Handicapping the Biletnikoff Award
This has been the year of Amari Cooper for Alabama. The Crimson Tide are No. 1 in the nation and slated for a College Football Playoff semifinal showdown with Ohio State, with Cooper as the unquestioned star of the team.
Cooper is up for the most prestigious award in the nation for receivers, the Biletnikoff Award. The AP’s SEC Offensive Player of the Year will be in attendance at the The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, Fl., one of three receivers up for the Biletnikoff.
The SEC has only had one previous Biletnikoff winner: LSU’s Josh Reed in 2001. As of late, the Big 12 and Pac 12 have dominated, winning six of the last seven.
Meet the finalists
Amari Cooper, Alabama: The junior receiver has been on a record-breaking binge this season. He owns the Alabama and SEC single-season for catches (115), the Alabama single-season record for yards (1,656) and touchdowns (14) and the Alabama career catches mark (218). For good measure, he set this SEC Championship Game record with 12 receptions in Alabama’s 42-13 win over Missouri on Saturday. Cooper, a Heisman finalist, is the favorite to win the award.
Rashard Higgins, Colorado State: The only receiver in the country with more touchdowns (17) than Cooper, Higgins broke school records for yards (1,640) and catches (89) by late November. The sophomore finished second in the nation in receiving yards despite missing a game due to a shoulder injury. The 6-2 Higgins averaged more than 18 yards per catch in new Florida coach Jim McElwain’s offense at CSU.
Kevin White, West Virginia: White, a 6-3, 210 lbs. monster, does it all in the receiving game for WVU. He’s up to 102 catches for 1,318 yards and 9 TD this season, and his campaign includes five games with 10 or more catches, with a season-high of 16. The senior has climbed up draft boards after coming into the season as a relative unknown.