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College football midseason awards

While not every FBS conference has started its season, it's still not too early to highlight some of the great performances to this point on the 2020 campaign. As we offer a look at our midseason national awards, keep in mind, this is just based on those actually playing at the moment.

We know the likes of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields will be part of the Heisman Trophy conversation, and others from the Big Ten and Pac-12 will be in the conversation for some of the nation's top awards. That said, here's a look at who's stood out thus far.

 
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Coach of the year: Mack Brown, North Carolina

Coach of the year: Mack Brown, North Carolina
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Even when the Big Ten and Pac-12 get back to business, it's going to be tough to surpass the 69-year-old Brown in this area. On his second stint at North Carolina, Brown has the Tar Heels sitting 3-0 and ranked No. 5 in this week's Top 25 from The Associated Press. Now, the road gets tougher for Carolina, but Brown deserves plenty of credit for the current status of a program.

 
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Broyles Award (Top assistant coach): Tony Elliott, Clemson

Broyles Award (Top assistant coach): Tony Elliott, Clemson
Ken Ruinard/Greenville News via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA TODAY

Not much surprise here. Elliott's Clemson offense is averaging 42.3 points and is led by two of the nation's top players in quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. The Tigers are a well-oiled, offensive machine and Elliott, as offensive coordinator, is obviously a big reason why. Then again, he expects the most from his players and won't allow them to take anything for granted.

 
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Guy Award (Top punter): Jake Camarda, Georgia

Guy Award (Top punter): Jake Camarda, Georgia
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The junior has improved each season for the Bulldogs. Currently as a junior, Camarda enters this weekend's action ranked No. 1 in the country averaging 51.4 yards per punt. Camarda is one two punters in the nation to average at least 50 yards per attempt. Perhaps the only downfall in winning the Guy Award is that he doesn't get many attempts per game (11 total this season) considering Georgia's strong offense.

 
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Groza Award (Top kicker): Alex Hale, Oklahoma State

Groza Award (Top kicker): Alex Hale, Oklahoma State
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The sophomore is not even on the preseason Groza Award watchlist. That's because there was no certainty he would earn the starting place-kicker job for the Cowboys. However, he's made the most of the opportunity, converting all nine of his field-goal and extra-point attempts through three contests. He made all more of his field-goal tries in Oklahoma State's most recent win over Kansas.

 
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Hornung Trophy (Most versatile player): Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Hornung Trophy (Most versatile player): Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
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Let's start by noting that news of versatile Purdue star and 2018 Hornung winner Rondale Moore deciding to opt back in for the 2020 season obviously puts him in the running here. That said, Waddle is one of the most exciting players in the country. While his return numbers don't stand out over a small sample size (just three returns), he's recorded 19 catches for 396 yards with three touchdowns through three games. 

 
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Thorpe Award (Top defensive back): Kaiir Elam, Florida

Thorpe Award (Top defensive back): Kaiir Elam, Florida
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There's a good chance Ohio State's Shaun Wade (who has opted back in for the 2020 season) will earn this award. Of course, he has not played a game yet, so let's focus on someone actually on the field. Now, LSU's Derek Stingley Jr. has been nicked up and Patrick Surtain II of Alabama likely to be in consideration, but we're going with Elam. Through three games, Elam ranks among the national leaders with six pass break-ups and is third on the team with 19 tackles.

 
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Butkus Award (Top linebacker): Monty Rice, Georgia

Butkus Award (Top linebacker): Monty Rice, Georgia
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At the moment, it's time to show Rice some love. He's arguably the best defensive player on a Bulldogs' team allowed 37 points through three games. Rice, who has recorded 188 tackles in three-plus seasons at Georgia, has also recovered a fumble and scored a touchdown in 2020. Now, Alabama's Dylan Moses and Boston College's Isaiah McDuffie are also worth a mention.

 
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Hendricks Award (Top defensive end): Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh

Hendricks Award (Top defensive end): Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh
Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire

As we enter this weekend's play, Jones leads the nation with seven sacks through five games. That's 1 1/2 fewer than he recorded all last season as a junior. With the likes of Gregory Rousseau, of Miami, Fla., opting out this season, Jones has the potential to certainly make a name for himself. He's certainly off to a good start.

 
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Outland Trophy (Top interior lineman): Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

Outland Trophy (Top interior lineman): Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
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Even if there were a full batch of FBS teams currently playing, Leatherwood would still likely be at top of the list of Outland contenders. It also helps that Oregon star Penei Sewell opted out for the 2020 season, and remained committed to do so even with the Pac-12 coming back. That said, Ohio State's Wyatt Davis should also be a contender once Big Ten play resumes.

 
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Rimington Award (Top center): Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

Rimington Award (Top center): Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
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Humphrey has been one of the best at his position over the past two seasons. Now, it appears he has the stage all to himself. Oklahoma has been inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball out of the gate in 2020, but Humphrey remains a dependable force on the offensive line. That all makes for a potentially bright future when talking Humphrey's NFL future.

 
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Mackey Award (Top tight end): Kyle Pitts, Florida

Mackey Award (Top tight end): Kyle Pitts, Florida
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In addition to being arguably the best tight end in the country, Pitts is also getting some Heisman love through certain media outlets. Pitts has already caught 17 passes and a remarkable seven touchdowns -- to go with 274 receiving yards -- through three games for the Gators. To put things perspective, Pitts totaled six touchdown catches in his previous two seasons at Florida. 

 
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Biletnikoff Award (Top wide receiver): DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Biletnikoff Award (Top wide receiver): DeVonta Smith, Alabama
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Smith and teammate Jaylen Waddle are perhaps the best 1-2 receiving combination in the country. Smith leads the Crimson Tide with 27 receptions while totaling 316 yards with a couple of touchdowns. In 37 career games, Smith has recorded 145 receptions and 25 touchdowns. At the moment, there is no finer receiver who consistently performs on an elite level as expected.

 
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Doak Walker Award (Top running back): Travis Etienne, Clemson

Doak Walker Award (Top running back): Travis Etienne, Clemson
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Throw some props to Alabama's Najee Harris, who enters this week with a national-best 10 rushing touchdowns. Etienne, though, gets the nod at this point. He's sits in the top 10 nationally with 392 rushing yards and also ranks among the nation's best pass-catching running backs with 17 receptions for 245 yards. As we've seen over the past couple of seasons, there might not be a more complete back in the country than Etienne.

 
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O'Brien; Unitas Awards (Top quarterback): Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, Jr.

O'Brien; Unitas Awards (Top quarterback): Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, Jr.
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No surprise, right? Lawrence is expected to be challenged by Ohio State's Justin Fields, and Florida's Kyle Trask is also off to a solid start. However, Lawrence has the potential to make a clean sweep of the "top quarterback" awards for 2020. Through four games, the junior has completed 72.4 of his passes for 1,140 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. Tough to beat those early numbers.

 
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Bednarik; Nagurski Awards (Top defender): Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh

Bednarik; Nagurski Awards (Top defender): Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh
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With Penn State's Micah Parsons opting out of the 2020 season, there is really no clear-cut favorite to earn any of these defensive player of the year awards. We've highlighted good ones in Elam and Rice, while others such as Dylan Moses and potentially Ohio State's Shaun Wade will be serious contenders. However, at the moment, let's go with Jones as snapshot in time.

 
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Heisman Trophy: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson, Jr.

Heisman Trophy: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson, Jr.
Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY Sports

Again, not a surprise. We've already offered up Lawrence's stats through four games, but the fact he has yet to throw an interception is quite impressive. So, who provides the main challenge to Lawrence for college football's most prestigious award? Ohio State's Fields and Lawrence's teammate Etienne seem to be the most logical names to be in the hunt when the season ends.

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.

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