Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron has won the Maxwell Award, given to college football's player of the year. McCarron was presented with the award Thursday during the 23d College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla.
The fifth-year senior led Alabama to an 11-1 season that left the Crimson Tide just short of a chance to play for its third straight national championship. He threw for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns with five interceptions. McCarron also is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, which will be handed out Saturday night. He won the Maxwell Award over Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, both Heisman finalists as well.
Winston won the Davey O'Brien Award as the top quarterback in the country. Earlier in the evening, Winston took home another honor: the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.
In other awards, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the defensive player of the year in college football. He also won the Outland Trophy, given to the nation's top interior lineman, earlier in the evening during the awards show at Disney. It capped a big week for Donald, who took home the Bronko Nagurski award this week as the best defensive player in the country, and the Lombardi Award given annually to the nation's top college lineman.
Also, Memphis senior Tom Hornsey was been chosen the winner of the Ray Guy Award winner as the nation's best punter.
Diaco takes UConn reins
Bob Diaco made quite an impression in his first news conference at UConn's head football coach.
The former Notre Dame defensive coordinator was introduced Thursday after signing a five-year, $8 million deal. His salary will rise from $1.5 million in the first year to $1.7 million in the fifth.
An enthusiastic Diaco quoted everyone from St. Augustine (in Latin) to Garth Brooks in explaining how he plans to build the Huskies into a championship program.
The 40-year-old Diaco said he will meet with the current UConn coaching staff before deciding on his staff.
The Huskies went 3-9 this season.
Elon hires Skrosky
Elon has hired Ball State assistant Rich Skrosky as its football coach, athletic director Dave Blank announced.
He replaces Jason Swepson, who was fired Nov. 25 after going 10-24 in three seasons. The Phoenix will begin play in the CAA in 2014 after competing in the Southern Conference since 2003.
Weber St. picks Hill
Weber State has chosen Utah assistant Jay Hill as its new head football coach. Hill replaces Jody Sears, who was fired after going just 4-19 in his two seasons. Hill is regarded as an excellent recruiter.