There are no sure things for the Heisman Trophy, but Alabama’s Derrick Henry might be considered the favorite after being presented with two awards as the national player of the year in Thursday night’s College Football Awards Show at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta Thursday.
Alabama’s junior running back was also presented with the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back. He was joined in successful trophy hunting by senior teammate Ryan Kelly, who was honored as the Rimington Trophy winner, given to the nation’s best center.
Henry took home the 2015 Maxwell Award, given by the Maxwell Football Club to the college player of the year. He is only the second Alabama player to win the prestigious award, joining former Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (2013). Henry is also the first running back to receive the honor since Larry Johnson (Penn State) in 2002.
Henry was the recipient of the 2015 Doak Walker Award as well, presented by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum to the nation’s top running back. This is the second time in program history a Tide running back has won the honor, with Trent Richardson being the only other recipient (2011).
Earlier in the evening, Henry was also named the school’s first winner of the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, given annually to the nation’s top college football player. He is the first player to win all three awards in the same season since 2002 (Johnson).
Henry, a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and recent recipient of SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors, has rushed for a school- and SEC-record 1,986 yards and 23 touchdowns on 339 carries. He leads the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns and is second in yards per game with 152.8. Henry has recorded four 200-plus yard performances this year, joining Herschel Walker (Georgia) and Bo Jackson (Auburn) as the only backs in SEC history to record four in one season. He has matched the all-time SEC single-season rushing touchdown mark and has recorded a rushing touchdown in 18 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the country and the most by any player in SEC history.
Kelly was presented the 2015 Rimington Trophy, given by the Rimington Trophy Committee to the nation’s most outstanding center. He is the second Alabama player to take home the award, joining Barrett Jones (2012) as the school’s lone recipients.
As senior leader and anchor of the Alabama offensive line, Kelly has made all offensive line calls during his 34-career starts. He has graded out at an average of 88.4 percent, including five games over 90 percent, and has not graded out below 84 percent all season. Kelly only missed eight assignments in 948 snaps for a success rate of 99.2 percent and has 16 knockdown blocks from his center position. He also has not allowed a sack this season and only surrendered four quarterback hurries.
Kelly has helped clear a path for 208.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks 27th nationally and third in the SEC. He blocked for nine 100-yard games for Derrick Henry, including a school record four games over 200 yards. Kelly has only committed one penalty all season and has not been called for holding.
Alabama will play in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff when the Crimson Tide meets Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31.