Yes, you know it’s almost football time when awards start coming out with bloated lists of players to watch for the upcoming season. No, these lists don’t have very much actual meaning. Players who aren’t on the lists can still emerge and win the awards, which are handed out following the conclusion of the regular season.
But, all in all, the award winners generally do end up coming from the original watch lists, and the fact that there will likely be more Vols than normal on these lists that come out over the next couple of weeks is another sign of UT’s rising perception nationally, and a good indicator of the talent that the Vols have stockpiled in the last few years.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd were named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award on Tuesday morning. The Maxwell Award serves as somewhat of a Heisman Light – an award given to the best overall player in college football that doesn’t carry the prestige and scrutiny of the Heisman. Dobbs and Hurd are the first Vols to be placed on the Maxwell Award watch list since 2012 (Tyler Bray, Da’Rick Rogers). The Vols have one Maxwell Award winner in program history in Peyton Manning (1997).
The Vols placed three – linebacker Curt Maggitt, cornerback Cam Sutton and defensive end Derek Barnett – on the Bednarik Award watch list, which honors the top defensive player in the nation, on Tuesday morning as well. Tennessee tied with Oklahoma and Notre Dame for having the most players on Bednarik watch list. The Vols have never had a Bednarik winner, though Eric Berry was a semifinalist in 2008.
The three finalists for both the Bednarik and Maxwell Awards will be announced on Nov. 23, 2015. The winner of the 2015 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 10, 2015. The voters for both awards are NCAA Head College Football Coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club & sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country.
Here’s the release schedule for the rest of the watch lists:
Wed., July 8: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy
Thurs., July 9: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award
Fri., July 10: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy
Mon., July 13: Jim Thorpe Award
Tues., July 14: Butkus Award / Rotary Lombardi Award
Wed., July 15: Biletnikoff Award / Wuerffel Trophy
Thurs, July 16: Davey O’Brien Award / Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 17: Walter Camp Award