Several preseason awards watch lists for the biggest of college football honors have been released in recent weeks, and there are more than a few PAC-12 players fill these early lists and the conference is notably heavy on defense, with one particular front runner. These lists will periodically change as the season progresses as players move on or off them based on their performances.
Let’s break them down, PAC-12 style, shall we?
2102 Bednarik Award, best college defensive player
Chase Thomas, Stanford, LB, Sr.
Dion Jordan, Oregon, DE, Sr.
Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, CB, Sr.
T.J. Ballard, USC, S, Sr.
Nickell Robey, USC, CB, Sr.
Shayne Stov, Stanford, LB, Sr.
John Boyett, Oregon, S, Sr.
Dion Bailey, USC, LB, Soph.
Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT, Sr.
Thomas is a sure-bet to among the finalists by season’s end, though keep your eyes on Jordan, Poyer, Ballard and Robey as well.
2012 Maxwell Award, top overall college football player
Matt Barkley, QB, USC, Sr.
Robert Woods, WR, USC, Jr.
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford, Sr.
John White IV, RB, Utah, Sr.
Keith Price, QB, Washington, Jr.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon, Sr.
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon, RB/WR, Soph.
Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State, Sr.
Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State, Jr.
Keenan Allen, WR, California, Jr.
Isi Sofele, RB, California, Sr.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC, Soph.
Curtis McNeal, RB, USC, Sr.
Ah, the biggie. The import of this award falls just shy of the coveted Heisman Trophy. Last year, Andrew Luck, now with the Indianapolis Colts, won the Maxwell just before losing out to Baylor’s Robert Griffin III for the Heisman. Griffin wound up as the Washington Redskins’ first-round pick, the second overall choice in the NFL Draft, right behind Luck.
Among the favorites on this list are Barkley, Taylor, Woods, White and Price, with the USC quarterback head and shoulders above the rest and also a leading preseason candidate for the Heisman.
2012 John L. Mackey Award, given to the top college tight end
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington, Soph.
Levine Toilolo, Stanford, Sr.
Joseph Fauria, UCLA, Sr.
Look for Toilolo and Seferian-Jenkins to hold firm on the lists as the season wears on, benefiting from their respective offensive system and talented quarterbacks.
2012 Rimington Trophy, top college center
Khaled Holmes, USC, Sr.
Hronis Grasu, Oregon, Soph.
Sam Schartzstein, Stanford, Sr.
Gus Handler, Colorado, Jr.
Tevita Stevens, Utah, Sr.
Any or all of these guys should expect an excellent season and potential NFL career ahead of them. By the end of the year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Holmes, Grasu and Schartzstein still in the running.