Four Texas A&M football players earned trips to ESPN’s Home Depot College Football Awards after being named finalists for major awards, it was announced on ESPN on Monday.
Making the trip to Orlando for the Aggies will be quarterback Johnny Manziel, wide receiver Mike Evans, offensive tackle Jake Matthews and punter Drew Kaser. The 23rd annual Home Depot Football Awards will air on ESPN Thursday, Dec. 12 and originate from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Manziel, a sophomore from Kerrville, Texas, is a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. Manziel won the O’Brien Award in 2012 and is a repeat finalist for the Maxwell. Manziel, the defending Heisman Trophy winner and Associated Press College Player of the Year, has been even better in 2013 while leading the SEC in passing, total offense and points responsibility.
Evans, a sophomore from Galveston, Texas, is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the outstanding receiver in college football. Evans is the SEC leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns and has already set school records in both categories. At his best in big games, Evans has posted a FBS-best 617 total yards, five TDs and a per-game average of 205.7 receiving yards in games against teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25.
Matthews, a senior from Missouri City, Texas, is the finalist for the Outland Trophy, which is given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman. Matthews will be trying to keep the Outland Trophy in Aggieland by joining former A&M teammate and 2012 winner Luke Joeckel as a recipient of the award. Matthews has been a key cog in the Aggies’ offensive front for four record-setting seasons. Texas A&M has broken and re-broken its school record for passing offense, total offense and scoring offense the past two seasons, and could challenge all three records again in 2013. With Matthews helping clear the way, the Aggies lead the Southeastern Conference in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense .
Kaser, a sophomore from Strongville, Ohio, is a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top punter. Kaser leads the SEC with a 48.0 punt average, which is currently a yard ahead of Shane Lechler’s school record of 47.0. Among Kaser’s 36 punts are 14 “coffin corner” boots, 10 fair catches and 14 50-yard bombs, including a 76-yarder. Behind Kaser’s strong leg, the Aggies rank No. 5 nationally with a 40.8 net punt average.