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Though he said this week that he believed he had a season deserving of his Heisman nomination, McCarron, a fifth-year senior with three national championship rings at Alabama, looked visibly taken aback when his name was called for the Maxwell Award.

“Super surprised,” McCarron said. “I don’t think I’m the best player out of those other two guys that were mentioned. But I can’t thank them enough. It’s an honor to be here.”

McCarron was sometimes overlooked despite leading Alabama to an 11-1 season that left the Crimson Tide just short of a chance to play for its third straight national championship. He threw for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns with five interceptions this season.

Now, he prepares to make his first trip to New York for the Heisman ceremony, and McCarron said his game plan is simple.

“I’m just going to enjoy the moment and live in the moment,” he said.

Donald became the first defensive lineman to win the Bednarik Award since Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh in 2009.

“Just to see all that hard work I put into football, it’s paying off today,” Donald said. “It’s exciting to bring it back to the defensive side. But at the same time there’s a lot of talented offensive linemen, so I’m just honored to be able to take a turn.”

The two awards capped a big week for Donald, who also took home the Bronko Nagurski award this week as the best defensive player in the country, and the Lombardi Award given annually to the nation’s top college lineman.

Other award winners Thursday were Michigan State senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard (Jim Thorpe Award for top defensive back), Oregon State junior receiver Brandin Cooks (Biletnikoff Award for best wide receiver), and Memphis senior Tom Hornsey (Ray Guy Award for top punter).

Winston wasn’t the only Florida State player to be honored. Seminoles freshman Roberto Aguayo won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best place kicker.

Winston stood and applauded as Aguayo walked up to accept the trophy. Winston said no matter what happens at the Heisman ceremony Saturday, moments like that are what he is savoring most right now.

“That’s just how I am. I love my teammates,” Winston said. “And I think they deserve that type of applause because they’ve had an excellent season. And it’s not over yet.”

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Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower