The Espy is among the most well-known global sports awards and it stands for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award.
The award, which is presently given out by the American broadcast television network ABC, was historically awarded to honor outstanding athletic success on the part of both individuals and teams, as well as other sports-related achievements, during the year that came before the event.
Winners of the ESPY Awards were exclusively determined by fan votes from the beginning of the program until 2004. Since 2004, ESPN personalities, as well as sports journalists, broadcasters, executives, and athletes, have cast votes from among the nominees chosen by the ESPY Nominating Committee. Award winners are finally selected by online fan voting.
Are you interested in finding the best male college athlete ESPY? Well, you’re in the right place. This post covers everything you need to know about the Top 15 male college athlete ESPY.
Overview of the Best Male College Athlete Espy Award
Each year, the ESPY Award for Best College Athlete recognizes a male collegiate athlete’s accomplishments in Sports.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association presents the award trophy to the sportsperson deemed to be the greatest among those competing in the collegiate sport in the United States for a specific calendar year.
Earlier, the awarding body had a best male college basketball player and best college football player category. The categories became merged in 2002 to form the best male college athlete Espy.
With nine triumphs and 14 nominations, American footballers have had the greatest success at the awards. Basketball players have come in second place with seven victories and 19 nominations.
How is the Best Male College Athlete Espy chosen?
Since the beginning of the ESPY Awards in 2002, celebrations are usually held in February of each year to recognize accomplishments from the prior calendar year.
A select group of professionals selects athletes from different sports who have proven themselves during the last season.
The ESPN Nominating Committee then selects the male college athlete to espy award winner through online voting. Subsequent awards are also awarded in July and focus on performance from the previous June.
Also read: Scholar-Athlete Awards 2022 | USA [ONGOING]
Best Male College Athlete Espy
So let’s get started. If you love sports, you may already be familiar with some of these athletes. Below are some of Espy’s best male college athletes.
#1. Bryce Young
Bryce Young is an American football quarterback Christopher. He plays for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021 and currently holds the record for the most passing yards in a single game by an Alabama quarterback (559).
Young filled in for junior quarterback Mac Jones for the 2020 season during his first year at Alabama. He made his college debut against Missouri in 2020. In the last minutes of the third quarter at Faurot Field. Bryce Young had a 5-of-8 passing performance for 54 passing yards and two running yards on four carries that evening.
Bryce Young has 156 throwing yards and one touchdown at the end of the 2020 season after making an appearance in nine games overall. Additionally, he participated in the decisive play in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Bryce Young is one of the best Male college athletes Espy, also holding the most recent 2022 ESPY Award for the category.
#2. DeVonta Smith
DeVonta Smith is a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League and one of Espy’s best male college athletes. He played college football for Alabama, where as a senior in 2020, he amassed over 1,800 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Along with several other trophies and recognitions, DeVonta Smith received the Heisman Trophy for his achievements. He was only the fourth wide receiver overall to win the Heisman since Desmond Howard in 1991. Before the Eagles selected him as the tenth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, he also won two national titles while playing at Alabama.
Devona Smith’s first NFL grab resulted in his first career touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in the first week. For the Eagles, Devonta Smith had a strong rookie campaign, hauling in 64 passes for 916 yards and five scores. With 916 yards, he broke the Eagle’s rookie mark for receiving yards in a calendar year.
#3. Deshaun Watson
American football quarterback Derrick Deshaun Watson plays for the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns. He participated in collegiate football at Clemson, where in 2016 he helped the team win a title. The Houston Texans chose Watson in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Texans won consecutive division titles in 2018 and 2019, and Watson topped the league in passing yards in 2020 after having his excellent debut season cut short by injury. Additionally, during each of his three seasons as Houston’s main starter, he was also recognized with Pro Bowl accolades.
Deshaun Watson is also the second all-time in lifetime passer rating and has the best career completion of all time. According to Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Focus, and ESPN Deshaun Watson was the best quarterback available in the draft. Deshaun Watson is one of the best male college athletes, ESPY.
#4. Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield is undeniably one of the best male college athletes ESPY winners. He is a professional basketball player from the Bahamas who plays for the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Association. He won four prestigious national players of the year accolades in 2016: the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith Award, Sporting News Player of the Year, and the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
Buddy Hield has twice been voted the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. The New Orleans Pelicans picked Hield with the sixth overall choice in the 2016 NBA Draft. In 2017, the Sacramento Kings acquired Hield in a trade.
After his senior year at Oklahoma, Hield earned the John R. Wooden Award on April 7, 2016, for best college basketball player for the 2015–16 campaign, during which he averaged 25 points, 5.7 rebounds, two assists per game, and was first in the country for three-pointers made. In 2016, Buddy Hield won the ESPY award for the best male college athlete.
#5. Marcus Mariota
American football quarterback Marcus Mariota plays for the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons. The Tennessee Titans selected him in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. At Oregon, where he played collegiate football, from 2012 to 2014, Mariota was the team’s starting quarterback.
Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy as a junior in 2014, making history as the first athlete from Hawaii and a player for the University of Oregon. He also led the Titans to three straight winning seasons. He is one of the best male college athletes Espy.
#6. Doug McDermott
American professional basketball player Douglas McDermott plays for the National Basketball Association’s San Antonio Spurs. He was a three-time unanimous first-team All-American while playing college basketball at Creighton University when he led the country in scoring in 2013–14. McDermott is one of the best Male college athletes ESPY.
Dough McDermott concluded his collegiate career with the fifth-most points in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history, earning him the title of undisputed national player of the year as a senior in 2014. The Denver Nuggets chose McDermott with the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft after graduating from Creighton.
#7. Johnny Manziel
American football quarterback Johnny Manziel plays for the Fan Controlled Football team, the FCF Zappers. He spent two seasons with the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns in addition to playing for the Alliance of American Football’s Memphis Express in 2019, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League in 2018, and the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL in 2018.
Johnny Manziel, a dual-threat quarterback who was heavily recruited out of high school, made his Texas A&M Aggies debut as a redshirt freshman under Kevin Sumlin’s Air Raid scheme. He became the first freshman and the sixth player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and carry for 1,000 yards in the same season, among several other NCAA Division I FBS and SEC records he broke.
Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Manning Award, and Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award after the regular season.
#8. Robert Griffin
American football quarterback Robert Griffin is one of the best. Griffin played collegiate football at Baylor, where as a senior he took home the Heisman Trophy. The Washington Redskins chose him second overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, where he began his National Football League (NFL) career. Robert Griffin is one of the best male college athletes ESPY.
Griffin led Washington to their first division title since 1999 during his brilliant rookie season, setting league records for a first-year quarterback’s passer rating and touchdown-to-interception ratio. He was also named Offensive Rookie of the Year and selected to the Pro Bowl. He is the 2012 Espy’s best male college athlete.
#9. Jimmer Fredette
We can’t make a review of ESPY’s best male college athletes without adding Jimmer Fredette. American professional basketball player Jimmer Fredette plays for the Shanghai Sharks in the Chinese Basketball Association.
In 2011, Fredette was the NCAA Division I’s top scorer during his senior season with the BYU Cougars, earning him the title of National Player of the Year in collegiate basketball. He was ultimately chosen with the tenth overall choice in the 2011 NBA draft, although during five NBA seasons, he only saw a little amount of action with four different clubs.
Jimmer Fredette won the All-Star Game MVP award while playing the majority of the 2015–16 season in the NBA Development League. When you take all parts of the season into account, Fredette topped the CBA in scoring during the 2016–17 campaign, averaging 37.6 points per game. Fredette joined the Shanghai Sharks of the CBA in 2016. Additionally, he was the season’s CBA International MVP winner.
#10. John Wall
John Wall is a pro basketball player in the National Basketball Association for the Los Angeles Clippers.
After one season of collegiate basketball with the Kentucky Wildcats, he was selected by the Washington Wizards as the first overall choice in the 2010 NBA Draft.
From 2014 through 2018, Wall, a point guard, made the All-NBA Team and was an NBA All-Star five times. He was also inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on September 22, 2017.
#11. Matt Leinart
Former American football player Matt Leinart spent seven seasons as a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL).
He participated in collegiate football at USC, where he earned the Heisman Trophy and steered his squad to an unbeaten campaign as a junior, ending in a triumph in the 2005 Orange Bowl.
The Arizona Cardinals chose Leinart with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and spent his first four seasons mostly backing up.
He worked as a backup for the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders for his final three seasons. Leinart, who was among the best male college athletes Espy, got an induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
#12. Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow is one of the most popular of ESPY’S best male college athletes. American football player Timothy Tebow is a free agent. He previously spent three seasons as a quarterback with the New York Jets and Denver Broncos in the National Football League.
At Florida, where he played college football, Tebow set a record as the Heisman Trophy’s first sophomore winner and guided his squad to two BCS National Championship triumphs in 2007 and 2009. He owned the Southeastern Conference records for both career passing efficiency and running touchdowns when his collegiate career came to an end.
The Broncos chose Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and he started for them in 2011. He gave new life to a struggling squad during his stay, as they won their first division championship and playoff game since 2005.
#13. Kelvin Durant
Even after winning the Espy for best male college athlete decades ago, Kelvin Durant is still well-known to many people. Most people consider Durant to be one of the all-time best players. He plays for the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets.
In the 2007 NBA Draft, the Seattle SuperSonics picked him with the second overall choice after one season of collegiate basketball for the Texas Longhorns. Before joining the Golden State Warriors in 2016, he spent nine seasons with the team before it changed its name to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. He won back-to-back NBA titles in 2017 and 2018.
Kelvin Durant received multiple trophies at the end of the collegiate season and was the first freshman to get voted as Naismith College Player of the Year.
#14. Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush played collegiate football for the University of Southern California, where he twice received unanimous All-American accolades and took home the Heisman Trophy as the country’s best player. He is one of the most recognized college football players of all time. As a result of NCAA rules infractions, his Heisman Trophy was eventually revoked.
In the second round of the NFL Draft in 2006, the New Orleans Saints selected him. While playing for the Saints, Reggie was an All-Pro point returner in 2008 and defeated the Indianapolis Colts to win Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. In addition, he had stints with the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers.
#15. Emeka Okafor
Former American basketball player Emeka Okafor is one of Espy’s best male college athletes. Okafor won the Rookie of the Year award in the National Basketball Association’s 2004–05 season. He moved to the Washington Wizards in 2012 after moving to the New Orleans Hornets in 2009.
From 2001 through 2004, he was a player for Connecticut. For his efforts on and off the court. Emeka was also named the Academic All-American of the Year in 2004.
He is well-known for his defensive skills, particularly his ability to block shots. Okafor led the University of Connecticut to the program’s second national championship in six seasons despite playing through back issues for the whole of the 2003–04 season.
Frequently asked questions
ESPY is an acronym for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly
ESPN and the ABC network often present the ESPY awards to honor both individual and team sporting accomplishments.
Golfer Tiger Woods with a record win of 21 has the highest number of ESPY awards.
Bryce Young won the best male college athlete Espy for 2022.
The category was first awarded in 2002.
The Espy focuses on honoring athletic excellence on both the individual and team levels as well as other sports-related performance in the year before an annual presentation.
A current celebrity usually hosts it; nonetheless, the tone is more laid-back, informal, and self-referential than many other award ceremonies, and they frequently featured comedy sketches.
The best male college athlete ESPY category recognizes male athletes who have excelled throughout the preceding year. This post has reviewed some of ESPY’s best male college athletes.
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- kids.kiddle.co – ESPY Award facts for kids
- wsfa.com – Bryce Young wins ESPY for best college male athlete