Hardware Hopefuls

The NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision offers 20 season-end awards for individual excellence. Inside is our first look at Notre Dame's players' chances at each.

Note: Pre-season Watch Lists often include between 30 and 60 candidates, and remain fluid until the season's first update (usually during October), thus opening the door for several under-the-radar Irish in 2011.

Offensive Awards

The Heisman, Maxwell, and Walter Camp Trophies, with a combined three historical exceptions, have been awarded exclusively to offensive stars.

Heisman Trophy (Outstanding Player, in theory):
Top Pre-Season Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Candidate: Michael Floyd
Last Irish Winner: Tim Brown, 1987

Maxwell Award (Outstanding Player):
Top Pre-Season Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidates: Michael Floyd
"Where'd he come from?" Candidate: None, as no defensive player has won the award.
Last Irish Winner: Brady Quinn, 2006

Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year):
Top Pre-Season Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidate: Michael Floyd
"Where'd he come from?" Candidate: Manti Te'o (would be the third defensive player to earn the honor in the Award's 44-year history, following Hugh Green in 1980 and Charles Woodson, 1997).
Last Irish Winner: Rocket Ismail, 1990

Doak Walker Award (Top Running Back):
Top Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Candidate: Cierre Wood
Last Irish Winner: None (1990-present). Reggie Brooks is the school's lone finalist, 1992.

Davey O'Brien Award (National Quarterback Award):
Top Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees
Last Irish Winner: None (1981-present). Tony Rice was a finalist in 1988-89 as was Brady Quinn in 2005-06.

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (Top Senior QB):
Top Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Dayne Crist
Last Irish Winner: Brady Quinn, 2006

Fred Biletnikoff Award (Outstanding Wide Receiver):
Top Candidate: Michael Floyd
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Theo Riddick
Last Irish Winner: Golden Tate, 2009

John Mackey Award (Outstanding Tight End):
Top Candidate: Tyler Eifert
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: None
Last Irish Winner: None (2000-present). Anthony Fasano (2005) and John Carlson (2006) were both finalists.

Rimington Trophy (Outstanding Center):
(Previously Announced) Watch List Candidate: Braxston Cave
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: N/A
Last Irish Winner: None (2000-present). Jeff Faine was a finalist in 2002.

Mixed Awards

Unlike the Outland Trophy, the Lombardi Award recognizes scrimmage players such as tight ends, linebackers, and both offensive and defensive linemen.

Outland Trophy (Outstanding Interior Lineman):
Top Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidates: Ethan Johnson, Kapron Lewis-Moore
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Zack Martin, Braxston Cave, Trevor Robinson
Last Irish Winner: Ross Browner, 1976

Lombardi Award (Outstanding Lineman):
Top Candidate: Manti Te'o
Likely Watch List Candidates: Ethan Johnson, Kapron Lewis-Moore
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Tyler Eifert, Zack Martin, Braxston Cave, Trevor Robinson
Last Irish Winner: Aaron Taylor, 1993

Defensive Player Awards

Manti Te'o appears a candidate for three of the five listed, though no Irish player has taken home any of the awards below dating back to the first's inception in 1985.

Chuck Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year):
Top Candidate: Manti Te'o
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Watch List Candidates: Ethan Johnson, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Darius Fleming, Harrison Smith, Gary Gray, Robert Blanton
Last Irish Winner: None (1993-present)

Bronco Nagurski Award (Defensive Player of the Year):
Top Candidate: Manti Te'o
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Ethan Johnson, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Darius Fleming, Harrison Smith, Gary Gray, Robert Blanton
Last Irish Winner: None (1993-present). Shane Walton finished third in 2002

Butkus Award (Outstanding Linebacker):
Top Candidate: Manti Te'o
Likely Watch List Candidates: None
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Darius Fleming
Last Irish Winner: None (1985-present). Michael Stonebreaker finished 3rd in 1988 and 1990 as did Courtney Watson in 2002. Manti Te'o was a semi-finalist last fall.

Jim Thorpe Award (Outstanding Defensive Back):
Top Candidate: Harrison Smith
Likely Watch List Candidates: Gary Gray
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Robert Blanton
Last Irish Winner: None (1986-present). Todd Lyght was a finalist in 1989 as was Bobby Taylor in 1993.

Ted Hendricks Award (Defense End of the Year):
Top Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidates: Ethan Johnson and Kapron Lewis-Moore
"Where'd he come from?" Watch List Candidates: Aaron Lynch
Last Irish Winner: None (2002-present)

Miscellaneous

Lou Groza Award (Collegiate Place-kicker):
Top Candidate: David Ruffer
Likely Watch List Candidates: N/A
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: None
Last Irish Winner: None (1992-present). Current 5th-year senior David Ruffer was a finalist last season; Kevin Pendergast was a semi-finalist in 1993

Ray Guy Award (Outstanding Punter) :
Top Candidate: None
Likely Watch List Candidates: Ben Turk
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: Kyle Brindza
Last Irish Winner: None (2000-present)

Campbell Trophy (Top Scholar-Athlete):
Top Candidate: David Ruffer
Likely Watch List Candidates: Multiple; I'll guess
"Where'd he come from?" Candidates: N/A
Last Irish Winner: None (1990-present)

LOTT Trophy (IMPACT – an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity):
Candidate: Manti Te'o
Likely Watch List Candidates: None (it's set)
Last Irish Winner: None. Mike Anello was a candidate in 2009


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