14 Semifinalists Announced For College Football Freshman Of The Year Award

USC wide receiver Zachariah Branch #1 celebrates after scoring against the University of Utah during an NCAA college football game, Oct. 21, 2023 in Los Angeles.


The 2023 college football season is approaching Week 10, so the games are as important as ever. Teams are jostling for position in the College Football Playoff rankings, and the top players are positioning themselves for some of the nation’s top awards.

This week, after the release of the inaugural College Football Playoff rankings for the 2023 season, the Maxwell Football Club announced its 14 semifinalists for the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award.

The award — named after former Alabama and Seattle Seahawks standout — has been presented since 2018.

Past winners include Trevor Lawrence (2018), Memphis’ Kenneth Gainwell (2019), Will Anderson Jr. of Alabama (2020), Georgia star Brock Bowers (2021), and, most recently, UNC quarterback Drake Maye.

Who could take home the hardware this year?

A full look at the 14 semifinalists can be seen below in alphabetical order by school.

  • Caleb Downs, Alabama, safety
  • Javante Mackey, Arkansas State, linebacker
  • T.J. Parker, Clemson, defensive end
  • D’Angelo Ponds, James Madison, cornerback
  • Rueben Bain, Miami, defensive end
  • Kevin Concepcion, North Carolina State, wide receiver
  • Nic Anderson, Oklahoma, wide receiver
  • Peyton Bowen, Oklahoma, safety
  • Dillon Thieneman, Purdue, safety
  • Jalon Kilgore, South Carolina, safety
  • Anthony Hill, Texas, linebacker
  • Taurean York, Texas A&M, linebacker
  • Zachariah Branch, USC, wide receiver
  • Parker Brailsford, Washington, offensive line

Finalists for the 6th annual Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year award will be on November 29, 2023, and the winner of the award will be announced on December 27, 2023.

The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards in March of 2024.

Here Are The First College Football Playoff Rankings Of The 2023 Season
Here Are The First College Football Playoff Rankings Of The 2023 Season