DALLAS (FWAA) The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announces finalists for the Steve Spurrier First Year Coach Award, which goes to the best coach in his first year at a school, and the
        FWAA Freshman Player of the Year Award, both presented by Chris Doering Mortgage.

Steve Spurrier First Year Coach Award finalists presented by Chris Doering Mortgage:

Shane Beamer, South Carolina: Beamer, the son of first-ballot College Football Hall of Famer Frank Beamer, helped the Gamecocks improve from 2-8 to 6-6 in his first season as a head coach. Beamer had to win games with three different quarterbacks two apiece · one a former FCS quarterback and another a former graduate assistant coach.

Gus Malzahn, UCF: Malzahn led the Knights to an 8-4 season, a two-game improvement from the 6-4 mark they ran up last season despite losing several key players, including QB Dillon Gabriel. Malzahn finished the season coaching with a broken tibia after being injured in a sideline collision, working some games from a sideline platform rather than going up into the coachs box and just finished off the highest recruiting class in school history.

Josh Heupel, Tennessee: Heupel led the Vols to a 7-5 record after taking over a program that went 3-7 the year before and was mired in an NCAA investigation left over from the previous staff. Heupel, a national championship quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up as a player at Oklahoma, is vying to become the first two-time winner of the Spurrier Award, having won it at Central Florida in 2018.

Freshman of the Year Award finalists presented by Chris Doering Mortgage:

TE Brock Bowers, Georgia: The SEC Newcomer of the Year and a second-team All-American, Bowers set Georgia all-time tight end records for receiving yards (791) and touchdowns (11), and he enters the College Football Playoffs needing three catches to set the receptions record. Bowers had a career-high 10 catches in the SEC Championship Game and recorded his fourth game with more than 100 yards receiving.

QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State: The Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year currently has the best Ohio State single-season mark for passing efficiency (182.2), completion percentage (70.9) and passing yards per game (351.1). The Buckeyes led the nation in total offense and scoring offense with Stroud under center, and Stroud was a finalist for the Davy OBrien national quarterback of the year award.

DE Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State: The Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year tied for seventh in the nation with 11.5 sacks for an Oklahoma State team that led the Big 12 and finished eighth in the nation in scoring defense. Oliver came through with two sacks in the Cowboys win over Oklahoma, and two more in the Big 12 Championship Game against Baylor.

This will be the 21st straight season in which the FWAA has named a Freshman of the Year and the 20th consecutive year for the First Year Coach Award, although the first time with a namesake for the award, Steve Spurrier. The winner of each award will be announced in January 2022.

Spurrier, along with former player Chris Doering of Chris Doering Mortgage, is planning a February dinner to honor the winners. The site of the dinner in the state of Florida will be announced at a future time.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.