Three quarterbacks and two defensive players comprise the list of five finalists for the Walter Camp Football Foundation 2016 Player of the Year award. Quarterbacks Jake Browning (Washington), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Deshaun Watson (Clemson) are on the list along with defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (Alabama) and linebacker/return specialist Jabrill Peppers (Michigan).
The 2016 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, who is voted on by the 129 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced on Thursday, December 8 during the 6 p.m. edition of ESPN SportsCenter.
The winner will receive his trophy at the Foundation’s 50th annual national awards banquet on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven.
Former University of Alabama and current Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry won the award last year.
Walter Camp, “The Father of American football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation – a New Haven-based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and continue the tradition of selecting an annual All-America team. Visit www.waltercamp.org.
The Walter Camp Football Foundation is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. Visit www.ncfaa.org.
The finalists for the 2016 Walter Camp Player of the Year award:
JONATHAN ALLEN – ALABAMA – Senior – Defensive Line – The leader of the nation’s leading scoring defense (11.4 points allowed per game) and rushing defense (68.7 yards allowed per game), Allen posted 52 tackles, seven quarterback sacks and 13 quarterback hurries. He has also returned two fumbles for touchdowns. The top-ranked Crimson Tide (12-0) face Florida on Dec. 3 in the Southeastern Conference title game.
JAKE BROWNING – WASHINGTON – Sophomore – Quarterback – The offensive leader of the fourth-ranked Huskies (11-1), Browning enters Saturday’s Pac-12 title game against Colorado ranked No.3 in the nation in pass efficiency (181.64) and No. 4 in passing touchdowns (40). He has passed for 3,162 yards, completing 65.0 percent of his passes. Browning has also rushed for four touchdowns.
LAMAR JACKSON – LOUISVILLE – Sophomore – Quarterback – Jackson has accounted for 51 touchdowns (30 passing, 21 rushing) for the 9-3 Cardinals. He has thrown for 3,390 yards (220-for-382) and rushed for 1,538 yards – which is good for second in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He passed 300 or more yards four times, and had eight 100-yard rushing efforts. He was a three-time Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 4, Sept. 11 and Nov. 6).
JABRILL PEPPERS – MICHIGAN – Junior – Linebacker/Returner –The first player in Big Ten history to collect three individual honors (Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year), Peppers has posted 72 tackles, 16 for losses, four quarterback sacks and one interception. Peppers averaged 14.8 yards per via punt returns and scored one touchdown, and 26.0 yards per kickoff return. He also rushed 27 times for 167 yards and three touchdowns while catching two passes.
DESHAUN WATSON – CLEMSON – Junior – Quarterback – The leader of the third-ranked Tigers offense, Deshaun Watson has accumulated 4,070 yards of total offense and 38 total touchdowns. He has passed for 3,626 yards (306-of-453) and 34 touchdowns this season. Watson’s 302.2 passing yards per game average leads the Atlantic Coast Conference. Clemson (11-1) will play Virginia Tech on Dec. 3 in the ACC Championship Game.