Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach and Freshman Player of the Year Winners Announced

Gainesville, Fla. (January 17, 2023) – After a dynamic season, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach Award winner and Freshman Player of the Year presented by Chris Doering Mortgage have been announced.

The First-Year Coach Award for 2022 will go to Sonny Dykes of Texas Christian University.

“I’m proud to announce Sonny Dykes as the winner of this year’s Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach Award which goes annually to a college coach in his first year at a school,” said Steve Spurrier. “Sonny Dykes and his TCU Horned Frogs had an impressive season including beating Michigan in the first playoff game before losing a heartbreaker in the national championship game. This award is well earned and well deserved, and we will look forward to seeing Coach Dykes here in February.”

Dykes is the first TCU coach to win the First-Year Coach Award. He was chosen over fellow impressive finalists Kalen DeBoer of Washington and Lincoln Riley of USC. Dykes also earned the FWAA’s Eddie Robinson Award as the National Coach of the Year. He is the first coach to earn both honors in the same season.

Under Dykes’ leadership, TCU posted a series of thrilling comebacks in the middle part of the season, wins that pushed the Horned Frogs from unranked in the preseason into the Top 10 of the national polls. A 17-point rally to beat Oklahoma State, an 18-point rally to beat Kansas State a week later, a defensive win at Texas and a walk-off field goal that beat Baylor in Waco sent TCU to the Big 12 championship and later into the College Football Playoff.

Dykes is only the third head coach in the CFP era to lead his program to the playoff in first season with his team. Picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 this season, TCU ascended to the No. 3 spot in both polls and the final CFP rankings. The Horned Frogs are just the second team to get to the CFP after beginning the season unranked in both major polls. TCU fell in the CFP National Championship to No. 1 Georgia, 65-7.

The unanimous Big 12 Coach of the Year became the first coach in conference history to start 12-0 in his first season. The Horned Frogs’ six wins over ranked opponents led the nation and TCU had 21 players receive All-Big 12 recognition from the conference’s head coaches. TCU was the Big 12’s first 9-0 regular-season league champion since 2016, the first Big 12 team since 2009 to finish the regular season 12-0, and Dykes is just the fourth head coach since 1996 to reach that mark.

During his career Dykes has also been head coach at Louisiana Tech (2010-12) and Cal (2013-16) and has been an assistant to head coaches Mike Stoops (Arizona), the late Mike Leach (Texas Tech) and Hal Mumme (Kentucky). He is the son of the late Spike Dykes, who coached Texas Tech in a school-record seven bowl games and was elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Previous winners of the First-Year Coach of the Year Award:

2002 Tyrone Willingham, Notre Dame
2003 Steve Kragthorpe, Tulsa
2004 Mike Price, UTEP
2005 Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
2006 Chris Petersen, Boise State
2007 Jeff Jagodzinski, Boston College
2008 Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
2009 Chip Kelly, Oregon
2010 Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
2011 Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
2012 Urban Meyer, Ohio State
2013 Gus Malzahn, Auburn
2014 Bryan Harsin, Boise State
2015 Tom Herman, Houston
2016 Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech; Clay Helton, USC
2017 Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma
2018 Josh Heupel, UCF
2019 Ryan Day, Ohio State
2020 Karl Dorrell, Colorado
2021 Josh Heupel, Tennessee / Shane Beamer, South Carolina (Co-winners)

Freshman Player of the Year presented by Chris Doering Mortgage will go to Drake Maye, quarterback at the University of North Carolina.

“The quarterback positon is one of natural leadership but what impressed me the most about Drake Maye is here is a redshirt freshman coming in following an accomplished starter like Sam Howell who moved on to the NFL and not only did he not miss a beat, he elevated them,” said College Football Analyst, Chris Doering.

Maye threw for 38 touchdowns and led the league in passing yards (4,321) and total touchdowns (45). For his dynamic efforts that led the Tar Heels (9-5) to the ACC’s Coastal Division title, the Football Writers Association of America awarded him as its Freshman Player of the Year presented by Chris Doering Mortgage. Maye earned the award over fellow finalists running back Quinshon Judkins of Ole Miss, linebacker Harold Perkins Jr. of LSU and running back Nicholas Singleton of Penn State.

“Really the most important thing about a quarterback is that he elevates the play of those around him,” continued Doering. The team rallied around him, they understood they had a guy that would give them an opportunity every time they took a step on the field. He has the natural skills but most impressive is his leadership and what he does to make his team around him better.”

Maye was sensational throughout the season, earning the ACC’s top accolades as player of the year, offensive player of the year and offensive rookie of the year. He is only the second player in the conference’s history to accomplish the feat – joining Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston from the 2013 season – and is only the second freshman to be named player of the year in ACC history. His 38 passing touchdowns were the second-most by an ACC freshman. He is only the sixth FWAA Freshman All-American from North Carolina and its first since fellow quarterback Sam Howell earned the same spot in 2019.

Maye finished the season completing 342-of-517 passes (66.2%) for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns while also leading the Tar Heels in rushing with 698 yards and seven TDs. He is just the sixth QB since 2010 to post 4,000 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, 650 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns in a season. The others were Kyler Murray (2018), DeShaun Watson (2015, ’16), Marcus Mariota (2014), Johnny Manziel (2013) and Robert Griffin III (2011) – each of them either won the Heisman Trophy or finished as the runner-up.

Maye headlines the FWAA’s 2022 Freshman All-America Team, a list of 32 first-year players who had standout seasons. Georgia, LSU and Penn State lead off that list with two players each among 29 different schools and all 10 FBS conferences plus independents represented.

The SEC led all conferences with nine members on the Freshman All-America Team. Judkins, a finalist for the Freshman Player of the Year Award, was the SEC’s Newcomer of the Year who led all SEC running backs with 1,567 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is Ole Miss’ first true freshman to ever earn FWAA Freshman All-America honors. National champion Georgia placed two defenders on the team, Malaki Starks in the secondary and defensive lineman Mykel Williams. Starks was the Bulldogs’ second-leading tackler with 67 going into the College Football Playoff Championship Game with 3.5 sacks, tied for second on the team, and Williams was 11th in tackles with 26. Sparking its rise to college football’s pinnacle, Georgia has had eight Freshman All-Americans the past five seasons. Five of the 14 defensive players hail from the SEC.

Perkins, a true freshman and also a finalist for Freshman Player of the Year, had an amazing season leading the Tigers in both sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (11.5). Perkins, LSU’s first linebacker to earn Freshman All-American honors, added 69 total tackles and 13 quarterback hurries. He was twice named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after wins over Alabama and Arkansas. He and offensive lineman Will Campbell, the Tigers’ first selection on the offensive line since 2015, give LSU five FWAA Freshman All-Americans in the last three seasons.

Singleton highlights the pair from Penn State, which led the Big Ten with two of the league’s five players. Singleton, a finalist for Freshman Player of the Year and the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year, was selected as the all-purpose player and finished with 1,061 rushing yards after a 120-yard effort in the Rose Bowl. Linebacker Abdul Carter is the Nittany Lions’ first Freshman All-American linebacker since its first honoree, Dan Conner, in 2004. Also from the Big Ten, defensive lineman Gabe Jacas is only Illinois’ second-ever honoree and its first since 2010. Both were defensive linemen.

In the Pac-12, Roger Rosengarten is Washington’s first-ever offensive lineman to make the team and its first since 2016. At Arizona, Jonah Saavaiinaea is the Wildcats’ first honoree on the offensive line since 2006 and its first since 2017. Wide receiver J. Michael Sturdivant is Cal’s first freshman to make the team since 2016 and only the school’s third-ever. The Pac-12 tied with the ACC and Big 12 with three honorees.

Texas (5), Louisiana (4), Florida (3) and Georgia (3) led the hometown states from which the All-Americans hailed. The complete 2022 FWAA Freshman All-America Team:


• QB Drake Maye, North Carolina (6-4, 220, Huntersville, N.C.)
• RB Quinshon Judkins, Ole Miss (5-11, 210, Pike Road, Ala.)
• RB Richard Reese, Baylor (5-9, 175, Bellville, Texas)
• WR Jared Brown, Coastal Carolina (6-0, 185, Lilburn, Ga.)
• WR Evan Stewart, Texas A&M (5-11, 170, Frisco, Texas)
• WR J. Michael Sturdivant, Cal (6-3, 205, Highland Village, Texas)
• TE Brady Hunt, Ball State (6-6, 245, Muncie, Ind.)
• OL Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas (6-4, 320, Humble, Texas)
• OL Will Campbell, LSU (6-6, 325, Monroe, La.)
• OL Blake Miller, Clemson (6-6, 315, Strongsville, Ohio)
• OL Mason Randolph, Boise State (6-4, 320, Yorba Linda, Calif.)
• OL Roger Rosengarten, Washington (6-6, 303, Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
• OL Jonah Savaiinaea, Arizona (6-5, 330, Tafuna, American Samoa)


• DL Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati (6-2, 320, Cincinnati, Ohio)
• DL Gabe Jacas, Illinois (6-3, 265, Port St. Lucie, Fla.)
• DL Deone Walker, Kentucky (6-6, 330, Detroit, Mich.)
• DL Mykel Williams, Georgia (6-5, 265, Columbus, Ga.)
• LB Jaishawn Barham, Maryland (6-3, 230, District Heights, Md.)
• LB Abdul Carter, Penn State (6-3, 233, Philadelphia, Pa.)
• LB Trey Moore, UTSA (6-3, 230, San Antonio, Texas)
• LB Harold Perkins Jr., LSU (6-2, 220, New Orleans, La.)
• DB Terrion Arnold, Alabama (6-0, 188, Tallahassee, Fla.)
• DB Kendal Daniels, Oklahoma State (6-4, 205, Beggs, Okla.)
• DB Mansoor Delane, Virginia Tech (6-1, 177, Silver Spring, Md.)
• DB Demetrius Hill, FIU (6-2, 190, Miami, Fla.)
• DB Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame (6-0, 179, Phoenix, Ariz.)
• DB Malaki Starks, Georgia (6-1, 205, Jefferson, Ga.)


• K Dominic Zvada, Arkansas State (6-2, 155, Chandler, Ariz.)
• P Anthony Venneri, Buffalo (6-0, 225, Hamilton, Ontario)
• KR Jaylin Lucas, Indiana (5-9, 185, Houma, La.)
• PR Zavion Thomas, Mississippi State (5-11, 190, Woodmere, La.)
• AP Nicholas Singleton, Penn State (6-0, 219, Shillington, Pa.)
• Denotes true freshman

Selections by conference: SEC 9, Big Ten 5, ACC 3, Pac-12 3, Big 12 3, Conference USA 2, Mid-American 2, Sun Belt 2, Independents 1, American Athletic 1, Mountain West 1.

Home states: Texas 5, Louisiana 4, Georgia 3, Florida 3, Arizona 2, Maryland 2, Ohio 2, Pennsylvania 2, Alabama, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma State 1, and American Samoa and Ontario 1.


2018: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson (Quarterback)
2019: Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis (All-Purpose)
2020 : Will Anderson Jr., Alabama (Linebacker)
2021: Brock Bowers, Georgia (Tight End)
2022: Drake Maye, North Carolina (Quarterback)

Previous winners of the Freshman of the Year Award:

2018 Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2019 Kenny Gainwell, RB, Memphis
2020 Will Anderson, LB, Alabama
2021 Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Spurrier, the College Football Hall of Famer who has also coached in the National Football League and other leagues, and former player and ESPN College Football Analyst Chris Doering will present the First-Year Coach and Freshman Player of the Year awards at a reception planned for Feb. 20, 2023 at Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille in Gainesville, Fla. During the event, will also be the presentation of the inaugural Steve Spurrier Legend Coach Award presented by Chris Doering Mortgage, going to Coach Bob Stoops for his stellar coaching career at Oklahoma from 1999-2016, where he notched a 191-48 record. Last year’s event was attended by the award winners, Coach Spurrier, Chris Doering, FWAA’s Mike Griffith, many other notable Gator and NFL greats, dignitaries from all three schools, members of the media and event sponsors.

For more information on attending or sponsoring the reception on February 27, 2023, which will include presentation of all three awards, please contact Tricia Garzon of the JAG Agency at (352) 214-2331.


Chris Doering Mortgage, based in Gainesville, FL, was established in April 2007 as a residential lending company providing mortgage products including conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loans. The branch is a division of – 3940 NW 16th Blvd., Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32605 – NMLS 70168/1937321. FHA Lender ID 2631500094. For more information, visit Chris Doering serves as the branch manager.


Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at (214) 870-6516 or

Mike Griffith, Freshman All-America Committee Chairman
Football Writers Association of America
(770) 845-3244

Tricia Garzon, Reception Coordinator
The JAG Agency, Inc.
(352) 214-2331