College football's best were honored Thursday night during the Home Depot College Football Awards at Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o won the Maxwell Award, given to the nation's most outstanding player. He is the first defensive player to win the award since 1980, ending a string of nine straight quarterbacks.
It's the sixth national award that Te'o has won since the end of the regular season. The Fighting Irish senior has also has won the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award and Walter Camp national player of the year award. He is also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented on Saturday.
The leader of the nation's top-ranked scoring defense, Te'o had 103 tackles and seven interceptions this season.
His coach, Brian Kelly, won coach of the year, becoming the first two-time winner, having previously received the honor in 2009 while at Cincinnati.
Kelly led the 12-0 Fighting Irish to the school's first undefeated regular season since 1988. Kelly joins Lou Holtz as the only Notre Dame coaches to post winning seasons in each of their first three seasons at the school. Notre Dame will take on Alabama in the BCS national championship game on January 7th.
Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel has become the first freshman to win the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. Manziel led the Aggies to a 10-2 record and a Cotton Bowl berth. He passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and posted a Southeastern Conference-record 4,600 yards of total offense on his way to his unanimous selection for Associated Press SEC offensive player of the year.
Texas A&M junior Luke Joeckel won the Outland Trophy as the nation's outstanding interior lineman. He helped the Aggies average 235.1 yards rushing per game. The Aggies also had the third-ranked scoring offense in the country at 44.8 points per game.
Wisconsin's Montee Ball won the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's outstanding running back. The senior rushed for 21 touchdowns and 1,730 yards this season to lead an offense that ranked 12th in the nation in rushing yards per game with 237.8. He helped propel the Badgers to a 70-31 win over Nebraska in the Big Ten title game, earning a Rose Bowl berth.
Johnthan Banks won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. The Mississippi State senior had 59 tackles, four interceptions and seven pass breakups this year. He was also chosen first-team All-SEC by The Associated Press.
Southern California sophomore Marqise Lee won the Biletnikoff Award for the nation's outstanding wide receiver. Lee was Pac-12 offensive player of the year after posting 112 receptions for 1,680 yards, both conference records. He had 15 touchdowns and averaged 215.7 all-purpose yards a game. He also had 2,588 all-purpose yards, the third-highest total in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Tulane's Cairo Santos won the Lou Groza Collegiate Place Kicker Award. Santos, originally from Brazil, converted all 21 of his field goal attempts this year, including 12 kicks of 40 yards or longer.
Louisiana Tech's Ryan Allen took home the Ray Guy Award for the second consecutive year. Allen recorded the highest punting average in the country at 48 yards per punt, totaling 2,162 yards for the season.