Three of college football’s top 14 freshmen play for Ohio State.
The Maxwell Football Club announced 14 semifinalists for the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award on Thursday, and Ohio State is the only school with three players on the list, as redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud, true freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson and true freshman cornerback Denzel Burke were all selected as semifinalists.
Georgia (tight end Brock Bowers and cornerback Kelee Ringo) is the only other school with multiple semifinalists for the award. Clemson safety Andrew Mukuba, Coastal Carolina defensive end Josiah Stewart, Marshall running back Rasheen Ali, Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams, Oklahoma State defensive end Collin Oliver, Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy, Texas A&M cornerback Tyreek Chappell and Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen are the other semifinalists.
Stroud, who already earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors (along with Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Quarterback of the Year honors) on Wednesday, makes the list of semifinalists after completing 70.9 percent of his passes for 3,862 yards and 38 touchdowns with only five interceptions in 11 regular season games. Stroud has the third-best quarterback rating (182.2), the fourth-most passing yards per game (351.1) and the fifth-most passing touchdowns among all Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks this year.
Henderson makes the list of semifinalists after rushing for 1,165 yards on just 166 carries – an average of more than seven yards per attempt – and 15 touchdowns while also catching 23 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season. His 19 touchdowns scored broke Maurice Clarett’s record for the most touchdowns ever scored by an Ohio State freshman.
Denzel Burke is a semifinalist after starting all 12 of Ohio State’s regular-season games at cornerback and immediately establishing himself as the Buckeyes’ No. 1 cornerback, holding opposing receivers to just 30 catches and 321 yards with zero touchdowns on 62 targets, per Pro Football Focus.
Three finalists for the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award will be announced on Dec. 21, while the winner will be announced prior to the national championship game on Jan. 10.