Ninth Annual Herbie Awards
With the season's kickoff just days away, it's time to step back and celebrate the players, coaches, color and pageantry of college football. Who are the players to know? Where are the places to be? The ninth annual Herbie Awards presentation answers those questions and more.
This list tackles the top playmakers, the defensive difference-makers, the fresh faces on the scene, the student sections that roar and everything else that's great about college football. Herbies are given to the best college football players, coaches, teams and fans across the nation.
Also, this is just my list. These are my choices, and not everyone will agree. That's the beauty of it. Let the second-guessing begin.
So, without further ado, here are the ninth annual Herbie Awards:
OFF AND RUNNING: READY TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
1. Toby Gerhart, Stanford
2. Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss
3. Damion Fletcher, Southern Miss
4. LeGarrette Blount, Oregon
5. Michael Smith, Arkansas
6. Nic Grigsby, Arizona
Toby Gerhart will have Cardinal foes seeing red.
(Photo by Daniel R. Harris/Icon SMI)
CATCH A RISING STAR: TOP WIDE RECEIVERS
Defenses will handle Dez Bryant with care in 2009.
(Photo by Scott Wachter/Icon SMI)
THE HOGMOLLIES: BEST IN THE TRENCHES
C - Kristofer O'Dowd, USC
G - Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
G - Rodney Hudson, Florida State
T - Ciron Black, LSU
T - Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
USC's Kristofer O'Dowd is the center of attention.
(Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
OFF THE EDGE: BEST DEFENSIVE ENDS
Carlos Dunlap will have his eyes on QBs this fall.
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
1. Carlos Dunlap, Florida
2. Greg Hardy, Ole Miss
3. Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
4. Sergio Kindle, Texas
5. Everson Griffen, USC
6. Rahim Alem, LSU
NOWHERE TO RUN: TOP DEFENSIVE TACKLES
1. Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
2. Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
3. Terrence Cody, Alabama
4. Jared Odrick, Penn State
5. Geno Atkins, Georgia
Look for Gerald McCoy to be a destructive force.
(Photo by June Frantz-Hunt/Icon SMI)
INSIDE EDITION: TOP INSIDE LINEBACKERS
Brandon Spikes has the inside track for a Herbie.
(Photo by Tim Larson/Icon SMI)
1. Brandon Spikes, Florida
2. Rolando McClain, Alabama
3. Sean Lee, Penn State
4. Ryan Reynolds, Oklahoma
5. Reggie Carter, UCLA
OUTSIDE EDGE: BEST OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
1. Rennie Curran, Georgia
2. Navorro Bowman, Penn State
3. Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
4. Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
5. Sean Spence, Miami
6. Eric Norwood, South Carolina
Rennie Curran is the top dog at outside linebacker.
(Photo by Brad Schloss/Icon SMI)
CORNERING THE MARKET: TOP CORNERBACKS
Joe Haden has things covered for the Gators.
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
1. Joe Haden, Florida
2. Syd'Quan Thompson, California
3. Trevard Lindley, Kentucky
4. Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt
5. Alterraun Verner, UCLA
6. Patrick Peterson, LSU
SAFETY DANCE: NATION'S BEST SAFETIES
1a. Eric Berry, Tennessee
1b. Taylor Mays, USC
3. Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech
4. Bo McNally, Stanford
5. Chad Jones, LSU
Taylor Mays and Eric Berry share a Herbie.
(Photo by Getty Images)
FRESH APPROACH: TOP TRUE FRESHMEN
1. Matt Barkley, USC
2. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
3. Trent Richardson, Alabama
4. Tate Forcier, Michigan
5. Jelani Jenkins, Florida
6. Marlon Brown, Georgia
7. Bryce Brown, Tennessee
8. Alex Okafor, Texas
9. Rueben Randle, LSU
10. Jonathan Bostic, Florida
Matt Barkley will have a leading role in L.A. in '09.
(Photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US Presswire)
REMEMBER ME: HOUSEHOLD NAMES BY THE END OF SEPTEMBER
Mark Ingram will help the Tide roll this season.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
RODNEY DANGERFIELDS: PLAYERS WHO DON'T GET ENOUGH RESPECT
1. Aaron Hernandez, Florida
2. Kerry Meier, Kansas
3. Chris Brown, Oklahoma
4. Josh Pinkard, USC
5. Evan Royster, Penn State
6. Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech
No way the Herbies would overlook Aaron Hernandez.
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
TEAMS ON THE MOVE
|Movin' On Up||Headin' On Down|
|1. LSU Tigers||1. Missouri Tigers|
|2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish||2. Cincinnati Bearcats|
|3. Clemson Tigers||3. Connecticut Huskies|
|4. UCLA Bruins||4. Northwestern Wildcats|
|5. Arkansas Razorbacks||5. Boston College Eagles|
|6. Michigan Wolverines||6. Texas Tech Red Raiders|
MARK IT DOWN: CONFERENCE PICKS
|ACC Atlantic||Florida State||NC State|
|ACC Coastal||Georgia Tech||North Carolina|
|ACC champ||Georgia Tech|
|Big 12 North||Nebraska||Colorado|
|Big 12 South||Texas||Oklahoma State|
|Big 12 champ||Texas|
|Big East||Rutgers||West Virginia|
|Big Ten||Penn State||Michigan State|
|SEC East||Florida||South Carolina|
|C-USA East||Southern Miss|
|C-USA champ||Southern Miss|
|MAC West||Western Michigan|
|MAC champ||Western Michigan|
UP AND COMING ASSISTANTS AND COORDINATORS
Bryan Harsin directs the Boise State offense.
(Photo by Brian Losness/US Presswire)
1. Josh Heupel, Oklahoma
2. Justin Wilcox, Boise State
3. Danny Langsdorf, Oregon State
4. Corwin Brown, Notre Dame
5. Bryan Harsin, Boise State
6. Kirby Smart, Alabama
HEAD COACHES IN WAITING
1. Brent Venables, Oklahoma
2. Charlie Strong, Florida
3. Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma
4. Tom Bradley, Penn State
5. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Brent Venables looks like a future head coach.
(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
ALL-UNI TEAM: WHAT A COLLEGE TEAM SHOULD LOOK LIKE
|Offensive Team||Defensive Team|
|QB - Jake Locker, Washington||DE - Carlos Dunlap, Florida|
|RB - C.J. Spiller, Clemson||DE - Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State|
|RB - DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma||DT - Jared Odrick, Penn State|
|RB - Toby Gerhart, Stanford||DT - Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma|
|WR - Arrelious Benn, Illinois (captain)||LB - Rolando McClain, Alabama|
|WR - Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati||LB - Martez Wilson, Illinois|
|WR - Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State||LB - Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina|
|TE - Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma||LB - Travis Lewis, Oklahoma|
|C - Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State||CB - Chykie Brown, Texas|
|G - Jeff Byers, USC||CB - Joe Haden, Florida|
|G - Mike Johnson, Alabama||S - Eric Berry, Tennessee|
|T - Trent Williams, Oklahoma||S - Taylor Mays, USC (captain)|
|T - Sam Young, Notre Dame|
STUDENT BODY RIGHT: BEST STUDENT SECTIONS
Penn State's student section roars to the top.
(Photo by Paul Spinelli/Getty Images)
1. Penn State
6. Ohio State
7. Notre Dame
8. South Carolina
ROAD TRIP: SITES GAMEDAY MUST GET TO
1. Ole Miss: The Grove
2. Washington: Lake Washington
3. California: Tightwad Hill
4. Boise State: The Blue Turf
5. West Virginia: Country Roads
Saturday in the Grove is on the wish list.
(Photo by Scott Burton/Getty Images)
Kirk Herbstreit is an analyst on ESPN's "College GameDay."
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