One of the most prestigious awards in college football becomes one of the last honors to release its preseason watch list.
The Walter Camp Player of the Year award, the fourth-oldest individual college football award, released Friday its list of 40 players to watch for the upcoming season. Named in honor of the legendary head coach, the Camp POTY award has been handed out annually since 1967, with USC running back O.J. Simpson claiming the first two trophies.
The 2015 winner of the award was Alabama running back Derrick Henry. The other four finalists, Iowa defensive back Desmond King, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, return for the 2016 season and, of course, are among the watch listers.
Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, Washington State quarterback Luke Falk and LSU running back Leonard Fournette were semifinalists in 2015 and make an appearance on the list.
There are 15 quarterbacks, 11 running backs, three wide receivers and one tight end, as well as 10 players on he defensive side of the ball. The breakdown on the latter front is five defensive backs, four linebackers and one defensive lineman.
The Big Ten leads all conferences with eight watch listers, immediately followed by the SEC’s seven. The rest of the leagues, from most to least, include Pac-12 (six), ACC (five), Big 12 (four), AAC (two), MAC (two), Mountain West (two), Conference USA (one) and Sun Belt (one). There also one each from independents BYU and Notre Dame.
Clemson is the only team with three players on the list. Florida State, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M are the only ones with two each.
Below is the complete 2016 Walter Camp Ward preseason watch list:
J.T. Barrett, Junior, QB, Ohio State
C.J. Beathard, Senior, QB, Iowa
Josh Dobbs, Senior, QB, Tennessee
Luke Falk, Junior, QB, Washington State
Chad Kelly, Senior, QB, Ole Miss
DeShone Kizer, Junior, QB, Notre Dame
Tanner Mangum, Junior, QB, BYU
Baker Mayfield, Senior, QB, Oklahoma #
Nick Mullens, Senior, QB, Southern Miss
Josh Rosen, Sophomore, QB, UCLA
Seth Russell, Senior, QB, Baylor
Brett Rypien, Sophomore, QB, Boise State
Anu Solomon, RS Junior, QB, Arizona
Greg Ward, Senior, QB, Houston
Deshaun Watson, Junior, QB, Clemson *
Nick Chubb, Junior, RB, Georgia
Dalvin Cook, Junior, RB, Florida State *
Leonard Fournette, Junior, RB, LSU #
Royce Freeman, Junior, RB, Oregon
Wayne Gallman, Junior, RB, Clemson
Justin Jackson, Junior, RB, Northwestern
Marlon Mack, Junior, RB, South Florida
Christian McCaffrey, Junior, RB/KR, Stanford *
Samaje Perine, Junior, RB, Oklahoma
Donnel Pumphrey, Senior, RB, San Diego State
Larry Rose, Junior, RB, New Mexico State
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Corey Davis, Senior, WR, Western Michigan
Christian Kirk, Sophomore, WR, Texas A&M
Jordan Leggett, TE, Senior, Clemson *
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Junior, WR, USC
Myles Garrett, Junior, DE, Texas A&M #
Eddie Jackson, Junior, DB, Alabama *
Derwin James, Sophomore, DB, Florida State
Malik Jefferson, Sophomore, LB, Texas
Desmond King, Senior, DB, Iowa #
Jourdan Lewis, Senior, DB, Michigan *
Shawun Lurry, Junior, DB, Northern Illinois *
Raekwon McMillan, Junior, LB, Ohio State *
Jabrill Peppers, Sophomore, LB, Michigan
Anthony Walker, Junior, LB, Northwestern
# – 2015 Walter Camp First Team All-America selection
*- 2015 Walter Camp Second Team All-America selection