TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – No. 7 Florida State received good news on the first day of its bye week as three Seminoles – EJ Manuel, Bjoern Werner and Xavier Rhodes - were named as semifinalists for national player of the year awards Monday.
Manuel, a redshirt senior quarterback from Virginia Beach, Va., added 2012 Maxwell Award Semifinalist to his resume as he was chosen one of 16 semifinalists for the 76th Maxwell Award for the Collegiate Player of the Year. He has already been named a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award given to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award.
Manuel is putting together one of the best seasons by not only an FSU quarterback but by an Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback. He currently ranks third nationally in passing efficiency (174.03) and 31st in total offense (282.11) as the Seminoles rank eighth nationally in total offense (524.6 ypg), fourth in scoring offense (44.8 ppg) and 24th in passing offense (290.0 ypg).
In 2012, Manuel has completed 70 percent (161-of-230) of his passes for 2,315 yards with 16 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. He’s also run for 224 yards and a TD. Manuel is FSU’s career leader for completion percentage at 67.3 percent (498-of-740), which also currently makes him the all-time ACC leader for career completion percentage. His 6,659 career passing yards ranks fifth all-time in FSU history and his 40 career touchdown passes puts him ninth all-time at FSU. He is averaging 14.4 yards per completion in 2012 and 13.4 yards per completion in his career. For his career, Manuel is 21-5 as a starter including 15-2 in his last 17 starts and 13-3 against ACC opponents. He is just the eighth FSU quarterback to win at least 20 games in a career.
Werner, a junior defensive end from Berlin, Germany, was chosen as one of 16 semifinalists for the 18th ChucK Bednarik Adward presented by Cracker Barrel for the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Werner and teammate Cornellius “Tank” Carradine are semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Trophy given to the top college lineman of the year.
Werner leads FSU with 12.5 tackles for loss and ties for the ACC and team-lead in sacks (8.0) with Carradine. He has 27 total tackles (20 solo, seven assisted) while adding five quarterback hurries, five pass break-ups and one forced fumble to the nation’s No. 2 defense. FSU also ranks third nationally in rushing defense (72.89 ypg), scoring defense (12.0 ppg) and fourth in pass efficiency defense (90.89). In just 36 career games, Werner has already amassed 15.5 sacks, 29.5 TFL and 14 passes batted down. His 29.5 TFL ties for 15th all-time at FSU.
Rhodes, a redshirt junior cornerback from Miami, Fla., is the only ACC player selected as one of 15 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s top defensive back. One of top lockdown corners in the country, Rhodes has accounted for 25 tackles, a team-best two interceptions and a career-high six pass-breakups for the nation’s No. 2 defense. FSU ranks fourth in pass efficiency defense (90.89) and sixth nationally in pass defense (154.22) while leading the ACC in both categories. Rhodes anchors a FSU secondary that has held eight of the top 10 receivers in the ACC to a combined 19 catches for 199 yards.
The winners of the 76th Maxwell Award and the 18th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show which will be broadcast on ESPN on Dec. 6, 2012. Three finalists for each award will be announced on Nov. 19, 2012 and a second round of voting will take place at that time. The formal presentation of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Gala which will be held on Friday, Mar. 1, 2013 at the Harrah's Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Semifinalist voting for both of the collegiate awards presented by the Maxwell Football Club will begin on Tuesday, October 30th and close on Sunday November 18th. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA Head Football Coaches, Sports Information Directors and selected national media.
The three Thorpe Award finalists will be named on Monday, Nov. 19 and the winner will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 6 airing on ESPN. The winner of the 2012 Thorpe Award will be honored at a banquet in Oklahoma City on Feb. 5, 2013.
Darby, Jones Earn ACC Weekly Honors
Florida State’s Christian Jones earned ACC Linebacker of the Week honors after making 11 tackles as the Seminoles limited Duke to a season-low 232 yards in a 48-7 victory. Freshman cornerback Ronald Darby was named the Co-Defensive Back of the Week after playing a key role in a stout Florida State pass defense that limited the Blue Devils to just 129 yards through the air.
Jones, a second-year starter, registered eight of his season-high 11 tackles in the first quarter and three of those were tackles for loss, which eclipsed his previous career-high of two. He finished the night with three tackles for loss, while eight of his 11 tackles were solo stops. Florida State’s defense leads the ACC in every major category and ranks second nationally in total defense.
Continuing his season-long role as the first corner off the bench for the Seminoles, Darby a true freshman from Oxon Hill, Md., was instrumental in another shutdown performance by the Florida State defense. He finished with four tackles (three solo stops) and provided solid coverage on a day when Duke’s passing game could not get going. Florida state limited Duke quarterbacks to 129 passing yards on a 16 of 37 performance and shut down Blue Devils’ receiving star Connor Vernon, who had three receptions for 12 yards. The Seminoles rank fourth nationally in pass efficiency defense (90.89) and sixth in passing defense (154.22 ypg).