Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was the surprise pick as the Maxwell Award winner at the college football award show on Thursday night, but because the Crimson Tide field general was surprised, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve the distinction.
Texas A&M and Florida State quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston were also nominated and after accepting the award as the nation’s most outstanding player, McCarron said, “Super surprised. I don’t think I’m the best player out of the other two guys that were mentioned, but I can’t thank them enough. It’s an honor to be here.”
He threw for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns with only five interceptions while leading Alabama to an 11-1 record, and literally was one second away from potentially playing for a third straight national title. Alabama will play Oklahoma in the Allstate Sugar Bowl played on Jan. 2, and McCarron was quick to give credit to his teammates.
“It’s awesome, but I can’t thank my teammates enough,” McCarron said of winning the award. “All my teammates back home, I love you guys. You all made this possible.”
McCarron may have been surprised to win the award, and I’m sure some watching on ESPN were surprised to see Manziel or Winston, who also won the Walter Camp and Davey O’Brien Award, not claim this piece of hardware. These two quarterbacks have claimed a lot of individual awards this year and are likely the last two Heisman Trophy winners, but neither can match the hardware McCarron has in regard to BCS National Championships.
Oddly enough, McCarron was deemed the most outstanding player for the entire nation, but was only an honorable mention selection for the AP All-SEC team. McCarron was perhaps recognized for being one of the sports’ best players, ambassadors and winners for his contributions with Alabama during his time in Tuscaloosa.
He won’t win the national title this year, but he made history as the first Maxwell Award winner in program history. It’s no surprise to see McCarron humble and gracious in accepting the award and to deflect the attention to his teammates as he’s done his entire collegiate career.
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries