Nov. 25, 2013
Seminoles.com Managing Editor
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Four Florida State football players were officially named finalists for five different post-season awards Monday.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has been named one of three finalists for both the Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award (the former given to the nation’s best player and the latter to the top quarterback), and senior cornerback Lamarcus Joyner is one of three in contention for the Jim Thorpe Award given annually to the nation’s best defensive back.
Junior Nick O’Leary is one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award presented to the country’s best tight end and redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo is in the mix for the Lou Groza Award bestowed upon college football’s premier kicker.
Winston is in the midst of a record-breaking, Heisman-Trophy caliber season in his first year playing for the `Noles. Winston heads into Saturday’s rivalry game at Florida with a nation’s-best passer-rating of 194.5 and is one touchdown pass shy of tying Chris Weinke’s 2000 school record for most touchdown tosses in a single season (33). He already owns the Atlantic Coast Conference record for touchdowns thrown in a season by a freshman and is closing in on the conference’s rookie record for passing yardage.
Winston is joined by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron on the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien lists of finalists.
Joyner, who has already been named one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy given to the top defensive player in college football, is in contention for the Thorpe Award because he’s been a ball-hawking, havoc-wreaking playmaker for the FSU secondary all season. No defensive back has more sacks than Joyner’s Seminoles-best five and he’s also added 6 1/2 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, an interception and a team second-best 55 total tackles through 11 games.
Other Jim Thorpe Award finalists include Michigan State’s Draqueze Dennard and Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert.
O’Leary has a chance to go down as the greatest tight end in Florida State history as his seven touchdown catches this season have pushed his career total to a school-record 11 among players at his position. O’Leary currently has 27 catches for 457 yards and has seen his ability to be an impact blocker increase dramatically in his third season. Other John Mackey Award finalists include North Carolina’s Eric Ebron and Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
As for Aguayo, the strong-legged kicker has been sensational as Dustin Hopkins’ replacement. Aguayo is 15-of-16 on field-goal attempts this season and currently owns the national record for consecutive extra points made with a streak that is at 80 in a row and counting. Texas’ Anthony Fera and USF’s Marvin Kloss are also finalists.
Winners of the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, Thorpe and Lou Groza awards will be announced live on ESPN’s broadcast of The Home Depot College Football Awards Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. ET from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk in Orlando, Fla. The John Mackey Award winner will be announced Dec. 11 and then presented the following night at the awards show.
Florida State fans are encouraged to purchase tickets to see these players and the rest of the No. 2 `Noles Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, NC. To buy tickets, click the graphic below or call 1-888-FSU-NOLE.