Oklahoma quarterback Jason White was a two-time award winner last night, taking the Maxwell Award as the game's best all-around player and adding his second straight Davey O'Brien...
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Oklahoma quarterback Jason White was a two-time award winner last night, taking the Maxwell Award as the game’s best all-around player and adding his second straight Davey O’Brien quarterback trophy.
White, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, also is a finalist for this year’s Heisman to be presented tomorrow night in New York.
White had 30 touchdown passes and just four interceptions in leading the Sooners (12-0) to the national-title game against USC in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. He beat out teammate Adrian Peterson and USC quarterback Matt Leinart for the Maxwell, and topped Leinart and Utah quarterback Alex Smith for the Davey O’Brien Award.
“I’m really very surprised about this, especially after the way our season ended last year,” White said, referring to losses in the final two games of the ’03 season.
“Everybody seemed to really write me off as far as the awards and everything for this year. This is certainly a great honor. But you know in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t mean very much unless we’re able to win it all. I’d rather be on the best team in the nation than to be the best overall player in the nation.”
Leinart didn’t leave the awards ceremony empty handed he was chosen Walter Camp player of the year. Also a Heisman finalist, Leinart has the top-ranked Trojans (12-0) in position to win a second straight national title. He threw for 2,748 yards and 28 touchdowns.
“I’m really just kind of going into this (Heisman) with an open mind, but I’m going in by not getting my hopes up, either,” Leinart said.
“I’m just looking forward to the whole experience in New York City and hanging out with everybody and all of those past winners. It’s going to be an honor, and we’ll see what happens. I’m just going into it looking to have fun.”
The Maxwell Award once was a good predictor of the Heisman with 14 of 19 players earning both awards from 1981-99. But the last four Maxwell winners fell short in winning the Heisman.
“In all honesty, I think that string will probably reach five,” White said. “I’m not sure about my chances for the Heisman.”
Texas running back Cedric Benson won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top runner, gaining 1,764 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns. He beat out Peterson, the Sooners’ sensational freshman, and California’s J.J. Arrington.
Georgia defensive end David Pollack won the Chuck Bednarik Trophy as the nation’s best defensive player. On Wednesday, Pollack won the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top lineman.
White wasn’t the only award winner from Oklahoma. Offensive tackle Jammal Brown took the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman.
Also, Michigan’s Braylon Edwards took the Biletnikoff Award for best wide receiver; Auburn’s Carlos Rogers won the Jim Thorpe Award for best defensive back; Ohio State’s Mike Nugent won the Lou Groza Award for best kicker; and Baylor’s Daniel Sepulveda took the Ray Guy Award for best punter.
Utah’s Urban Meyer, who took over at Florida earlier this week, was chosen coach of the year.
The assistant to Notre Dame’s president shaved her head to protest Tyrone Willingham’s firing as football coach, saying she will remain bald until the Irish win a national championship. Chandra Johnson, 50, assistant to the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, Notre Dame’s outgoing president, is the school’s highest-profile black administrator.
Notre Dame may have moved one step closer to securing a new head coach when athletic director Kevin White, incoming president Rev. John I. Jenkins and a prominent former Irish player met with Bills offensive coordinator Tom Clements in Buffalo. The Irish hierarchy also has an interview today with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Clements is considered the front-runner.
Former Oklahoma lineman Dusty Dvoracek’s bid for a medical hardship was denied by the Big 12.