Mississippi's best collegiate football player.
This isn't about Bo Wallace. I'm not writing this for Johnthan Banks. This is just to say: the Conerly Trophy is a joke.
There are two main problems I have with the award:
1. The nominees - Bo Wallace, Johnthan Banks and players from each school in Mississippi were nominated for the trophy a couple of weeks before the season even ended. Why? With nothing but SEC games left, there was too much to be done on the field to pick nominees that early. For Ole Miss, their two biggest rivals were still ahead of them. I'm going to be honest, I have no idea who is good on Jackson State, Alcorn State, Southern Miss, etc. But here are my top 10 players from MSU and Ole Miss:
- Donte Moncreif
- Johnthan Banks
- Tyler Russell
- Gabe Jackson
- Bo Wallace
- Chad Bumphis
- Cam Lawrence
- C.J. Johnson
- Darius Slay
- Denzel Nkemdiche
The order of that is debatable, but I think most would agree that the players I have ahead of Bo Wallace are fair. Yet he is the winner of the Conerly Trophy. Why? Because he was the nominee for Ole Miss. But after the season was over, I think we'd all agree that Moncreif is the more impressive player - he did it all year, and especially when it was all on the line.
Obviously I think they should wait until the end of the year to make their nominations. It's not like we have to send a telegram to the voters so they'll know who is on the ballot. Just make nominations on Sunday after the Egg Bowl and vote on Tuesday or Wednesday, award it on Thursday...real tough.
If they have to stick to the current model of nominating way too early, then allow for more than one player from a school. Pick two or three. Moncreif excelled in their two biggest games. Chad Bumphis had big games. Tyler Russell stayed consistent. There may have been better choices than what was available when it was time to cast the vote.
2. Voting - the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame must be full of folks who get sucked into what they just saw, and can't separate themselves from it. Why, why, why did Bo Wallace beat Johnthan Banks? Seriously, it's stupid. Banks has now won the Jim Thorpe Award, been a consensus 1st team All-SEC player and named to several 1st team All-American teams. How can anyone justify voting for Wallace over Banks based on anything other than 'Wallace just had a better game than Banks in the game I just saw'? What's more, Wallace is only a sophomore and Banks a senior, so if career accomplishments mean anything, now is the time, how about rewarding a small-town Mississippi boy who has done great things? Wallace was arguably the best player on Ole Miss' team, but when he has 9 more INT and 3 less TD than Russell, it seems a bit odd that he wins an award for the best player in MS.
Why did Chris White win it in 2010? We had Derek Sherrod
on that team! Or Pernell McPhee! Whatever. No point in putting any stock into the Conerly Trophy, because it is a joke.