Spaeth wins Mackey Award

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Minnesota Gophers tight end, who recently had surgery to repair an injured shoulder and will miss the team's bowl game, won the John Mackey Award for the top Division I-A tight end in the nation.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Minnesota Gophers tight end, who recently had surgery to repair an injured shoulder and will miss the team's bowl game, won the John Mackey Award for the top Division I-A tight end in the nation.

Many analysts and top scouting services had projected Litchfield native John Carlson would take home the award because he had smiliar numbers as Spaeth, but Notre Dame played a much tougher schedule than Minnesota.

Spaeth is the third Big Ten player and first Gopher to win the award since its inception in 2000.

"I am honored to be named the recipient of the John Mackey Award. "This is truly unbelievable and a moment that I will never forget," said Spaeth. "For me, this has been the most memorable season of my career because of the way we hung together as a team and being recognized as the top tight end in the nation only adds to that."

The St. Michael native is the sixth player at Minnesota to win a major national award. This is also the second consecutive season in which a Gopher football player has won a national award. Former Gopher center Greg Eslinger won both the 2005 Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy last season. Spaeth also joins Bruce Smith (Heisman Trophy, 1941), Tom Brown (Outland Trophy, 1960), Bobby Bell (Outland Trophy, 1962) and Tyrone Carter (Thorpe Award, 1999) as Gopher national award winners.


Spaeth became the school's all-time leader in career receptions (109) and receiving yards (1,293) by a tight end, surpassing current Indianapolis Colt Ben Utecht in both categories. Spaeth was second on the team in receptions and receiving yards in 2006, catching 47 passes for 564 yards with four touchdowns.

Spaeth also earned the Mackey Award over Arizona State junior Zach Miller.

Carlson had 46 receptions this season for 621 yards and four touchdowns.

The John Mackey Award is given to the collegiate tight end that best exemplifies the play, sportsmanship, academics, and community values of NFL Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey.

Quinn beats out Smith for Maxwell award

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn won the Maxwell Award as college football's top player Thursday night, beating out Heisman Trophy favorite Troy Smith of Ohio State.

Quinn and Smith are Heisman finalists and will be in New York on Saturday when college football's most famous player of the year award is handed out.

Rutgers tailback Ray Rice was the other finalist.


Quinn passed for 3,278 and 35 touchdowns this season.

Mississippi's Willis wins Butkus Award

Patrick Willis of Mississippi won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker.

Willis, a senior, led the Southeastern Conference in tackles with 137, 11.5 coming behind the line of scrimmage. He also had three sacks, broke up seven passes and recovered a fumble. He's the first Ole Miss player to win the Butkus and SEC player since Derrick Thomas of Alabama in 1988.

The other finalists were Penn State's Paul Posluszny, last year's Butkus winner, and Ohio State's James Laurinaitis.

Smith beats out Quinn, Brennan for O'Brien

Troy Smith of Ohio State won the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback, beating out fellow Heisman Trophy finalist Brady Quinn of Notre Dame on Thursday night.

Smith is the first Buckeyes quarterback to win the O'Brien, which started honoring the top quarterback in 1981.


Colt Brennan of Hawaii was the other finalist.

Smith is fourth in the nation in passer rating (167.9) with 2,507 yards, 30 touchdown passes and only five interceptions.

Johnson is Biletnikoff winner as top receiver

Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver.

Johnson, a junior, had 67 catches for 1,016 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets.

Jarrett Dillard of Rice and Jeff Samardzija of Notre Dame were the other finalists.

Longhorns' Ross is Thorpe Award winner

Aaron Ross of Texas won the Jim Thorpe Award as college football's top defensive back on Thursday night.


The other finalists were Michigan cornerback Leon Hall and Florida safety Reggie Nelson.

Ross has 71 tackles, 23 passes defended and has been involved in 10 takeaways.

Posluszny repeats as Bednarik Trophy winner

Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny won the Bednarik Trophy for the second consecutive year.

The other finalists were Posluszny's teammate and fellow linebacker Dan Connor and Michigan defensive LaMarr Woodley for this year's award.

Posluszny leads Penn State with 108 tackles and has three sacks.

Wisconsin's Thomas wins Outland Trophy

Wisconsin's Joe Thomas, a 313-pound tackle, won the Outland Trophy on Thursday night as the best interior lineman in college football.


Thomas is the first Wisconsin player to win the award.

The other finalists were Texas offensive lineman Justin Blalock and West Virginia center Dan Mozes.

Arkansas' McFadden wins Doak Walker

Darren McFadden of Arkansas won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back.

McFadden, a Heisman Trophy finalist, set a school record with 1,558 yards rushing and scored 16 touchdowns.

The sophomore beat out Michigan's Mike Hart and West Virginia's Steve Slaton.

Baylor's Sepulveda wins second Ray Guy Award

Daniel Sepulveda of Baylor won the Ray Guy Award as the best punter in college football for the second time.


Sepulveda, a senior, won the award two years ago as a sophomore. He leads the nation with a 46.48 average.

The other finalists were Durant Brooks of Georgia Tech and Jeremy Kapinos of Penn State.

Carmody wins Groza Award as top kicker

Art Carmody of Louisville won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker.

Carmody, a junior, was 20-for-23 on field goals and scored 117 points to lead the Cardinals. The other finalists were Oklahoma's Garrett Hartley and Auburn's John Vaughn.

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