CLEMSON – Last year Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was recipient of the Bobby Bowden Award, which is presented annually to the Division I player who epitomizes the consummate student-athlete.
The award could go to a Clemson player for a second consecutive year after graduate linebacker Dorian O’Daniel was named one of four finalists for the award on Friday.
O’Daniel, of Olney, Maryland, has enjoyed a breakout season for the top-ranked Tigers (12-1), who will play No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.
O’Daniel leads the Tigers with 99 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He also has broken up three passes, recovered two fumbles and intercepted two passes, both of which he returned for touchdowns. He is the only linebacker in school history with two interception returns for touchdowns in the same season.
O’Daniel was named a first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated on Thursday and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, which is given to the top linebacker in college football.
The award, named after former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, recognizes the player who represents God, his family, his institution and his community while conducting himself as an exemplary model in the classroom, on the field, on campus and in the community.
The other finalists include Micah Kiser of Virginia, Harrison Phillips of Stanford and Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State. The award ceremony will take place in Atlanta on Jan. 7.
Scott Keepfer, The Greenville News