First Watch Lists Have Six Tiders

The watch lists have begun, and Alabama is off to a good start with the nation's college football awards. Six Crimson Tide players were named to the first watch lists for awards that will be presented later this year.

Alabama is represented by quarterback A.J. McCarron and running back Eddie Lacy for the Maxwell Award, which is given to the nation's best player. The Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player, includes Crimson Tide players linebacker Nico Johnson, safety Robert Lester, linebacker C.J. Mosley, and defensive lineman Jesse Williams on its watch list.

This will be the 76th year for the Maxwell Award to be presented and the 18th year for the Bednarik Award.

Bama, which won the 2011 national championship and is among the favorites for the 2012 title, is historically well represented on the watch lists for awards. The watch lists will be announced over the next week plus.

The Maxwell Award has been given to America's outstanding collegiate football player since 1937, and is named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the nation's top defensive player since 1995. A former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chuck Bednarik is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of '69 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of '67.

Alabama defeated LSU, 21-0, in the BCS National Championship Game, and both the Tide and Bengal Tigers have four Bednarik Award watch list players. LSU is represented by defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, defensive end Barkevious Mingo, defensive end Sam Montgomery, and safety Eric Reid. Others Alabama will see this year include cornerback Jonathan Banks of Mississippi State and linebacker Sean Porter of Texas A&M.

Bama will also face several opponents with players on the Maxwell Award watch list, including one of the favorites, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. The Wolverines are also represented by running back Fitzgerald Toussaint. Others on the watch list who will play against Alabama this season are three from Arkansas – quarterback Tyler Wilson, running back Knile Davis, and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton; running back Onterior McCalebb of Auburn; quarterback James Franklin of Missouri; running back Christine Michael of Texas A&M; and two from Tennessee, quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers.

The watch lists will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs and conferences from coast to coast. Returning Maxwell Award semifinalists from 2011 include USC QB Matt Barkley, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, Oklahoma QB Landry Jones and USC WR Robert Woods. No program has more athletes on this year's Maxwell Award watch list than USC, which is also represented by WR Marqise Lee and RB Curtis McNeal.

The Bednarik Award watch list features four of last season's semifinalists as well, Kansas State LB Arthur Brown, LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu, Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o and Stanford LB Chase Thomas. It's no coincidence that both of last year's National Championship Game participants, Alabama and LSU, boast four defensive players on this year's watch list. Only Michigan State was able to match the Crimson Tide's and Tigers' total.

The 2011 Maxwell Award winner, Stanford QB Andrew Luck, made himself available for the 2012 NFL Draft, where he was selected No. 1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts. The latest Bednarik Award winner, Mathieu, on the other hand, joins Penn State's Paul Posluszny and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald as the only recipients in award history to return to school with a chance to defend his title.

Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced October 29, and the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 19. The winners of the 2011 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on December 6. The formal presentation of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Harrah's Entertainment Atlantic City on March 1, 2013.

The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee, evaluating past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2012 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.

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