Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray topped Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to win The Associated Press’ College Football Player of the Year award on Thursday.
Murray received 39 of 56 first-place votes and 145 total points in becoming the fifth Sooners player to win the award. Tagovailoa, the Alabama quarterback, received 13 first-place votes (117 points), and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins got four first-place votes and 55 total points.
The three quarterbacks are also finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be awarded Saturday. Murray’s fourth-ranked Sooners will face Tagovailoa and the top-ranked Tide on Dec. 29 in the Orange Bowl, one of the College Football Playoff semifinals.
In other Murray news, his baseball agent, Scott Boras, said Murray will honor his contract to play for the Oakland A’s and report to training camp in the spring. Murray was the No. 9 overall selection in the MLB draft in June.
–Tagovailoa was named winner of the Walter Camp Award, given annually to the top player in college football. He was selected over four other nominees: quarterbacks Will Grier of West Virginia, Gardner Minshew of Washington State and Murray, and Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen.
The past five Walter Camp winners have gone on to win the Heisman Trophy, which will be awarded Saturday.
A sophomore, Tagovailoa has thrown 37 touchdown passes and been intercepted four times for the Crimson Tide, who are undefeated and the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff. He sustained a knee injury last Saturday in the SEC championship game against Georgia, and coach Nick Saban said Tagovailoa would need about two weeks to recover.
–North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury won the Rimington Trophy, which is given annually to the nation’s best center. The other finalists were Ross Pierschbacher of Alabama and Sam Mustipher of Notre Dame.
Bradbury, a converted tight end, has started every game for the Wolfpack since 2016.
–In the midst of one of its most successful seasons since the days of Jeff Tedford, Cal football is rewarding its head coach with a new contract.
The university announced Justin Wilcox signed a five-year extension to remain in Berkeley. The deal reportedly replaces the remainder of the five-year deal he signed when he came to the school before last season, meaning his contract now runs through the 2023 season. While financial terms were not disclosed, multiple reports said Wilcox’s annual salary will increase from $2 million to $3.25 million. The deal also adds a reported $600,000 to the salary pool for assistant coaches.
After going 5-7 in Wilcox’s first season in 2017, the Golden Bears are 7-5 this season. They play TCU (6-6) in the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix on Dec. 26.
–The hiring of Michael Locksley as Maryland’s football coach has the approval of Locksley’s longtime friend, Marty McNair, the father of the former Maryland player who died June 13 from heatstroke he suffered during a team workout two weeks earlier.
“We support Mike one thousand percent,” McNair told ESPN’s Heather Dinich. The Locksley and McNair families go back years, and they each have gone through the tragedy of the loss of a child.
Locksley, who will continue in his role as Alabama’s offensive coordinator until the Tide’s season is over, was hired by Maryland on Tuesday night. The former Maryland offensive coordinator (2012-15) and interim head coach (2015) replaces DJ Durkin, who was fired by the university on Halloween after the fallout from an investigation into the program’s culture launched in the wake of McNair’s death.
–The latest scuttlebutt about Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan for an NFL head coaching job was shot down by athletic director Warde Manuel.
Former Buckeyes receiver and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Cris Carter said he has sources who are telling him that Harbaugh is looking to leave Michigan. Carter specifically mentioned the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns as potential landing spots for Harbaugh on the Fox Sports 1 show “First Things First.”
Manuel scoffed at Carter’s comments during a radio interview on WTKA-AM in Ann Arbor while reminding listeners that Carter attended the school’s biggest rival, Ohio State. “I would say consider the source of the comment,” Manuel said.
–Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will not pursue the opportunity to coach at his alma mater, Georgia Tech. He reportedly interviewed there on Monday, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter said that Whisenhunt had withdrawn his name from consideration.
Georgia Tech officials appear to have shifted their attention toward Temple head coach Geoff Collins, whom they interviewed twice this week, according to Philly.com and ESPN. Like Whisenhunt, Collins is a Georgia native. He previously has been on the staff at Georgia Tech, first as a graduate assistant from 1999-2000, as tight ends coach in 2001 and as director of player personnel in 2006.
Collins, 47, was hired as Temple’s head coach in December 2016. He has a 15-10 record over two seasons, and the Owls (8-4) will meet Duke (7-5) in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 27.
–Field Level Media