The Maxwell Football Club Announces Maxwell and Bednarik Award Winners


Maxwell Football Club Executive Director Mark Wolpert announced today that University of Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith has been selected as the winner of the 84th Maxwell Award as the Collegiate Player of the Year, and that University of Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins is the winner of the 26th Chuck Bednarik Award for the Collegiate Defensive Player of the Year.

The winners of the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award were announced tonight as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show, broadcast for the first time in a virtual format from the ESPN studios in Bristol, CT.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Collins totaled 54 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions. The junior had three sacks against Oklahoma State. Two of his interceptions were game-clinchers -- a late one against SMU and a 96-yard return for a touchdown against Tulane in overtime. He was selected as a First Team All-American by Pro Football Focus and is the first Tulsa player to win the Chuck Bednarik Award.

On the verge of becoming the most decorated receiver in SEC history, Smith set numerous school records as a senior in 2020. He teamed up with Mac Jones and Najee Harris to form one of the most prolific offensive triumvirates in recent memory, leading the Crimson Tide to a perfect 12-0 mark, SEC Championship and a wire to wire No. 1 national ranking during the regular season. Despite standing 6-foot-1 and weighing a slight 175 pounds, Smith became the best wide receiver and the most accomplished player in college football. He leads the FBS in receptions (105), receiving yards (1,641) and receiving touchdowns (20). He has dropped only two passes all season. In addition to the Maxwell Award, Smith has also collected a slew of other major honors including the Heisman Trophy, the Biletnikoff Award, the Walter Camp Player of the Year and the Associated Press College Player of the Year.

No. 1 Alabama faces off with No. 3 Ohio State in the national championship game hosted by the Orange Bowl on January 11th.

Joe Burrow (LSU) was the 2019 Maxwell Award winner, and Ohio State’s Chase Young was the recipient of last year’s Bednarik Award. Burrow and Young were selected with the first two picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and play for the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Football team respectively. The formal presentation of this year’s Maxwell and Bednarik awards will be later this spring on the winner’s campuses due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Eligible voters for the Maxwell and Bednarik awards include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA FBS head football coaches, sports information directors, and selected national media. All questions concerning the winners or the awards presented by the Maxwell Football Club can be directed to Mark Wolpert, Maxwell Football Club Executive Director, at, or to Richard Cirminiello, Director of Collegiate Awards at

The Maxwell and Chuck Bednarik Awards are members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1977, the NCFAA and its 25 awardsnow boast over 800 recipients, dating back to 1935. Visit to learn more about our story.


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