Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) tackles Auburn running back Jarquez Hunter, left, during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Seven players and two coaches from SEC named award finalists

Award finalists were announced now that regular season in college football has concluded and teams move to conference championships and bowl games. Overall, seven different players and two coaches from the SEC have been named finalists for eight different awards.

The Rimington Award, given to the nation’s top center, has yet to announce its finalists.

The Home Depot College Football Awards, the 32nd edition of the awards, will air on ESPN and the ESPN app on Thursday, Dec. 8 beginning at 7 p.m., per Julie McKay of ESPN.

Chuck Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year) and Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Top Defensive Player) – LB Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama)

The 2021 Nagurski Trophy winner, Anderson Jr. shined defensively for the Crimson Tide. The junior linebacker finished the regular season with 10 sacks in 2022, tied for the most in the SEC and tied for the eighth-most in the NCAA. Although his historic numbers from 2021 dropped this season, he finished with a respectable 51 total tackles, 24 of which were solo and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown.

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Biletnikoff Award (Outstanding Receiver) – WR Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee)

The junior wide receiver torched defenses consistently in the Vols’ high-powered offense. He finished the regular season with 67 receptions for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns, all ranking No. 1 in the SEC. His touchdown total also was tied for the most in the NCAA and is a university record. Meanwhile, his yardage ranked third in the NCAA and is the second-most in a single season in school history.

Hyatt’s best performance came when Tennessee upset then-No. 3 Alabama for its first win against the Crimson Tide in 15 years. He caught six passes for 207 yards and a school record five touchdowns on the way to a 52-49 win.

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Maxwell Award (Player of the Year) – QB Hendon Hooker (Tennessee)

A Heisman Trophy candidate for most of the year, Hooker became the face of the Volunteers in his second season with the team. He threw for 3,135 yards and 27 touchdowns, plus tied for second in the SEC against only two interceptions. His yardage is third in the SEC, while his touchdown total is tied for second in the SEC. Additionally, his interception total is tied for least among SEC starters.

Although his season ended with a torn ACL in the loss to South Carolina, he quickly became a staple in Tennessee football for his performance over the last two seasons.

Burlsworth Trophy (Most Outstanding Player who began as a Walk-On) – QB Stetson Bennett IV (Georgia)

The 2021 national champion and former walk-on is looking to add another ring to his collection after leading the Bulldogs to the No. 1 ranking heading the SEC Championship against LSU. Bennett IV threw for 3,151 yards, which ranks second in the SEC, and 16 touchdowns.

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Mackey Award (Outstanding Tight End) – TE Brock Bowers (Georgia)

As Kyle Pitts was a unicorn for Florida in 2020, Bowers became Georgia’s unicorn in 2022. Bowers finished the regular season with 46 receptions for 645 yards and five touchdowns, all at least tied for most on the team and most amongst tight ends in the SEC.

Butkus Award (Outstanding Linebacker) – LB Drew Sanders (Arkansas), LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson (Georgia)

A transfer from Alabama, Sanders found immediate comfort in his new home. The redshirt sophomore finished the regular season tied for third in the conference with 103 total tackles, 40 were solo. He added one interception and three forced fumbles, tied for most in the SEC.

Meanwhile, Dumas-Johnson had a solid second season for the Bulldogs. He finished his regular season with 59 total tackles, 40 of which were solo stops. He also added three sacks, tied for most on the team.

Broyles Award (Top Assistant Coach) – OC Todd Monken (Georgia), OC Alex Golesh (Tennessee)

In his third year as the offensive coordinator with Georgia, Monken has the Bulldog offense ranked eighth in the nation in total yards (5,866) and yards per game (488.83). Additionally, Monken boasts the No. 12 scoring offense in the nation, averaging 38.3 points per game in 12 games.

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It only took one season for Golesh to completely turn around the Volunteers’ offense. After Tennessee ranked 14th in the country in total offense, Golesh shot the offense up to the top-ranked offense in total yards (6,457), yards per game (538.1), total points (568) and points per game (47.3).

About Cam Parker

Cam is a fourth-year broadcast journalism sports and media major at the University of Florida. In addition to writing and recording radio trendings for WRUF, Cam covers North Florida HS football for The Prep Zone and Mainstreet Daily News and UF football and basketball for Inside the Gators.

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