The 2017 Florida Gators had one of their most forgettable seasons in program history. It was huge mess for the Gators all season long with suspensions and tons of injuries to their top players. The quarterback position continues to be an issue as redshirt-freshman Feleipe Franks struggled all season long and was benched twice. Outside of running back, every position took a step back which led to coaches being fired including Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier. Thankfully, it wasn’t all bad for the Gators as they had some decent moments in the season with big plays and freshman making big contributions. Here are the season awards for the 2017 Florida Gators.
Jim Thorpe Award- CB C.J. Henderson
The Jim Thorpe Award is given to the top defensive back of the yard. The true freshman C.J. Henderson is the Florida Gators’ Jim Thorpe Award winner. Henderson had a great freshman season as he was one of the leaders in the Florida secondary. He capped off his freshman season with four interceptions including two of them being returned for touchdowns. He also had four pass breakups and 22 tackles. Henderson was also named AP All-SEC Second Team.
Honorable Mention: CB Duke Dawson and CB Marco Wilson
Dick Butkus Award- LB David Reese
The Dick Butkus Award is given to the top linebacker of the year. The sophomore David Reese is the Florida Gators’ Dick Butkus Award winner. Reese had a great sophomore season and has become one of the leaders in this Gators football team. Reese led the Gators in solo tackles with 46, assist tackles with 56 and total tackles with 102. He is also second in tackles for loss with 10 only behind Cece Jefferson. Reese also had 1.5 sacks and one interceptions against Tennessee.
Honorable Mention: LB Vosean Joseph and LB Jeremiah Moon
Outland Award- DT Taven Bryan
The Outland Award is given to the top interior lineman of the year. The redshirt-junior Taven Bryan is the Florida Gators’ Outland Award winner. Bryan had a breakout season after sitting behind Jonathan Bullard and Caleb Brantley. “The Wyoming Wildman” played like a madman as he beating double teams and causing havoc in the backfield. Bryan started every game this season and had six tackle for loss this season. He also had four sacks and three quarterback hurries. Bryan is expected to forgo his senior season and enter the 2018 NFL Draft. Bryan is expected to be an early round pick due to his size and strength. Some mock drafts have Bryan has a middle first round pick.
Honorable Mention: DE Cece Jefferson and OT Martez Ivey
Fred Biletnikoff Award- WR Brandon Powell
The Fred Biletnikoff Award is giving to the top wide receiver of the year. Senior wide receiver Brandon Powell is the Florida Gators’ Fred Biletnikoff Award winner. Powell had a pretty good sophomore season with a lot of big plays. Powell finished his final season with the Florida Gators on a high note. He led the team in receptions with 42 and in touchdowns with three. He also finished second in receiving yards with 406, just four behind Tyrie Cleveland. Powell also had a rushing touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats. The senior wide receiver was one of the biggest parts of Florida’s offense. He was Feleipe’s go to receiver on third downs and finished with one of the most receptions in Florida Gators’ history.
Honorable Mention: WR Tyrie Cleveland and WR Josh Hammond
Doak Walker Award- RB Lamical Perine
The Doak Walker Award is giving to the top running back of the year. The sophomore running back Lamical Perine is the Florida Gators’ Doak Walker Award winner. Perine was expected to be Florida’s #2 running back behind Jordan Scarlett. The Alabama native became Florida’s top backs once Scarlett was suspended for the credit card issues. Perine had a really solid sophomore season as he led the Gators in rushing yards and touchdowns. He had 136 carries for 562 and eight touchdowns. Perine almost had more the same amount of touchdowns as his quarterback, Feleipe Franks.
Honorable Mention: RB Malik Davis and RB Mark Thompson
Heisman Trophy Winner- P Johnny Townsend
The Heisman Trophy winner is given to the most outstanding player of the year. The senior punter is the Florida Gators’ Heisman Trophy winner. As sad as it sounds, the Florida Gators’ MVP was their punter. Johnny Townsend is arguably the best punter in the country but he was also Florida’s most valuable player. Townsend finished tied for second in the country in yards per punt with 47.5 yards. He had 27 punts over 50 yards and 27 punts that were pinned inside the 20. His longest punt of the season was a 70 yard punt. Townsend is one of the few punters in the country that is expected to hear their name called in the 2018 NFL Draft. Townsend was also named AP All-SEC First Team.
Honorable Mention: K Eddy Pinero and RB Lamical Perine
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