ATLANTA — College football’s version of the Oscars went off without a hitch in its new digs inside the College Football Hall of Fame. From a fan-led version of the Running of the Bulls on the red carpet to the reemergence of the sad Michigan fan, the Home Depot 25th Anniversary College Football Awards showed college football’s fun side.
Mascots from College Football Playoff members Alabama, Clemson, Michigan State and Oklahoma horsed around in the lobby and provided fans and media members alike their very own “This Is SportsCenter” commercials with silent trips up and down the elevator and the occasional photo bomb.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney didn’t “Dab” but Steve Spurrier found time to leave the golf course to come join such a prestigious event.
Outside of college football fans — and Utah punter Tom Hackett’s face for wearing that beautiful mustache — the biggest winner of the night was Alabama running back Derrick Henry who took home the Maxwell Award as college football’s player of the year and the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back. Earlier, Henry was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year. On the heels of the Heisman Trophy ceremony this Saturday, Henry grabbed some major hardware to put in his bedroom.
Now, can Henry, who rushed for an SEC-record 1,986 yards and had 23 touchdowns, add the Heisman to his healthy haul? If you’re asking the players around him, he certainly has competition from fellow finalists in Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey. Maybe Watson more than people would think, as he was the in-house favorite for the award among the players present for the awards.
There was also a very emotional moment when Concordia University, St. Paul defensive lineman Hank Goff was given the Disney Sports Spirit Award, which is given annually by Disney Sports to college football’s most inspirational figure. Goff is using football to help him overcome post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from a nine-month combat stint in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines.
After battling depression and drinking, football essentially saved Goff’s life.
“It gave me a purpose in life,” Goff said. “It gave me a team again.”
Goff choked up while receiving his award, but later joked about how nerve-racking it was to be on stage in front of everyone.
“I was scared,” Goff said. “I’d rather be in a firefight than be down here.”
We were just glad you were here.
Let’s check out the bests from the awards …
Style shows confidence, and every football player needs that, especially wide receivers. That’s why it should come as no surprise that Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell came correct with his brown, tweed, three-piece suit compete with a striped, charcoal vest, a white handkerchief with red lining, and a skinny, burgundy tie. And who doesn’t love that smile?
Best dressed runner-up
TCU receiver Josh Doctson might have been in a black sling, but it went perfectly with his slick, slim-fit royal blue suit and purple paisley tie, which matched his purple cast on his wrist and under his sling.
Let this be lesson, fellas: Do NOT let injury inhibit your fashion sense.
Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III finished behind Iowa’s Desmond King for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s best defensive back, but he won when it came to honoring a late family member.
Hargreaves’ brown, tweed suit went perfectly with his blue bowtie marked with Gator head logos. It was also something he said his late grandfather would have worn, so when he saw it on a mannequin in Jos. A. Bank, he immediately grabbed it.
“It had that old school flavor,” Hargreaves said, “and I know he would have liked it.”
Best bro hug
No night in which a plethora of football guys get together would be complete without the most masculine way to show your affection. This year’s best went to Spurrier and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, who embraced on the red carpet just before the ceremony. Before Freeze could even properly greet his idol, Spurrier blurted, “This man’s going to the Suga Bowl. Suga Bowl!”
The College Football Awards drew a nice little crowd in and around the building, which prompted one clever fan to bring a sign that aptly read “I thought this was a Justin Bieber concert.”
For the sake of all of our ears, we’re glad it wasn’t.
Biletnikoff Award winner Corey Coleman took home took home the hardware as the nation’s top receiver, but first he took a selfie with it.
New James Bond?
With the announcement that Daniel Craig will not reprise his role as 007, maybe someone was trying to give us a hint that he’d be interested. I present to you Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland, who strutted down the red carpet in his cream jacket and jet-black tux trousers.
It only makes sense, considering he leaves offensive players shaken … not stirred.
“I knew I wanted to be different,” Ragland said of his outfit. “I’m not a simple person. If I were simple I wouldn’t be here.”
Keeping it real
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was snubbed when he wasn’t named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. While filming with ESPN.com earlier in the day, Mayfield, who led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff and threw for 3,389 yards with 35 touchdowns, let his frustration known about his snub.
“I feel like I’ve had a pretty good [season],” Mayfield told ESPN.com. “I feel like I deserved an invite to New York, but ultimately my goal is the national championship, so that’s what I’m focused on.”
Nick Saban, a guy who knows a thing or two about keeping it real, didn’t hold back during the playoff coaches press conference before the awards show. When asked about working with Mark Dantonio, whom Saban hired onto be his staff at Michigan State in 1995, the Alabama head coach gave a glowing review, as Dantonio beamed. But when the tables were turned and Dantonio was asked about game-planning for his former boss in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Saban was quick to jump in.
“He’s not gonna smile about that one,” Saban quipped.