College football: Top players of 2022 win big awards and bring home the bacon

Bristol, Connecticut - December is here, and the holiday presents have come a bit early in college football, as its top athletes have been gifted shiny trophies and big honors.

2021 Heisman Winner Bryce Young of Alabama hit the Heisman pose after winning last year's award for the best player in college football. Who will win this year?
2021 Heisman Winner Bryce Young of Alabama hit the Heisman pose after winning last year's award for the best player in college football. Who will win this year?  © BRYAN BEDDER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

While the coveted Heisman Trophy won't be awarded until Saturday night, the College Football Awards rolled out its red carpet to honor 2022's best players on Thursday.

It was an evening that awarded linemen, specialists, skill positions, quarterbacks, coaches, and a few Player of the Year honors that may hint at what's to come this weekend.

From Tennessee's first ever Biletnikoff Award win to TCU taking home a trophy that's named after one of its own football icons, here are the big award winners for the 2022 season – except for the prestigious Heisman, of course.

Maxwell Award (Best Player): Caleb Williams, USC

Other finalists: Hendon Hooker (Tennessee), CJ Stroud (Ohio State)

This year, USC quarterback Caleb Williams threw for 4,075 yards, 37 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. He was also a threat on the ground, rushing for 367 yards and an additional 10 touchdowns.

Arguably the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, winning the Maxwell Award didn't come as a major surprise for the collegiate star.

He also won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and AP Player of the Year award.

Davey O’Brien Award (Best Quarterback): Max Duggan, TCU

Other finalists: CJ Stroud (Ohio State), Caleb Williams (USC)

In a loaded category stacked with the nation's top passers, Max Duggan of TCU became the first player from his school to receive the Davey O'Brien Award, named after the Horned Frogs' very own Davey O'Brien.

Duggan, also a Heisman finalist, has outplayed defenses all season, throwing for 3,321 yards, 30 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.

The history-making quarterback also rushed for 404 yards and six touchdown scores this season.

Chuck Bednarik Award (Best Defensive Player): Will Anderson Jr., Alabama

Other finalists: Ivan Pace Jr. (Cincinnati), Tuli Tuipulotu (USC)

No surprises here! Will Anderson Jr.'s monstrous defensive abilities have earned him practically every award you can win as a defensive player.

In addition to his national championship, the linebacker has won the Bednarik Award, the Bronco Nagurski Award (twice), the Lombardi Award, and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Anderson Jr. is projected to be a top five pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Doak Walker Award (Best Running Back): Bijan Robinson, Texas

Other finalists: Chase Brown (Illinois), Blake Corum (Michigan)

In all the Power Five conferences, Bijan Robinson stands strong as a leading rusher, without question.

As one of the Longhorns' top rushers of all-time, Robinson posted 1,580 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns on the ground this season. In the air, he caught for 314 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

This Doak winner will likely be coming to an NFL fantasy football lineup near you next season.

Biletnikoff Award (Best Wide Receiver): Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Other finalists: Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State), Xavier Hutchinson (Iowa State)

Jalin Hyatt has been a standout receiver all season long. Tied for the lead among all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) wide receivers in touchdowns with 15, the Volunteer has caught 67 catches for 1,267 receiving yards.

While he is set to reveal if he will play in his team's New Year's Six bowl game or opt out for the NFL Draft next week, for now he will enjoy his historical win as the first Biletnikoff Award recipient in Tennessee football history.

Rounding out the list of college football award winners on Thursday night are as follows:

  • Olusegun Oluwatimi (Michigan) won the Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy
  • Jack Campbell (Iowa) won the Butkus Award
  • Adam Korsak (Rutgers) won the Ray Guy Award
  • Brock Bowers (Georgia) won the John Mackey Award
  • Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (TCU) won the Jim Thorpe Award
  • Christopher Dunn (NC State) took home the Lou Groza Award

College football fans are on edge to see who will take home the big kahuna Heisman, and will only have to wait a little longer to find out.


More on College Football: