Our college football awards: Sonny Dykes, Mo Ibrahim, Jalen Carter among winners

With college football’s regular season coming to a close, it’s time to hand out our awards. 

That’s exactly what I did this week with a special edition of “The Number One College Football Show,” taking time to recognize some of the best players and best games of the 2022 season.

From Players of the Year to “Money In The Bag,” let’s cap the regular season by introducing my first annual College Football Awards. 

College Football Awards Show!

College Football Awards Show!

RJ Young debuts his College Football Awards, including Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Underappreciated Coach of the Year.

Offensive Player of the Year: Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim

  • 304 rushes for 1,594 yards
  • 10 out of 11 games this season with more than 100 rushing yards
  • 163 rushing yards in his only game in 2021 — against Ohio State

What I want you to understand is that Mo Ibrahim is him! We’re talking about a dude who managed to rush for nearly 1,600 yards this season and nobody knew about it. I’m really excited to see what his NFL experience is going to be like, and frankly, he’s a dude we’re going to miss, especially in the Big Ten where we had an outstanding amount of great running backs.

Defensive Player of the Year: Georgia DT Jalen Carter

  • 6-foot-3, 310-pounds
  • Hands more powerful than Sho’Nuff in a defunct factory dungeon
  • Feet quicker than Magic Mike.

With 2:27 left in the first half of the SEC Championship, Carter swam one LSU O-lineman, slipped another, put hammocks we call hands on quarterback Jayden Daniels and lifted him off the ground like a daddy would his son for acting up at the grocery store. He even had time to wag an index finger in the air while he held Daniels, helpless, in the other.

Coach of the Year: TCU’s Sonny Dykes

For leading TCU to its first CFP? Obviously. For hiring the Broyles Award winner, Garrett Riley, and letting him cook? Of course. For hiring Joe Gillespie, who turned cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson into the Thorpe Award winner? Absolutely.

[Related: Joe Gillespie carrying TCU’s defensive legacy forward]

But mostly, he is my coach of the year for keeping Max Duggan engaged and team-focused after choosing Chandler Morris to start the season; for allowing Duggan to unleash his fury and passion on every team the Horned Frogs have played since. 

Underappreciated Coach of the Year: Kansas State’s Chris Klieman

Klieman showed up at K-State in 2018 having won four national titles at FCS juggernaut North Dakota State

Since arriving in Manhattan, he’s produced the nation’s best all-purpose player in Deuce Vaughn, who just became a two-time AP First Team All-American. 

Four years into the job, he’s made it his job to whoop Oklahoma’s behind and secure the program’s first Big 12 title in a decade — back when his current offensive coordinator, Collin Klein, was a quarterback at K-State — and won 10 games. He capped off the season with a win against the CFP-bound, 12-1 TCU Horned Frogs.

Underappreciated Unit of the Year: Iowa’s defense

That’s a national championship-caliber defense. The Hawkeyes ranked 14th in scoring defense, produced its first Butkus Award winner in school history in Jack Campbell, and held opponents to 13 points or fewer nine times in 12 games.

Without the Hawkeyes defense, Iowa isn’t going bowling, let alone winning seven games. And the defense has been that good for two-straight seasons. The Hawkeyes set a school record in 2021 and led the nation with 25 interceptions while creating 30 turnovers. 

Hawkeye defensive coordinator Phil Parker is going to be a head coach soon — if he wants it. He’s been at Iowa for over a decade. That kind of defensive prowess is going to invite athletic director to his front door.

Iowa clinches nail-biting win

Iowa clinches nail-biting win

Iowa’s Jack Campbell intercepted a pass from Athan Kaliamanis, which led to a key drive in a victory over Minnesota.

I Love College Award 

This award is for the college football players who make us feel like they’ve been playing for a full decade. A past nominee for this award would have included Utah wideout Britain Covey, who played for the Utes from 2015 to 2021.

2022 nominees include UTSA quarterback Frank Harris, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett and UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Bennett could’ve won it this season — Bennett and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson were both born in 1997. Thompson-Robinson became the first quarterback in FBS history to start for five consecutive seasons. 

But this year’s winner is Harris, who announced he’d return for a record seventh season at UTSA. He passed for more than 3,800 yards with 31 TDs, led the Road Runners to their second-straight C-USA title, and holds 34 school records. 

Diamond in the Rough: UAB RB DeWayne McBride 

McBride finished the regular season as the FBS rushing champion, gaining a school-record 1,713 yards, a mark once held by Jordan Howard. He’s also the nation’s active leader in career yards per rush with 7.3.

Put the money in the bag!

Put the money in the bag!

RJ Young talks about underappreciated units, the “I Love College Award,” “Money in the Bag,” and more.

Best of Money in the Bag

1. Marshall at Notre Dame

The Herd were 20.5-point underdogs, but beat ND 26-21 in South Bend — they took home $1.25 million.

2. Appalachian State at Texas A&M

The Mountaineers were 17.5-point underdogs, but beat the Aggies 17-14 in College Station — they took home $1.5 million.

3. Middle Tennessee at Miami

The Blue Raiders were 26.5-point underdogs, but beat the Canes 45-31 at the Hard Rock — they took home $1.5 million. 

Rick Stockstill went on Nashville local radio, 104.5 The Zone, and gave us this quote: “They ran for 194 yards against Texas A&M, the number whatever team in the country at this point. They ran for 68 against us. They averaged 1.6 yards per carry. They gave $1.5 million. We gave them 1.6 yards per carry.” 

Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Miami, you been had. You been took. You been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok. This is what he does. 

The Herd, Aggies and Blue Raiders, put the shimmy in the shag. Fighting Irish, Aggies and Canes, put the money in the bag.

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RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast “The Number One College Football Show.” Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.

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