Regardless of the outcome when votes are tallied Thursday to honor the nation’s top quarterback, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin already has experienced an upgrade in one aspect during his second trip to the Home Depot College Football Awards show.
This time around, there was no lengthy flight delay that cut into Boykin’s meet-and-greet time with fellow contenders to claim the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. Boykin said he experienced “smooth sailing” on the travel front Wednesday and hopes the same holds true during Thursday’s telecast (ESPN, 6 p.m.) when winners are announced for nine individual honors, including the 2015 O’Brien Award.
Boykin, a senior, is a finalist for the second time in efforts to become the first quarterback from TCU to win the award named in honor of the Horned Frogs’ only Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Boykin, who ranks second nationally in total offense among FBS players (380.6 yards per game), joins Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson among the finalists and feels a special bond with the award’s namesake. The winner will be honored in a formal ceremony Feb. 15 at the Fort Worth Club.
“It’s always something extra, him being a guy from TCU and me being blessed to play his position,” Boykin said. “To even be nominated for this award is an honor. It feels great to be invited back. To win it would mean a lot to me, my family and the school.”
Chris Fowler, ESPN/ABC play-by-play announcer for college football, acknowledged the historical significance of Wednesday’s decision by TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie to turn down Texas’ reported three-year offer of $1.2 million per season to become the Longhorns’ new offensive coordinator. He also indicated a job on the Texas staff might not be for everyone.
“I don’t know the ins and outs of it,” Fowler said. “But I’ll say this: the Texas head coach job is an extremely political job. I don’t know if there’s a more political-laden job in college football … There’s a lot to deal with. I think anybody who’s going to be pursued by the University of Texas, at this point, now know that … It’s still a great job. But it’s a complicated job to take. You have to have a guy willing to embrace that and who fully understands that and signs on for it.”
Based on statistics, the ballot box battle to decide the Biletnikoff Award could boil down to another close call between Baylor and TCU. Bears receiver Corey Coleman led the nation in touchdown catches (20) and finished third in receiving yards per game (113.6). TCU receiver Josh Docton led the nation in receiving yards per game (132.7 avg.) but missed two games with a broken wrist. He caught 14 touchdown passes in 10 games.
Coleman (1,363 receiving yards, 20 TDs) and Doctson (1,327 receiving yards, 14 TDs) have statistical advantages over the third finalist, Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell (1,082 receiving yards, 8 TDs). Coleman, a junior from Richardson Pearce who already has announced plans to enter the 2016 NFL Draft, dreams of becoming the first player from his school, which bills itself as “WRU,” to be honored as the nation’s top receiver.
“It would be great,” Coleman said. “We don’t have a Biletnikoff [winner] here yet. That would mean the world to me to bring that home to Baylor Nation. I think it would be well-deserved.”
Doctson, a senior from Mansfield Legacy, understands time missed because of his wrist injury might work against him on some ballots.
“It’s just humbling to be here. Being a finalist is already an award in itself. It’s a great privilege to be considered one of the top three at your position,” said Doctson, who wore a sling to protect the purple cast on his wrist. “Win or lose, it will be a great experience.”
Linemen in mix
Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, a junior from Fort Worth Arlington Heights, joins Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango, a fifth-year senior, as two of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. Drango said it would be “really special” to secure the honor in his senior season.
Robinson would become the first player from a Fort Worth ISD school in decades to win one of college football’s top individual honors if his name is called Thursday. He acknowledged that he “really was surprised” when he learned he was a finalist but considers it “really cool” that he will have a chance to make history.
He also relishes the opportunity to begin Alabama’s playoff quest Dec. 31 at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“It’s great to go back home and play in my hometown,” Robinson said. “And just try to show out for the fans and for my family.”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who led the Tigers (13-0) to an undefeated regular season and berth in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Oklahoma, was selected The Home Depot Coach of the Year, the school announced Wednesday.