in tradition and history and is selected by a writers’ group with those same attributes.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic will play host to a College Football Playoff semifinal when No. 4 Cincinnati takes on No. 1 Alabama at AT&T Stadium on Friday, Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The 86th Goodyear Cotton Bowl is the 13th Classic to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the third national semifinal.

2021 FWAA All-America Committee: Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com; Evan Barnes, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Travis L. Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle; Ken Capps, TexasFootball.com; Brett Ciancia, Pick Six Previews; Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News; Scott Dochterman, The Athletic; Scott Farrell, collegepressbox; Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports; John Hoover, SI.com; Shehan Jeyarajah, CBS Sports; Nate Mink, Syracuse Post-Standard; Tony Siracusa, Last Word on College Football; Phil Steele, Phil Steele Publications; David Ubben, The Athletic; Chris Vannini, The Athletic; John Wagner, Toledo Blade.

Related links:
• Printable roster (.pdf)
• All-Time FWAA All-America Teams (.pdf)
• Download the FWAA All-America Team logos and social media graphics

The FWAA All-America Team was first selected in 1944, three years after the organization was formed. The FWAA’s inaugural team included Army’s Heisman Trophy tandem of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and Georgia Tech’s Frank Broyles, who later became Arkansas’ head football coach and athletic director.

Since 1945, the FWAA All-America Team has been among the five teams used to formulate the NCAA’s annual consensus All-America team, which will be announced later this week. Since the 2002 season, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), The Associated Press, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation have joined the FWAA as the five designated selectors by the NCAA.

Over the years, the FWAA team has highlighted all the game’s great players in several media forums. From 1946-70, LOOK magazine published the FWAA team and brought players and selected writers to New York City for a celebration. During that 25-year period, the FWAA team was introduced on national television shows by such noted hosts as Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Perry Como.

After LOOK folded, the FWAA started a long association with NCAA Films (later known as NCAA Productions), which produced a 30-minute television program. The team was part of ABC-TV’s 1981 College Football Series. From 1983-90, the team was introduced on either ABC or ESPN. In 2002 and ‘03, the All-America team was honored with a banquet at the Citrus Bowl.

The same bowl also was a sponsor when the team was featured on ABC and ESPN from different locations on Disney properties from 2004-07. From 2008-10, the team had been the subject of a one-hour ESPN special.

For seven decades the FWAA has selected an All-America team with the help of its members and an All-America Committee, which represents all the regions in the country. From that All-America team, the FWAA also selects the Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (best defensive player).

Some of the true greats of the writing profession have helped to select this team over the years: Grantland Rice, Bert McGrane, Blackie Sherrod, Furman Bisher, Pat Harmon, Fred Russell, Edwin Pope, Murray Olderman, Paul Zimmerman – and the list goes on and on. The FWAA All-America team is steeped in tradition and history and is selected by a writers’ group with those same attributes.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic will play host to a College Football Playoff semifinal when No. 4 Cincinnati takes on No. 1 Alabama at AT&T Stadium on Friday, Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The 86th Goodyear Cotton Bowl is the 13th Classic to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the third national semifinal.

2021 FWAA All-America Committee: Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com; Evan Barnes, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Travis L. Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle; Ken Capps, TexasFootball.com; Brett Ciancia, Pick Six Previews; Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News; Scott Dochterman, The Athletic; Scott Farrell, collegepressbox; Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports; John Hoover, SI.com; Shehan Jeyarajah, CBS Sports; Nate Mink, Syracuse Post-Standard; Tony Siracusa, Last Word on College Football; Phil Steele, Phil Steele Publications; David Ubben, The Athletic; Chris Vannini, The Athletic; John Wagner, Toledo Blade.

Georgia’s Davis wins 76th Outland Trophy

DALLAS – Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis was named the recipient of the 76th Outland Trophy on Thursday night during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN. The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense and Davis is the second Georgia lineman to earn the award.

Davis will be honored as the recipient of the 2021 Outland Trophy on Wed., Jan. 12 in Omaha at a dinner hosted by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee and sponsored by Werner Enterprises.

A 6-6, 340-pound senior from Charlotte, N.C., Davis was selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) from three finalists that also included N.C. State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. Davis is the third Outland Trophy winner from the defensive side of the ball in last five seasons, following defensive tackles Ed Oliver of Houston in 2017 and Quinnen Williams of Alabama in 2018.

Each of the Bulldogs’ Outland Trophy prior honorees have been defensive tackles. Georgia’s lone winner was Bill Stanfill in 1968 and defensive tackle Andrew Thomas was a semifinalist in 2019.

Davis is a commanding presence in the middle of the Georgia defensive line, constantly double-teamed while closing interior running lanes between the ends. His presence taking away the defensive middle was a key in the Bulldogs leading the nation in scoring defense giving up only 9.5 points per game as the only program in single-digits and 5.5 points ahead of the next best unit. Georgia was also second in total defense (254.3 yards per game), third in rushing defense (81.7 ypg) and third in passing defense (172.6 ypg).

During Georgia’s 12-0 start and consensus No. 1 ranking for the bulk of the 2021 season, Davis posted 24 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks and even included a short rushing touchdown. He had four tackles in Georgia’s loss to Alabama in last week’s SEC Championship Game, giving him 28 total tackles for the season.

Davis was also a finalist for the FWAA’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy and is a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, both recognizing the national defensive player of the year.

The Bulldogs, seeded third, take on No. 2 Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinals on Dec. 31 in the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football award behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.
Related links:
Preseason Watch List | Semifinalists
All-time Outland Trophy winners, candidates
• Download 75th Anniversary Outland Trophy logo: Primary (.jpg) | Dark background (.jpg) | Illustrator (.ai)

13 finalists named for 2021 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

DALLAS – The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced a record 13 finalists for the 2021 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Tuesday. Among the finalists are one former winner, three returning finalists from 2020, all four coaches competing in this season’s College Football Playoff, as well as four other coaches with teams playing in New Year’s Six Bowl games. Ten of the finalists led their teams to conference championships.

In alphabetical order the finalists are: Blake Anderson, Utah State; Dave Aranda, Baylor; Luke Fickell, Cincinnati; Thomas Hammock, NIU; Jim Harbaugh, Michigan; Billy Napier, Louisiana; Pat Narduzzi, Pitt; Nick Saban, Alabama; Kalani Sitake, BYU; Kirby Smart, Georgia; Jeff Traylor, UTSA; Mel Tucker, Michigan State; and Kyle Whittingham, Utah.

Saban is the dean of the 13 finalists as a two-time winner and now eight-time finalist. Fickell, who faces Saban in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in a College Football Playoff semifinal, and Sitake were finalists last season. Harbaugh faces Smart in the other national semifinal, at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31. Narduzzi takes on Tucker in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Hammock faces last year’s Eddie Robinson Award winner, Jamey Chadwell of Coastal Carolina, in the Tailgreeter Cure Bowl. Aranda will lead his Baylor team into New Orleans to face Ole Miss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is honored to remember a Louisiana legend by sponsoring the FWAA Coach of the Year Award named after Coach Robinson,” said Ralph Capitelli, Sugar Bowl Committee President. “In addition, we have the opportunity to give recognition to the best college coaches in the nation each year. We look forward to presenting the trophy to the winner in Indianapolis next month.”

The 13 finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership today. The 2021 recipient will be announced on Mon., Dec. 20. The official presentation will be at a reception Sat., Jan. 8, in Indianapolis prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

“We have a well-balanced group of finalists, geographically positioned across the country and coaches from all sizes of schools,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “Congratulations to all of the finalists for the great seasons they have had during the 2021 season.”

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award was named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons, in 1997.

A closer look at the 2021 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

Blake Anderson, Utah State: Anderson, a first-time finalist, guided Utah State (10-3) to one of the best turnarounds in the nation in 2021 (plus-nine wins thus far) with the Mountain West Conference title in tow following a 1-5 record in 2020. Utah State faces Oregon State in the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl presented by Stifel on Dec. 18. Picked to finish fifth in the Mountain Division in the preseason, the Aggies recorded 10 wins for just the fourth time in school history and became the first FBS team since 2013 to post a 7-0 road record. Anderson is the only first-year head coach out of 19 in the FBS to win 10 games. He is Utah State’s second all-time finalist and first since Gary Andersen in 2012.

Dave Aranda, Baylor: In Aranda’s second year the Bears (11-2) patiently pushed their way to the Big 12 title, tying for the country’s second-best turnaround with nine more wins following a 2-7 season in 2020 and will now face Ole Miss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2022. Picked eighth by media in the preseason, Baylor relied on Aranda’s strength – defense – as the Bears held opponents 11.6 points below their averages. A year after being last in rushing, the Big 12 rushing leaders are one of six teams with three wins over ranked teams this season. Aranda is the second finalist in the last three seasons for Baylor (Matt Rhule, 2019). Grant Teaff is the school’s only previous winner from 1974.

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati: Fickell returns as a finalist from 2020 after leading the Bearcats (13-0) to an historic College Football Playoff bid, a first for a so-called Group of 5 school. The American Athletic Conference champions are the No. 4 playoff seed and one of two teams to rank in the top 10 nationally in both scoring offense (8th, 39.2 ppg) and scoring defense (t-4th, 16.1). Cincinnati, 22-1 the past two seasons, has set school records for points (510) and touchdowns (70) and faces Alabama in the CFP semifinals at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31. Cincinnati, which had Brian Kelly as a finalist in 2009, has never had an Eddie Robinson Award winner.

Thomas Hammock, Northern Illinois: Hammock and the Huskies (9-4) won the Mid-American Conference with a ‘worst-to-first’ season with another nine-game improvement following an 0-6 record in 2020. NIU won seven games by one score or less – four of them by two points or less – before easing past Kent State 41-23 last week for their fifth MAC title of the last 11 seasons. The nine wins are NIU’s most since 2014 as they head into the Tailgreeter Cure Bowl to face Coastal Carolina. Hammock is NIU’s second all-time finalist, joining Dave Doeren in 2012.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: Harbaugh guided the Wolverines (12-1) to their first Big Ten Championship Game with a resounding 42-27 win over then-No. 2 Ohio State, then earned Michigan its 43rd Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoff with a runaway 42-3 win over Iowa in the title game. Michigan has the nation’s top turnaround thus far with 10 additional wins heading into the Capital One Orange Bowl CFP semifinal following a 2-4 record in 2020. The Wolverines returned to the top 10 in the national polls for the first time since late 2019 at midseason and have remained in the top 10 for 10 consecutive weeks. Harbaugh is Michigan’s first finalist since 2011. Bo Schembechler won Michigan’s only FWAA Coach of the Year award in 1969.

Billy Napier, Louisiana: Napier, a first-time finalist and the first in Louisiana’s history, guided the Ragin’ Cajuns (12-1) to a school-record 12th straight win and a Sun Belt Conference championship last week only days after accepting the head coaching position at Florida. Napier was named SBC Coach of the Year as Louisiana broke its 54-year-old win-streak record and won the SBC’s West Division for a fourth consecutive season behind a defense that gives up only 18.7 points per game (13th in FBS). Louisiana faces Marshall in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 18.

Pat Narduzzi, Pitt: Narduzzi led the Panthers (11-2) to their first 10-win season since 1981 and their first Atlantic Coast Conference title since joining the league in 2013 with a 45-21 win over Wake Forest in last week’s ACC title game. Narduzzi sparked one of the country’s top passing combos with All-America candidates Kenny Pickett (ACC and school-record 42 touchdown passes) throwing to Jordan Addison (national-best 17 touchdown receptions). Pitt faces Michigan State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 30. Narduzzi is Pitt’s first finalist since the award began naming finalists in 2010. Johnny Majors won the FWAA Coach of the Year Award at Pitt in 1976 and 1973.

Nick Saban, Alabama: The achievements run long on Saban’s ledger with the Eddie Robinson Award as the top-seeded Crimson Tide (12-1) prepare to face Cincinnati in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in the CFP semifinals Dec. 31. Alabama won the SEC Championship Game last week, blowing past the nation’s top defense and formerly top-ranked team, 41-24 over Georgia. Saban is a two-time winner (at Alabama in 2008, at LSU in 2003) and is one of Alabama’s two previous winners along with Gene Stallings in 1992. He is now an eight-time finalist, earning the designation in five of the last eight seasons.

Kalani Sitake, BYU: Sitake is a repeat finalist from 2020 following a season in which the Cougars (10-2) posted five wins over Pac-12 schools, including a 26-17 win over Pac-12 champion Utah, as well as wins over Mountain West Conference champion Utah State and Virginia. BYU running back Tyler Allgeier is tied for the national lead with 20 rushing touchdowns and the Cougars’ offense is ranked in the top 30 in 12 different categories. Sitake, also a finalist for entry into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame this year, is a former player under Lavell Edwards, who is BYU’s only previous Eddie Robinson winner from 1984.

Kirby Smart, Georgia: The Bulldogs (12-1) owned the No. 1 spot in the polls and the College Football Playoff rankings for most of the season prior to the SEC Championship Game. Smart still guides the nation’s top scoring defense giving up only 9.5 points per game as the No. 3-seed Bulldogs head into the CFP semifinals to face Michigan in Miami Gardens, Fla. Georgia, averaging 39.4 points (seventh nationally), is 4-1 against ranked teams including a pair of top-10 wins, and is only the fourth team in school history to finish the regular season undefeated. Smart was also a finalist in 2017 and Georgia’s third overall. Vince Dooley won the FWAA Coach of the Year Award in 1980.

Jeff Traylor, UTSA: Traylor took the Roadrunners (12-1) to new heights – their first C-USA West Division title, a win in their first Conference USA Championship Game (49-41 over WKU). UTSA had an 11-game win streak to start the season and has its winningest season yet heading into its Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl berth to face San Diego State. The Roadrunners also made their first appearance in the College Football Playoff and both national polls, topping out at 15th in the AP poll. Running back Sincere McCormick is having another All-America caliber season, rushing for 1,479 yards with 15 touchdowns. Traylor is a first-time finalist and the first in UTSA’s history.

Mel Tucker, Michigan State: The Spartans (10-2) were darlings of the Big Ten heading into November, posting an 8-0 start (following 2-5 in 2020) and competing for the Big Ten East Division title. Tucker rode the legs of Kenneth Walker III, the Big Ten Running Back of the Year with 1,636 yards to date and MSU’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2014, into the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl to face Pitt on Dec. 30. Tucker is MSU’s first finalist since 2015. Duffy Daugherty won the Spartans’ only FWAA Coach of the Year Award in 1965.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah: Whittingham, a finalist from the 2008 season, became Utah’s (10-3) all-time wins leader (143) while earning the Utes’ first Pac-12 Championship since joining the league in 2011 with its runaway win over Oregon. After a 1-2 start, Utah has won 9 of 10 games going into its first Rose Bowl appearance where it will take on Ohio State. Utah’s defense ranks fourth in the FBS in tackles for loss per game (7.6) and is 12th in team sacks (3.17). Whittingham, Utah’s only previous finalist, is preceded by Urban Meyer, the Utes’ only previous winner, from 2004.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners in its 87-year history. The 88th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic is scheduled to be played on Jan. 1, 2022 between Baylor and Ole Miss. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

2021 Eddie Robinson Award
• Thirteen finalists named for 2021 Eddie Robinson Award
• Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award | All-time winners

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. wins 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  – Will Anderson Jr., a dynamic playmaking linebacker for top-ranked Alabama and a constant nemesis in every opponents’ backfield as the nation’s sack and tackles-for-loss leader, has been named as the recipient of the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy by the Football Writers Association of America.

Anderson was selected from among two other finalists that also included Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis and Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. Anderson is only the second player at Alabama to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, joining defensive end Jonathan Allen in 2016. The Crimson Tide (12-1) have had Bronko Nagurski finalists in nine of the last 11 seasons, most recently nose guard Quinnen Williams in 2018.

The FWAA All-America Committee made the selection of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner as part of the 2021 FWAA All-America Team, which will be released on Friday. The official presentation of the trophy was made tonight at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet presented by LendingTree at the Charlotte Convention Center.

The 6-4, 243-pound sophomore from Hampton, Ga., is the primary cog in an Alabama defense that is fourth nationally in rushing defense, giving up 82.9 yards per game. Anderson is versatile in “affecting the quarterback,” a non-statistical term but a favorite of head coach Nick Saban when addressing the media. A force in the backfield, he leads the nation in sacks (15.5) and tackles for loss (32.5) and added a sack and two TFL’s in this past Saturday’s 41-24 win over previously top-ranked Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

Anderson has had at least one sack in 10 of 13 games and his 92 tackles (53 solo) are second on the team and include and at least one TFL in 12 of 13 games. He has been credited by the Alabama coaching staff with a team-high 38 quarterback pressures this season.

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr.

To put his season in finer perspective, Anderson was the 2020 FWAA National Freshman Player of the Year following a stellar season a year ago. But this year’s totals have boosted him to be on pace to reach record territory. Only one player at Alabama – College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas (1985-88) – has averaged more sacks and TFL numbers in his career. Thomas finished his Alabama career averaging 1.06 sacks per game (52 in 49 career games). Anderson, with 22.5 in 26 games, is currently at 0.87 sacks per game with at least one more to play in the College Football Playoff this season. But Anderson leads Thomas’ career TFL numbers currently averaging 1.65 per game (43 in 26 games) to Thomas’ 1.39 (or 68 in 49 games).

Anderson, with 3.5 more sacks, can tie Thomas for the No. 2 spot for single-season sacks (18) in the Alabama record book. His 32.5 TFL’s are already No. 2 behind Thomas’ 39 from the 1988 season.

Anderson was the Bronko Nagurski National Player of the Week on Oct. 16 following a four-sack game at Mississippi State, the most in a single game since Thomas did it in 1988. He earned the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week honor five times in 12 weeks and was named one of the Crimson Tide’s permanent captains and one of two defensive players of the year at its team banquet Sunday.

Davis, the Georgia defensive tackle who was a fellow Bronko Nagurski finalist and a finalist for three other postseason awards including the FWAA’s Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman, gave Anderson high praise in an interview last week while preparing for the SEC Championship Game.

“He’s a game wrecker,” Davis said. “Watching his film and just seeing him, he’s explosive. He’s definitely one of those guys you have to make sure to keep contained. It’s great to see him play.”

Top-ranked Alabama claimed the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff on Sunday and faces No. 4 seed Cincinnati in the semifinals at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Dec. 31 in Arlington, Texas.

Anderson is the fifth player from the SEC to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, following Josh Allen (LB, Kentucky, 2018), Jonathan Allen (DE, Alabama, 2016), Glenn Dorsey (DT, LSU, 2007) and Champ Bailey (DB, Georgia, 1998).

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1990, the club has raised and donated nearly $3 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

About LendingTree, Inc.
LendingTree is the nation’s leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search and choosing the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student refinances, credit cards, insurance and more. Through the My LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. My LendingTree proactively compares consumers’ credit accounts against offers on their network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. LendingTree’s purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life’s meaningful moments through choice, education and support.

Related links:
• Alabama’s Anderson wins 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy
• Preseason Watch List | Finalists
• Bronko Nagurski Trophy (All-Time Winners, Finalists and Players of the Week)
• Download the Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree logo: Primary (.jpg) | Primary (.eps)