UMass Minutemen

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

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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:

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2015 finalist Raekwon McMillan of Ohio State headlines Butkus Award watch list

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Max Wittek #13 of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors looks to elude the defense of Raekwon McMillan #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the third quarter at Ohio Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Hawaii 38-0.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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I’m running out of ways to lead these things, so let’s just get to it, shall we?

Tuesday, yet another watch list was released, with the Butkus Award unveiling its list of 51 linebackers to watch this season.  The Butkus Award, given out annually since 1985 to the nation’s best linebacker, is named in honor of former Illinois great Dick Butkus.

Last year’s award went to Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith.  Raekwon McMillan, he of the getting-trucked-by-a-woman McMillans, made this year’s watch list after being a finalist for last year’s award.

The SEC led all conferences with 12 selections, followed by the Big Ten’s 10.  The Big 12 and ACC were next with six and five players, respectively, while the AAC and Mountain West led Group of Five leagues with four each.  That’s the same number as the Pac-12.

The Sun Belt was the lone FBS conference without a representative.

Alabama was the only school with three linebackers selected.  Houston, Kansas State, Louisville, Ohio State and Penn State, with two each, were the only other programs with more than one.

There is also one non-FBS watch lister: Nick DeLuca of FCS power North Dakota State.

Below is the complete 2016 Butkus Award preseason watch list:

Ryan Anderson, Alabama
Kendall Beckwith, LSU
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
Dante Booker, Ohio State
Ben Boulware, Clemson
Tyus Bowser, Houston
Richie Brown, Mississippi State
Riley Bullough, Michigan State
Jason Cabinda, Penn State
Jeff Camilli, Fresno State
Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
Jermaine Carter, Maryland
Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
Kevin Davis, Colorado State
Jarrad Davis, Florida
Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State
Brooks Ellis, Arkansas
Jordan Evans, Oklahoma
Devonte’ Fields, Louisville
Salamo Fiso, Arizona State
Reuben Foster, Alabama
T.J. Holloman, South Carolina
Travin Howard, TCU
Shane Huber, UMass
Malik Jefferson, Texas
Josey Jewell, Iowa
Peter Kalambayi, Stanford
Harvey Kangi, BYU
Keith Kelsey, Louisville
Micah Kiser, Virginia
Elijah Lee, Kansas State
Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
Matt Milano, Boston College
Charmeachealle Moore, Kansas State
Nyles Morgan, Notre Dame
Calvin Munson, San Diego State
Hardy Nickerson, Illinois
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee
T.J. Ricks, Old Dominion
Auggie Sanchez, USF
Michael Scherer, Missouri
Cameron Smith, USC
Steven Taylor, Houston
Austin Valdez, Bowling Green
Tanner Vallejo, Boise State
Azeem Victor, Washington
Anthony Walker, Northwestern
Nyeem Warman-White, Penn State
Tim Williams, Alabama
Eric Wilson, Cincinnati
Taylor Young, Baylor

SEC accounts for 27 of 88 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch listers

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 21: Defensive back Desmond King #14 of the Iowa Hawkeyes comes up with the ball after a turnover in the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers on November 21, 2015 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
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Watch list season continues to roll along, with an award dedicated to the best defensive player in the country the latest to roll out its preseason honors.

In conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, the Bronko Nagurski Award released a watch list consisting of 88 players on the defensive side of the ball.  Defensive backs occupied the most spots with 31, followed 29 linebackers and 28 linemen (21 ends, seven tackles).

The SEC’s 27 players listed more than doubled the 13 each of the Big Ten and Pac-12, and was six more than the combined totals of the other two Power Five conferences (ACC 11, Big 12 10). The MAC had the most of any Group of Five conference with four, followed by the Mountain West (three), American Athletic (two), Conference USA (two) and Sun Belt (one). Players from independent programs accounted for the final two watch listers.

Three of the players on the watch list — Desmond King of Iowa, Shawun Lurry of Northern Illinois and Myles Garrett of Texas A&M — were first-team FWAA All-Americans in 2015, while two others — Eddie Jackson of Alabama and Jourdan Lewis of Michigan — were named to the second-team.

The Nagurski Trophy, handed out annually since 1993, is named in honor of Bronko Nagurski, the legendary Minnesota Golden Gopher fullback and defensive lineman. Nagurski was a charter member of both the college and pro football halls of fame.

Last year’s honoree was Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich.

Below is the complete 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list:

Montravius Adams, Auburn, DT
Jamal Adams, LSU, DB
Jonathan Allen, Alabama, DE
Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado, DB
Budda Baker, Washington, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, DB
Derek Barnett, Tennessee, DE
Kendell Beckwith, LSU, LB
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin, LB
Quin Blanding, Virginia, DB
Ben Boulware, Clemson, LB
Richie Brown, Mississippi State, LB
Riley Bullough, Michigan State, LB
Josh Carraway, TCU, DE
Lorenzo Carter, Georgia, LB
Tony Conner, Ole Miss, DB
Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, LB
Jarrad Davis, Florida, LB
Hunter Dimick, Utah, DE
Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech, DE
Devonte Fields, Louisville, DE
Salamo Fiso, Arizona State, LB
Kylie Fitts, Utah, DE
Reuben Foster, Alabama, LB
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, DE
Davon Godchaux, LSU, DT
Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M, DE
Charles Harris, Missouri, DE
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville, DB
Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss, DE
Treyvon Hester, Toledo, DT
Travin Howard, TCU, LB
Shane Huber, Massachusetts, LB
Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, DB
Adoreé Jackson, USC, DB
Eddie Jackson, Alabama
Derwin James, Florida State, DB
Malik Jefferson, Texas, LB
Josey Jewell, Iowa, LB
Sidney Jones, Washington, DB
Andrew King, Army, LB
Desmond King, Iowa, DB
Micah Kiser, Virginia, LB
Carl Lawson, Auburn, DE
Elijah Lee, Kansas State, LB
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, DB
Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State, DE
William Likely, Maryland, DB
Lowell Lotulelei, Utah, DT
Shawun Lurry, Northern Illinois, DB
Jamal Marcus, Akron, DE
Marcus Maye, Florida, DB
Malik McDowell, Michigan State, DT
Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
Fabian Moreau, UCLA, DB
Calvin Munson, San Diego State, LB
Lewis Neal, LSU, DE
Hardy Nickerson, Illinois, LB
Steven Parker, Oklahoma, DB
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, LB
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee, LB
TJ Ricks, Old Dominion, LB
Isaac Rochell, Notre Dame, DE
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State, DE
Duke Shelley, Kansas State, DB
Cameron Smith, USC, LB
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force, DB
Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State, DB
Jamar Summers, UConn, DB
Cameron Sutton, Tennessee, DB
Jalen Tabor, Florida, DB
Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson, DB
Steven Taylor, Houston, LB
Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma, DB
Tanner Vallejo, Boise State, LB
Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA, DT
Azeem Victor, Washington, LB
Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern, LB
Charles Walker, Oklahoma, DE
DeMarcus Walker, Florida State, DE
Carlos Watkins, Clemson, DT
Tre’Davious White, LSU, DB
Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh, DB
Marcus Williams, Utah, DB
Tim Williams, Alabama, LB
Deatrich Wise Jr., Arkansas, DE
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech, DB
Chris Wormley, Michigan, DE

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)
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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.

2015 finalist Jordan Leggett of Clemson among 45 TEs on Mackey Award watch list

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 7: Jordan Leggett #16 of the Clemson Tigers is tackled by Lamarcus Brutus #42 of the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
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Hey, at least this one is somewhat selective.

Continuing the preseason watch list dump is the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s top tight end and named in honor of the former Syracuse standout and NFL Hall of Famer.  This year, a total of 45 tight ends appear on the award’s initial watch list.

Headlining this year’s preseason list is Clemson’s Jordan Leggett, a finalist for last year’s honor.  Arkansas’ Hunter Henry was the recipient of the 2015 Mackey, which has been given out annually since 2000.

All 10 FBS conferences as well as one independent (Notre Dame) are represented, led by the SEC’s seven.  The Big Ten is next with six, followed by the ACC and MAC with five apiece and four each from Conference USA, the Mountain West, the Pac-12 and the Sun Belt.  The spread-happy Big 12, with two, has the fewest of not only the Power Five conferences but any league, period.

More than half (27) of the watch listers are seniors, with juniors making up 13 of the 45.  The remaining five players are sophomores.

Below is the complete 2016 Mackey Award watch list:

2016 Mackey Award watch list