The announcement was made by the Maxwell Football Club.
The Maxwell Award is given annually to the college player judged to be the best in the nation by the Maxwell Football Club.
Fitzgerald was twice named SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week during the year, and capped his stellar sophomore season earning MVP honors in the St. Petersburg Bowl. A student from a current Big Ten football program has been presented with the Maxwell Award on 20 occasions since the award's inception in 1937, with Penn State's Larry Johnson the most recent recipient in 2002.
Richardson is a senior defensive tackle and is a menacing force for the Gophers.
Thomas, a senior, led the Seminoles with 77 total tackles a season ago, which included 11 stops for loss. He posted eight tackles or more in all nine games he played in last season and has logged eight or more tackles in 11 of his last 13 games, dating back to 2015. He now ranks No. 9 all-time in U.Va. history with 358 career tackles. Richardson has also forced four career fumbles, recovered three fumbles and broke up three passes. He threw for a season-high 283 yards and two touchdowns against Tennessee.
Ridley had 72 catches for 769 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016.
Crawford returns as the Big 12's leading rusher from 2016, finishing with 1,184 yards and four touchdowns. He led the team in tackles in 2015 and 2016, totaling 213 during that span.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced on October 30. The victor will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 7 on ESPN.
Both Blanding and Kiser have previously been named this summer to the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List.