Season Seven has come to a close, and what a season it was. Memorable games and performances, players elevating themselves in the pursuit of a title, and some players raising the bar on what greatness looks like. With the end of the season, so too does awards season come to an end, and so we’ll cover them in order.
OPOTY: QB Leo ASIATA, NOTRE DAME
Asiata is one of three quarterbacks who were nominated for the award, with Auburn’s Griffin Jelkic and LSU’s Gage Youngblood joining him. Ohio State receiver Brayden Ennis was also honored with a nomination for his outstanding freshman campaign. The growth by Jelkic helped to lead Auburn to their first SEC title in CFSL history, while Youngblood was a major contributor in rejuvenating the LSU Tigers. But it was Asiata who displayed the most growth. He went into the voting with 3,064 yards, 23 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. But he ended the season, with 3,564 passing yards, 27 touchdown passes, and nine interceptions. His impressive performance in the National Championship game was one of the better ones we’ve seen on the stage, he just didn’t get the help needed to snag a title.
DPOTY: LB Isaiah Fowler, OHIO STATE
What a season for the defenses. Florida State corner Juan Cantu led the league in interceptions and was nominated, as was Auburn safety Ollie P. Peters who is the all-time interceptions leader, as well as finishing his career in the top five all-time in other defensive statistical categories. Florida linebacker Wyatt King was an unsung hero for much of the season despite his exceptional stats. But the energy and the drive of Ohio State linebacker Isaiah Fowler hit differently. Fowler led the league in tackles for most of the season with 90, recorded 20 tackles for a loss, and he generated a couple of turnovers along the way. Fowler was a one-man wrecking crew for the Buckeyes, and the scary part is that he’s only a freshman.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: QB LEO ASIATA, NOTRE DAME
The Fighting Irish gunslinger was joined in nomination by fellow Notre Dame linebacker Shoto Pence, Florida State corner Juan Cantu, and Texas receiver Lord Helix. Shoto Pence stepped up his game, needing to replace former linebacker Aaron Davis, while the change in scenery for Juan Cantu was exactly what he needed to step up his game and lead the league in interceptions. Lord Helix was the beneficiary of a change in scheme and a gunslinger at quarterback, but nothing like Asiata. The leap from 2,000 to 3,500 passing yards is astounding, as is his improved efficiency in limiting turnovers and scoring as an offense. All of the players nominated showed marked improvement, but not to the degree that Asiata displayed this season.
freshman of the year: LB Isaiah Fowler, Ohio State
What a season this man has had. If you haven’t read our All-American article yet, don’t worry, Fowler is talked about in there too. As a freshman, in the span of eight games, Fowler recorded 90 tackles. 90! Matching him was another freshman. Linebacker Cletus Castle of the Michigan Wolverines. Two linebackers within an intense rivalry. This is reminiscent of the Kobe King versus Nate Jones days. Joining Fowler in the nomination was fellow Buckeye and receiver Brayden Ennis, Clemson safety Isaac Krout, and quarterbacks Scott Fountain, Clayton Denny, and Gage Youngblood of Nebraska, Texas, and LSU respectively. The Freshman of the Year award raises another distinct question. How high will these players go in their careers, and how will they matchup against the all-time greats. Especially for a guy like Fowler who also won the Defensive Player of the Year award.
AD OF THE YEAR: BLACKPAW, USC
BlackPaw was able to build a National Championship team in only his second season as an AD, and also his last. We wish him the best of luck in his retirement as he elected to go out a Champion. Joining him in the nomination was Neversatisfied of Michigan and Matt Pack of Auburn. Two veteran and tenured athletic directors who have been around the block a few times. Both are established and respected members of the CFSL, and both have had their fair share of struggles and success, with Pack winning a National Championship just last season and Neversatisfied seeking his first title game appearance.
FAN OF THE YEAR: DORIAN, AKA “COPE”
The Fan of the Year award has recently seen a trophy attached to it and rightfully so. To be distinguished among your peers as the best fan of the season is both a privilege and an honor. We like to think everybody deserves to be in the Fan of the Year conversation, but only a select few are able to truly go above and beyond with their passion, enthusiasm and love of the league. This season’s candidates were no different with guys like 14rdavis, MrThunder, HexMafia, and Shane. All four of these candidates shared their enthusiasm and passion for the league almost daily for the league, and Shane has one the award once before but seemingly always keeps himself in the conversation every single season. But this season, all eyes go to the individual who not only has been distinguished as our best fan this season, but is also receiving the National Championship Trophy on behalf of USC, as he is the fan behind the receiver Tim Cope. Dorian’s passion and enthusiasm have been contagious this season, and we are thrilled to see that continue for seasons to come.