As college football gets ready for the forthcoming holiday bowl season, it's also the time of year for recognition of the best individual performers, both on the field and on the sidelines, these past five months. The statement Big 12 teams made on the playing field this fall is highly visible as the finalists shake out for the major college awards, which kick off this Saturday in New York City with the 77th annual Heisman Trophy presentation.
Robert Griffin III, the talented junior quarterback from Baylor, heads the list of potential honorees from the Big 12 Conference as the college football recognizes the best of the best in its various award categories. In addition for being one of the five finalists for college football's highest individual honor, the Heisman Trophy, Griffin also is a finalist for the Walter Camp Award and the Davy O'Brien Award.
Griffin also is a finalist, along with Landry Jones of Oklahoma and Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State for the 2011 Manning Award. The trio is among 10 other finalist candidates for this annual honor, which was established to pay tribute to the football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only national award honoring quarterbacks that takes into account the candidates' bowl performances as well as their regular-season numbers.
Two former Big 12 quarterbacks have been recipients of the Manning Award, both from Texas: Vince Young in 2006 and Colt McCoy in 2010.
Others who are finalists for the Manning Award, which is in its eighth year, include Andrew Luck of Stanford, Case Keenum from Houston, Kellen Moore of Boise State Tyler Wilson from Arkansas, Kirk Cousins of Michigan State, Matt Barkley of USC and Russell Wilson from Wisconsin.
Finalists for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year have also been announced. Frank Alexander of Oklahoma is one of the six finalists for this award, which honors college football's best defensive end. Alexander is vying against Andre Branch of Clemson, Vinny Curry of Marshall, Whitney Mercilus from Illinois Sam Montgomery from LSU and Nick Perry of USC.
Alexander's accomplishments this season as one of the leaders on the OU defense include 51 tackles, 18 for loss; seven quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and an interception. He led the Big 12 with 8.5 sacks.
The winner of the Hendricks Award will be announced later today.
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