Most Valuable Defensive Player goes to the player who has had the biggest impact. There are many players that have stepped up throughout the injuries and the adversity the Sooners have faced throughout the season. But one that sticks out more than all the rest is redshirt freshman linebacker Travis Lewis. He assumed a much larger role after junior middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds went out with a knee injury against Texas . He had to lock down his outside position and has done just that. Reynolds has 136 total tackles, nearly 60 more than the second closest person to him. He has four huge interceptions and a forced fumble and has been magnificent in his first year in a huge role for the Sooners.
Mr. Shutdown goes to the player who has best demonstrated that quality of shutting down prolific offensive players. Sophomore defensive back Dominique Franks has been unbelievably consistent in shutting down receivers like Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Missouri 's Jeremy Maclin. In the Bedlam game a week and a half ago, Franks held Crabtree to only 62 yards on six receptions, well below his season average. He also kept Crabtree out of the end zone. In addition, Franks limited the ever-so dangerous Maclin last weekend to only 46 yards. With the exception of a 27-yard touchdown reception, Maclin was basically a non-factor in the contest.
Best Role-player goes to the individual who has been in the right place at the right time most. Sophomore defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has been just that guy. McCoy has been a force in plugging up the middle and has 26 tackles. While he hasn't had an excessive amount of tackles, he has forced running backs to move to other gaps and become a defensive presence in that way. He has 6.5 sacks for a loss of 35 yards on the year. And what he does off the field is as good as what he does on the field. He could be the best role model along with the best role-player.
The Pick-Off King goes to the player that has intercepted the most passes after the conference season. Senior defensive back Lendy Holmes leads the team with five of those, just one more than Lewis. He has also broken up four passes and recovered three fumbles. Not only has Holmes been a thief for opposing offenses, he has been a brilliant source of leadership for a defense that has battled so many injuries this year. Last year the secondary was young. This year, it has been much more experienced, and he is a large part of that.
12th Man Award goes to the most important player off the bench. Junior linebacker J.R. Bryant has been a very crucial player off the sidelines for the Sooners. He has contributed in a variety of ways. Bryant has 18 total tackles and has played in all 13 of the Sooners' games this season. He was part of a sack that resulted in a loss of three yards, and he also has one pass break up to go along with his other statistics. Bryant has been a reliable man off the bench for OU this year.