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Finalists announced for Earl Campbell Trophy

Ashton Pollard12/15/21
Article written by:On3 imageAshton Pollard

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Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Tuesday, five finalists were announced for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, an honor which will be announced on Jan. 12. 

The award is named for legendary Texas running back Earl Campbell and is given to the nation’s outstanding offensive player who meets one of the following criteria: born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school or played college football in the state. According to the award’s website, the “player must always exhibit the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell, including integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, community and tenacity.”

This year’s finalists are: 

UTSA running back Sincere McCormick: McCormick is a finalist for the Earl Campbell Award for the second year in a row after another impressive campaign. The running back leads Conference-USA in rushing by over 200 yards, and he is fifth nationally. McCormick helped lead the Roadrunners to their first AP ranking and season with double-digit wins in school history. 

Baylor running back Abram Smith: Smith is a senior from Abilene, Tx. and had a standout 2021 season. He entered college as a running back, played linebacker in 2020 and returned to his initial position in his fifth year. Smith was seventh in the nation in rushing yardage this year with 1,429 yards. An incredibly shifty and explosive back, Smith had a run of at least 30 yards in eight games. The veteran helped Baylor earn their first Big 12 Championship Game victory and a Sugar Bowl berth after going 2-7 in 2020. 

Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn: The 5-foot-6, 172-pound sophomore built on his impressive freshman year, more than doubling his production in his second season. Vaughn had 1,258 yards and 15 touchdowns, and the dual-threat back caught 47 passes for 471 yards and three scores. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Vaughn posted eight games with more than 100 rushing yards, and he never had fewer than 95 all-purpose yards in a game this season.

Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson: Part of what is undoubtedly the best wide receiver room in the country, Wilson is a native of Austin and attended Lake Travis (Tx.) High School. The junior is fourth in the nation in receiving yards (1,058) and tied for second in touchdown catches (12). The Ohio State offense led the nation in yards per game with 551.1 and points per game with 45.5. Wilson was a huge part of that explosive group. ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Wilson currently listed as the No. 15 overall prospect for this spring’s NFL Draft.

Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe: Zappe is eligible for the award because is a native of Victoria, Tx. The graduate student is destroying the passing field this year, as he has thrown for 5,545 yards, 56 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. For comparison, Mississippi State’s Will Rogers is second in the nation in passing yardage with 4,451 yards. Zappe is just the sixth quarterback in FBS history to eclipse both 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns in a season. The signal caller has become an NFL Draft pick for the second or third day and catapulted himself into the national limelight after spending his initial college years at Houston Baptist University.