Marquee College Football Players Pose with Mickey Mouse on Eve of Annual Awards Show

Some of the biggest names in college football were at Walt Disney World Resort this week for the Home Depot College Football Awards. Heisman Trophy frontrunners Marcus Mariota (Oregon), Amari Cooper (Alabama), Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) and Dak Prescott (Miss. State) were among the marquee players in attendance for the awards show that airs live on ESPN.

Oregon Ducks quarterback Mariota, Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Prescott and Wisconsin Badgers running back Gordon are finalists for the Maxwell Award for the nation’s best player. Both quarterbacks are also finalists for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, while Gordon is the favorite to win the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back. Alabama Crimson Tide receiver

Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops and junior wide receiver Sterling Shepard will be awarded the Disney Spirit Award by Disney Sports Executive Faron Kelley. The award is given annually to college football’s most inspirational figure or team in college football.  Following the tragic death of former Sooners receiver and graduate assistant coach Derrick Shepard, Stoops selflessly became a father figure to Derrick Shepard’s six-year-old son Sterling Shepard and welcomed him into the Sooners family. In a remarkable twist of fate, that fatherless young boy grew into a superstar football player who, at the end of his high school career in suburban Oklahoma City, fittingly signed to play for the University of Oklahoma where he is among the top receivers in college football.  Shepard will be on-site to accept the award.

The Home Depot College Football Awards, now in its 24th year, will once again air on ESPN, Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. ET, highlighting the achievements of college football student-athletes in 2014. Twenty-four players were selected as finalists for the nine National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards given annually during the show.