Three running backs and two quarterbacks comprise the list of five finalists for the Walter Camp Football Foundation 2017 Player of the Year award.
Running backs Saquon Barkley (Penn State), Bryce Love (Stanford) and Rashaad Penny (San Diego State) join quarterbacks Lamar Jackson (Louisville) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) as the five finalists. Jackson, who was the 2016 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, seeks to become the fourth two-time winner of the award, joining USC’s O.J. Simpson, 1967-68; Ohio State’s Archie Griffin, 1974-75; and Texas’ Colt McCoy, 2008-09.
The 2017 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, who is voted on by the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced on Thursday, December 7 during the 6 p.m. edition of ESPN SportsCenter.
The winner will then receive his trophy at the Foundation’s 51st annual national awards banquet, presented by David McDermott Lexus of New Haven, on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at Yale University’s Lanman Center in New Haven.
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 2017 Walter Camp Player of the Year award:
SAQUON BARKLEY – PENN STATE – Junior – Running Back – Saquon Barkley ranks second in the nation in all-purpose yardage (2,154; 179.5 yards per game). He has rushed for 1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns, totaling four 100-yard rushing efforts, for the 10-2 Nittany Lions. He has added 47 receptions for 594 yards and three more scores, and has also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Barkley has even thrown a touchdown pass this season.
LAMAR JACKSON – LOUISVILLE – Junior – Quarterback – The 2016 Walter Camp Player of Year recipient, Lamar Jackson has accounted for 42 touchdowns (25 passing, 17 rushing) for the 8-4 Cardinals this season. He has thrown for 3,489 yards (241-for-399) and rushed for 1,443 yards. He passed 300 or more yards six times, and had nine 100-yard rushing efforts. He accounted for a season-high 525 yards of total offense (393 passing, 132 rushing) and six touchdowns in a win over North Carolina on Sept. 8.
BRYCE LOVE – STANFORD – Junior – Running Back – The leader of the Cardinals offense, Bryce Love ranks second in the nation with 1,848 rushing yards, averaging 8.6 yards per carry. Love has scored 16 touchdowns. Love has 10, 100-yard rushing efforts, including a season-best 301 (on 25 carries) and three touchdowns in a win over Arizona State on Sept. 30 that earned him Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors. Stanford (9-3) will play USC on Dec. 2 in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
BAKER MAYFIELD – OKLAHOMA – Senior – Quarterback – The leader of the third-ranked Sooners offense, Baker Mayfield has passed for 4,097 yards (247-of-346) and 37 touchdowns. His 4,097 yards rank second in the nation. He has thrown for 300 or more yards nine times, including a career-best 598 (24-of-36, 5 touchdowns) in a win against Oklahoma State on Nov. 4 that earned him Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors. Oklahoma (11-1) will play TCU on Dec. 2 in the Big 12 Championship Game.
RASHAAD PENNY – SAN DIEGO STATE – Senior – Running Back/Kick Returner – The nation’s all-purpose yards leader (2,698; 224.8 yards per game), Rashaad Penny has scored 24 touchdowns for the 10-2 Aztecs, coming four different ways this season – 19 rushing, 2 receiving, 2 kickoff return and 1 via punt return. Penny has rushed for a nation-leading 2,027 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Penny earned Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors twice this season (Sept. 9 and Nov. 19).