The John Mackey Award goes to the best tight end in college football, and Florida's Aaron Hernandez became the first Gator to claim to the honor. As Bob Redman of Fightin' Gators had indicated earlier in the week, Maurkice Pouncey is this year's recipient of the Rimington Trophy for the country's top center. Neither award gets the full "three nominees are" treatment on the broadcast, but they were announced during the show.
"It's overwhelming," said Pouncey. "I'm glad I got the award and it's really appreciated."
"I wish all the guys could be here with me to experience this, but I've got lots of stories to tell them after tonight."
Tim Tebow was a contender for both the Davey O'Brien Award as best quarterback and the Maxwell (which he won last year) as the best all-around player. Both of them went to Colt McCoy of Texas instead. Joe Haden's hope for the Thorpe as best defensive back came up short at the expense of fellow SEC East DB Eric Berry of Tennessee. Also losing to an SEC East rival was Chas Henry, as Georgia's Drew Butler won the Ray Guy Award for best punter.
Brandon Spikes wasn't able to win the Bednarik Award as the country's top defensive player, as Nebraska's Ndamakong Suh continued his domination of all defensive awards he's been up for this season. The night wasn't a total loss for Spikes, as he was one of three Gators selected as members of the Walter Camp All-America Team. Spikes was joined on the team by Haden and Pouncey. Driving home just how strong the SEC's defense was this year, six of the 11 defenders were from the conference, including the entire linebacker group.
This has been a tough week for Gator award candidates. Charlie Strong came up short in the Broyles Award race for top assistant to Alabama DC Kirby Smart, although for him getting the Louisville head coaching spot certainly cushioned the blow. Spikes was a Butkus Award finalist, but saw Rolando McClain of Bama named the winner.
Tebow will be heading to New York for this weekend's Heisman Trophy ceremonies. Projections have been showing him as being fifth in the voting, meaning Florida's frustrating awards week is likely to continue.
Mixed Results for Florida at College Awards
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