SEASON'S BEST

The month of December means it's that time of the year: time to recognize the best in college football for 2011. The top of the list? One unstoppable dual-threat quarterback from Baylor
December 12, 2011

HEISMAN (most outstanding player)

MAXWELL (player of the year)

DAVEY O'BRIEN (quarterback)

ROBERT GRIFFIN IIIBaylor

The former All-America hurdler has shed the track guy label and become the nation's most electric force at QB. RG3 set the FBS season passing efficiency record (192.3) and ranked second nationally in total offense (386.8 yards a game), while still burning opponents with his legs (four games with 70-plus rushing yards). Most impressive, he led the Bears (9--3) to their first nine-win season since 1986.

CHUCK BEDNARIK (defensive player)

JIM THORPE (defensive back)

TYRANN MATHIEULSU

The diminutive sophomore (5'9", 175) with a catchy nickname (Honey Badger), Mathieu was the heart of a D that carried LSU into the BCS title game, and he tied for the nation's lead with five fumble recoveries.

FRED BILETNIKOFF (wide receiver)

JUSTIN BLACKMONOklahoma State

His numbers were down from last year when he won this award, but the acrobatic junior ranked second in receptions per game (9.4) and tied for third nationally in receiving touchdowns (15) for the Big 12 champs.

OUTLAND (interior lineman)

BARRETT JONESAlabama

The 6'5", 311-pound road grader was key in paving the way for Trent Richardson, but Jones's biggest attribute was his versatility. The starter at left tackle also saw snaps at left guard, center and right tackle this season.

RAY GUY (punter)

SHAWN POWELLFlorida State

He didn't have enough punts to qualify for the award, but Powell averaged an FBS-best 47.0 yards per attempt and had six kicks of at least 60 yards.

DOAK WALKER (running back)

MONTEE BALLWisconsin

No one ran for more yards (1,759) or scored more TDs (38) than Ball, who heads to the Rose Bowl one score shy of tying Barry Sanders's single-season record. Note: Ball didn't play in the fourth quarter of six games.

DICK BUTKUS (linebacker)

LUKE KUECHLYBoston College

One of the few bright spots for the 4--8 Eagles, this sideline-to-sideline playmaker had 191 tackles, which broke the ACC record of 183 set in 2010 by—who else?—Kuechly and were a whopping 44 more than any other player in the country.

LOU GROZA (kicker)

RANDY BULLOCKTexas A&M

The senior led the nation with 25 field goals, hitting on 86.2% of his attempts for the nation's 11th highest-scoring offense. He also nailed a careerlong 52-yarder in the loss to Texas and hit on 52-of-54 extra-point attempts.

BEAR BRYANT (coach)

BILL SNYDERKansas State

The 72-year-old had another Manhattan Miracle up his sleeve, taking a team that was projected to finish near the bottom of the Big 12 and led it to a 10--2 season and as high as a No. 8 ranking.

FOLLOW @SI_CoryMC

PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (GRIFFIN) PHOTOGERALD HERBERT/AP (MATHIEU) PHOTOGREG NELSON (BLACKMON) PHOTOMIKE KITTRELL/THE PRESS-REGISTER/LANDOV (JONES) PHOTOJAKE DRAKE/CAL SPORT MEDIA (POWELL) PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER (BALL) PHOTOANTHONY NESMITH/CAL SPORT MEDIA (KUECHLY) PHOTOBOB LEVEY/GETTY IMAGES (BULLOCK) PHOTOSCOTT SEWELL/US PRESSWIRE (SNYDER)

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