LSU football coach Les Miles and cornerback Morris Claiborne won postseason awards Wednesday, and more could be in store for Tigers on Thursday.
Miles, who has led LSU to a 13-0 record and the No. 1 ranking in the country heading into the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9, was named The Home Depot national coach of the year, according to ESPN and LSU.
The Southeastern Conference also announced Miles has been named its coach of the year by a vote of the league’s 11 other coaches.
The coaches also named Claiborne their Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year. Claiborne has a team-high six interceptions and has been one of the leaders on the second-ranked defense in the country.
“I think Mo Claiborne is doing everything we’ve asked him to do,” Miles said recently. “There is a real want (by opponents) to throw away from him.
“He is a tremendous team player. Mo has been a leader, and he really is exactly what’s good and right about college football, putting himself in position to get his degree and just a wonderful young man to coach.”
The Home Depot award will be presented to Miles as part of The Home Depot College Football Awards ceremony, set for 8 p.m. Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (ESPN).
Miles is also a finalist for the Eddie Robinson and Liberty Mutual national coach of the year awards and is on the watch list for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
Earlier this week, Miles was named SEC Coach of the Year by The Associated Press and Region 2 coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association.
LSU is the only undefeated team in the country, and eight of its 13 wins have come against ranked opponents. Seven of those eight have been double-digit wins. The Tigers have the nation’s longest winning streak (14 games), heading into the BCS title game in New Orleans against No. 2 Alabama, which lost to the Tigers 9-6 in overtime Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Claiborne and teammate Tyrann Mathieu will also be among the finalists for awards being presented Thursday.
Claiborne is a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award (best defensive player) and the Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back).
“Our secondary as a whole, we’ve made a lot of plays,” Claiborne said. “You can’t point just anyone out because the secondary as a whole, we’ve made a ton of plays.”?
Claiborne finished second in the SEC in interceptions and his 11 career interceptions rank sixth in LSU history, tying him with Greg Jackson (1985-88), Tory James (1992-95) and Craig Steltz (2004-07).
Mathieu is a finalist for the Walter Camp Award (player of the year) and Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player). The Walter Camp Award will be presented live Thursday during the 5 p.m. edition of SportsCenter.
Mathieu will be going from Orlando to New York on Friday, where he will be recognized as one of five finalists for this year’s Heisman Trophy. The Heisman will be presented Saturday.
The SEC also announced that the coaches selected Alabama running back Trent Richardson as the league’s top offensive player and Arkansas return specialist/wide receiver Joe Adams the top special teams player.
Richardson, who leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally with 131.9 rushing yards per game, will join Mathieu in New York as a Heisman finalist.
The SEC coaches also selected Alabama tackle Barrett Jones as the league’s scholar-athlete of the year and winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.
South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney was named the top freshman.
Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais and Advocate news services contributed to this report.