Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Getty Images

2015 finalists Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey part of Walker Award watch list

1 Comment

With 2015 winner Derrick Henry of Alabama off to the NFL, there will be a new winner of the Doak Walker Award in 2016.  Based on the projected performances of a couple of other finalists from a year ago, this year’s winner could very well come from the group below.

Thursday, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced a watch list that contains a whopping 76 players.  The Walker Award has ben handed out annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back and is named in honor of former SMU great Doak Walker.

Two finalists for last year’s award have made the cut this preseason — LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.

The SEC led all conferences with 13 watch listers, followed by the Big 12 (9), Big 12 (9), Pac-12 (9), ACC (8), Mountain West (6), Sun Belt (6), MAC (5), Conference USA (4) and AAC (3).  There were also four from independents (BYU, Notre Dame).

Those two independents were two of the 13 schools with two running backs listed, the others being Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Cal, Duke, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

Below is the complete 2016 Doak Walker Award preseason watch list:

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 1.10.32 PM

Headed by ACC’s 15, record 88 player named to Wuerffel watch list

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Quarterback Danny Wuerffel #7 of the Florida Gators readies to throw during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 28, 1996 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators defeated the Wildcats 65-0.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Records were made to be broken, even this kind of a record, I guess.

Continuing the watch list avalanche is the Wuerffel Trophy, which announced 88 players have been recognized as part of the annual preseason grouping.  That number is a record for the award, which is named in honor of former Florida great Danny Wuerffel and is awarded to the FBS player that “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

The 2015 winner of the Wuerffel was Oklahoma’s Ty Darlington.

As far as the conference-by-conference breakdown?  From the release:

The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 15 players appearing on the 2016 watch list. Following the ACC are the SEC with 12 players, Conference USA with 10 and the Big 10 and Big 12 with 9 players each. The American Athletic followed with 8 players while the Sun Belt added 7, the PAC 12 submitted 6 and the MAC and Mountain West followed with 4 each. All FBS Conferences are represented on the list, as were Independent representatives BYU and United States Military Academy (Army) with 1 nominee each.

Below is the complete 2016 Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list:

JK Scott, Alabama, Junior, P
O.J. Howard, Alabama, Senior, TE
Darian Small, Appalachian State, Senior, DL
Vilami “Laiu” Moeakiola, Arizona State, Senior, LB
Brooks Ellis, Arkansas, Senior, LB
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State, Junior, DB
Andrew King, Army, Senior, LB
Daniel Carlson, Auburn, Junior, PK
Seth Russell, Baylor, Senior, QB
Mitchell Juergens, BYU, Senior, WR
Jonny Linehan, BYU, Senior, P
Jack Austin, California, Junior, WR
Jamal Covington, Charlotte, Senior, OL
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Junior, QB
Sefo Liufau, Colorado, Senior, QB
Zack Golditch, Colorado State, Junior, OL
DeVon Edwards, Duke, Senior, DB
Zay Jones, East Carolina, Senior, WR
Jarrad Davis, Florida, Senior, LB
Shalom Ogbonda, Florida Atlantic, Senior, DL
Michael Montero, Florida International, Senior, OL
Alec Eberle, Florida State, Sophomore, OL
Jeb Blazevich, Georgia, Junior, TE
Keith Rucker, Georgia State, Senior, TE
KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech, Junior, DE
Greg Ward, Jr., Houston, Senior, QB
Joe Spencer, Illinois, Senior, OL
Mitchell Paige, Indiana, Senior, WR
LeShun Daniels, Jr., Iowa, Senior, RB
Cole Netten, Iowa State, Senior, PK
Fish Smithson, Kansas, Senior, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, Senior, DB
Antwan Dixon, Kent State, Sophomore, WR
Nick Cuthbert, Kent State, Senior, LB
Karmichael Dunbar, Louisiana, Senior, DL
Brandon Radcliff, Louisville, Senior, RB
Colin Jeter, LSU, Senior, TE
William Likely, Maryland, Senior, DB
Ryan Yurachek, Marshall, Sophomore, TE
Jake Elliott, Memphis, Senior, PK
Brad Kaaya, Miami, Junior, QB
Josiah Price, Michigan State, Senior, TE
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, QB
Damarius Travis, Minnesota, Senior, DB
Evan Engram, Mississippi, Senior, TE
Brandon Holloway, Mississippi State, Senior, WR/RB
Drew Brown, Nebraska, Junior, PK
Jeremy Maculey, Nevada, Senior, OL
Nick Weller, North Carolina, Senior, PK
Tony Adams, North Carolina State, Junior, OL
Drew Hare, Northern Illinois, Senior, QB
Matthew Harris, Northwestern, Senior DB
Jarrod Barnes, Ohio State, Senior, DB
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Junior, RB
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, Junior, QB
Tyler Compton, Old Dominion, Senior, OL
Ryan Nall, Oregon State, Sophomore, RB
Adam Biniswaty, Pittsburgh, Senior, OL
James Conner, Pittsburgh, Junior, RB
Mike Caprara, Pittsburgh, Senior, LB
Darik Dillard, Rice, Senior, RB
Daniel Brunskill, San Diego State, Senior, TE
Tim Crawley, San Jose State, Senior, WR
Nick Mullins, Southern Mississippi, Senior, QB
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, Senior, OL
Aaron Curry, TCU, Senior, DL
Brendan McGowan, Temple, Senior, OL
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee, Senior, QB
Trevor Knight, Texas A&M, Senior, QB
Felix Romero, Texas State, Junior, OL
Patrick Mahomes, II, Texas Tech, Junior, QB
Brad Spelman, Toledo, Junior, LS
John Johnson, Troy, Junior, WR
Marshall Wadleigh, Tulane, Senior, TE
Dane Evans, Tulsa, Senior, QB
Justin Holman, UCF, Senior, QB
Bobby Puyol, UConn, Senior, PK
John Plattenburg, USC, Junior, DB
Travis Seefeldt, Utah State, Senior, DL
Oren Burks, Vanderbilt, Junior, LB
Matt Johns, Virginia, Senior, QB
Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech, Senior, RB
Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest, Senior, DB
Jeff Lindquist, Washington, Senior, TE
Skyler Howard, West Virginia, Senior, QB
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, Senior, OL
Marcus Ward, Western Kentucky, Senior, DB
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan, Senior, QB

Three 2015 semifinalists highlight Biletnikoff Award watch list

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster #9 of the USC Trojans catches the ball before carrying it into the zone on a 50 yard touchdown pass play in tthe first quarter against the Idaho Vandals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Another day, another watch list.

The latest to throw its hat into the preseason ring is the Biletnikoff Award, with the Tallahassee Quarterback Club announcing a watch list consisting of 53 receivers.  The Biletnikoff is named in honor of former Florida State All-American Fred Biletnikoff and has been handed out annually since 1994 to honor the outstanding receiver in college football.  It should be noted that the award states that “[a]ny player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back, and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award,” even as all 22 winners have been listed as wide receivers.

Three semifinalists for last year’s award, won by Baylor’s Corey Coleman, are on this year’s watch list — Washington State’s Gabe Marks, USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster and Western Kentucky’s Taywan Taylor.

The MAC leads all conferences with eight watch listers, followed by the ACC, Conference USA and SEC with seven each and the Big Ten with six.  The Pac-12, with two, has the least of any FBS conference, tied with the Sun Belt.

Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia State, Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Western Kentucky all have two receivers each on the list.

Below is the complete 2016 Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list:

Rodney Adams, University of South Florida, SR.
Chance Allen, University of Houston, SR.
Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State University, SR.
Josh Atkinson, University of Tulsa, RSR.
Devonte Boyd, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, JR.
KD Cannon, Baylor University, JR.
Jehu Chesson, University of Michigan, SR.
Simmie Cobbs Jr., Indiana University, JR.
Corey Davis, Western Michigan University, SR.
Robert Davis, Georgia State University, SR.
Gehrig Dieter, University of Alabama, RSR.
Malachi Dupre, Louisiana State University, JR.
Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech, JR.
Shelton Gibson, West Virginia University, RJR.
Chris Godwin, Pennsylvania State University, JR.
Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois University, RSR.
Penny Hart, Georgia State University, SO.
Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech University, RSO.
Hasaan Henderson, University of Nevada, SR.
Mack Hollins, University of North Carolina, SR.
Richie James, Middle Tennessee State University, RSO.
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina University, SR.
Ricky Jones, Indiana University, RSR.
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M University, SO.
Jesse Kroll, Central Michigan University, SR
Jerome Lane, University of Akron, JR.
Allen Lazard, Iowa State University, JR.
KeVonn Mabon, Ball State University, SR.
Gabe Marks, Washington State University, RSR.
Taquan Mizzell, University of Virginia, SR.
Ronnie Moore, Bowling Green State University, SR.
Drew Morgan, University of Arkansas, SR.
Nicholas Norris, Western Kentucky University, SR.
Zach Pascal, Old Dominion University, SR.
Brandon Reilly, University of Nebraska, SR.
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M University, SR.
Jerico Richardson, University of Nevada, SR.
Calvin Ridley, University of Alabama, SO.
Fred Ross, Mississippi State University, SR.
Travis Rudolph, Florida State University, JR.
Artavis Scott, Clemson University, SO.
Sebastian Smith, Ohio University, SR.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, University of Southern California, JR.
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State University, SR.
Courtland Sutton, Southern Methodist University, SO.
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky University, SR.
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech University, JR.
Cody Thompson, University of Toledo, JR.
DJ Thompson, University of Southern Mississippi, RSR.
James Washington, Oklahoma State University, JR.
Jordan Westerkamp, University of Nebraska, SR.
Kermit Whitfield, Florida State University, SR.
Mike Williams, Clemson University, RJR.

70 interior linemen make up Outland Trophy watch list

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 13:  Eddie Vanderdoes #47 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates a sack against Tyrone Swoopes #18 of the Texas Longhorns at AT&T Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

An award that honors the big uglies on both sides of the ball is the latest to release its preseason roll call.

Released through the Football Writers Association of America, the Outland Trophy announced Friday that 70 players have been named to the award’s preseason watch list.  The Outland, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century, has been awarded since 1946 and honors only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.

The SEC (12) led all conferences in watch listers, followed by the Big Ten (11), ACC (10), Pac-12 (10), Big 12 (6).  The remaining conferences are Group of Five leagues: American Athletic (4), Conference USA (4), Mountain West (4), Mid-American (3) and Sun Belt (2).  There were also four linemen from independents who made the list.

The preseason list includes 22 offensive tackles, 20 offensive guards, 17 defensive tackles and 11 centers.

In mid-November the award will announce its semifinalists.  Five days later, a group of three finalists will be announced, with the 2016 Outland Trophy being awarded Dec. 8 at the Home Depot College Football Awards.

Stanford’s Joshua Garnett was the 2015 winner of the honor.

Below is the complete preseason watch list for the 2016 Outland Trophy:

Montravius Adams, Auburn, DT
Brian Allen, Michigan State, C
Zach Banner, USC, OT
Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh, OT
Chris Borrayo, California, G
J.T. Boyd East Carolina, C
Orlando Brown, Oklahoma, OT
Mason Cole, Michigan, C
Parker Collins, Appalachian State, G
Austin Corbett, Nevada, OT
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, OT
Tyrone Crowder, Clemson, G
Dion Dawkins, Temple, OT
J.J. Dielman, Utah, OT
Pat Elflein, Ohio State, G
Dan Feeney, Indiana, G
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, C
Antonio Garcia, Troy, OT
Will Geary, Kansas State, DT
Avery Gennesy, Texas A&M, OT
Davon Godchaux, LSU, DT
Jay Guillermo, Clemson, C
Darius Hamilton, Rutgers, DT
Jon Heck, North Carolina, OT
Treyvon Hester, Toledo, DT
Daniel Isidora, Miami, G
Martez Ivey, Florida, G
Roderick Johnson, Florida State, OT
Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh, G
Jaleel Johnson, Iowa, DT
Jarron Jones, Notre Dame, DT
Alex Kozan, Auburn, G
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, OT
Ului Lapuaho, BYU, G
Nick Linder, Miami, C
Lowell Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Erik Magnuson, Michigan, OT
Damien Mama, USC, G
Conor McDermott, UCLA, OT
Malik McDowell, Michigan State, DT
Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame, OT
Taylor Moton, Western Michigan, OT
Storm Norton, Toledo, OT
Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte, DT
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, C
Ethan Pocic, LSU, C
Billy Price, Ohio State, G
Greg Pyke, Georgia, G
Jake Replogle, Purdue, DT
Cam Robinson, Alabama, OT
Chase Roullier, Wyoming, G
Nico Siragusa, San Diego State, G
Dan Skipper, Arkansas, OT
Tashon Smallwood, Arizona State, DT
Tanzel Smart, Tulane, DT
Braden Smith, Auburn, G
Chris Taylor, Tulane, G
Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State, DT
Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech, G
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, C
Jon Toth, Kentucky, C
Travis Tuiloma, BYU, DT
Clint Van Horn, Marshall, OT
Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA, DT
Dan Voltz, Wisconsin, C
Carlos Watkins, Clemson, DT
Chad Wheeler, USC, OT
Dylan Wiesman, Tennessee, G
Connor Williams, Texas, OT
Fred Zerblis, Colorado State, G

Pair of 2015 finalists part of Ray Guy Award watch list

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 29:  Punter Hayden Hunt #49 of the Colorado State Rams punts the ball to the Colorado Buffaloes in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 29, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Colorado State Rams defeated the Colorado Buffaloes 31-17 to capture the Centennial Cup.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Like its foot counterpart the Groza Award, the Ray Guy Award has a decidedly familiar feel to its preseason watch list.

Among the 28 players that make up this year’s list for the punting award, named in honor of the former Southern Miss great who was the first punter ever elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, are two finalists for last year’s award — San Jose State’s Michael Carrizosa and Colorado State’s Hayden Hunt.  The winner of the 2015 Ray Guy Award was Tom Hackett of Utah.

All 10 FBS conferences and one independent (BYU) are represented, led by the SEC’s five.  The Mountain West is next with four, followed by the AAC, Big 12 and Conference USA with three apiece.

The vast majority of the watch listers are juniors or seniors, with the lone exceptions being a pair of sophomores — Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert and Kansas State’s Nick Walsh.