Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 San Diego Football Players of the Year

Needless to say, 2020 was an unusual year. We didn't get to see any live games for obvious reasons, but football was played and many San Diego County natives took advantage of the opportunity to showcase their skills on a national stage. Here are four local players who stood out and made a difference on and off the field.

Offensive Player of the Year
Chris Olave (Ohio State Buckeyes), Wide Receiver

In his third season at Ohio State, the former Mission Hills standout has rapidly put himself in the conversation as one of the top receivers in program history. In only five games played, Chris Olave caught 36 passes for 528 yards and five touchdowns. He went over the 100-yard receiving mark in four of those games and is only three catches away from hitting 100 career receptions, as he gets set to take on Clemson in the first round of the College Football Playoff.

Defensive Player of the Year
Fred Warner (San Francisco 49ers), Linebacker

That program in San Marcos is developing playmakers on both sides of the ball. Fred Warner has been a top performer under the radar since he first stepped foot in the league in 2018, but in 2020 his play stood out too much to go unnoticed. With one game remaining in the regular season, Warner has a team-high 115 total tackles, to go with three passes defended, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, resulting in the first Pro Bowl selection of his promising career.

Special Teams Player of the Year
Jake Bailey (New England Patriots), Punter

Going into the final game of the regular season, Jake Bailey currently leads the league with 46.4 net yards per punt. If that holds, Bailey would set a new Patriots single-season record.

Comeback Player of the Year
Alex Smith (Washington Football Team), Quarterback

After what appeared to be a career-ending injury in 2018, Alex Smith spent the entire 2019 season fighting through a difficult recovery. In 2020, Smith stunned the sports world with his triumphant return to the NFL. The former Helix standout started five straight games before suffering a calf strain in his right leg. He is now expected to regain his starting role as Washington looks to clinch the NFC East title and a playoff spot in Week 17.

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