LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o has won the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding player, as Wisconsin’s Montee Ball got a national nod as the outstanding running back.
Te’o was presented with the award Thursday at the Home Depot College Football Awards show at Disney World. He beat out finalists and quarterbacks Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M and Collin Klein from Kansas State. 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.
Te’o is also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented on Saturday.
Meanwhile, running back Ball has won the Doak Walker Award.
The Wisconsin senior beat out fellow finalists Kenjon Barner from Oregon and UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin.
Ball 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.
Wisconsin will be the first five-loss team to play in the Rose Bowl and is the first school to represent the conference in three consecutive Rose Bowls since Michigan.
Also Thursday, Manziel has become the first freshman to win the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)