Baylor highlights award watch lists

Baylor returns much of their talent from the Big 12 Championship team one year ago. Many players have leveraged their success into spots on preseason awards lists, and here is who:

Just over a month until football season starts, which means it is time for the preseason award watch lists. After a strong 2013 campaign, Baylor has many players poised to be competitive for awards this upcoming football season. Here’s a look:


Walter Camp Award:

  • Bryce Petty
  • The Walter Camp Award is given annually to college football's player of the year. The 50-man watch list featured only 16 quarterbacks from around college football. Despite not making the watch list in the summer before, Petty was a top 10 semifinalist for this award last season, and should have a real chance to win it this season.

    Maxwell Award:

    The Maxwell Award is presented each season to who the voters deem to be the College Player of the Year. The Maxwell Football club named a 77-man watch list, and Baylor was one of six teams in the nation to have three players named to the watch list along with Arizona State, Florida State, Oregon, USC and Alabama, who has four. The rest of the Big 12 had only six candidates combined.

    Out of the last 11 winners, 10 have been quarterbacks, and that trend is unlikely to change in a stacked quarterback year. Petty, along with former running back Lache Seastrunk, was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award in 2013. The senior signal caller has a chance to be competitive for the Maxwell Award with a strong performance this season. Robert Griffin III won this award in 2011.

    Davey O'Brien Award

    • Bryce Petty, QB

    The Davey O'Brien Award is given yearly to whoever is judged to be the best quarterback in college football. Only 39 players are named to the O'Brien Watch List, and Petty is one of five from the Big 12.

    Petty was named a semifinalist for this award last season. He is one of six players who were a semifinalist that returns this season, along with Brett Hundley, Sean Mannion, Marcus Mariota, Braxton Miller and Jameis Winston. If things fall right, he should be right back there next season. Robert Griffin III won this award in 2011.

    Doak Walker Award

    • Shock Linwood, RB

    The Doak Walker Award is given annually to the nation's top running back. Despite starting the year as the third-string running back in 2013, Linwood burst onto the scene with back-to-back 180-yard performances against No. 10 Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Surprisingly, Linwood is the Big 12's leading returning rusher with 881 yards. He will have every opportunity to become a finalist for this award if he can sustain his lofty production.

    Biletnikoff Award

    • Antwan Goodley, WR
    • Levi Norwood, WR
    • The Biletnikoff Award is given annually to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate wide receiver, and certainly Goodley is expected to fit that bill going into next season. The senior posted 1,339 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first full year starting, despite losing complementary piece Tevin Reese halfway through the season. Goodley will be a strong contender for this award.

      Norwood will be a wild card. He is expected to take a bigger step in the offense with the departure of Reese, and has shown that he can be incredibly dangerous with the ball in his hands. The senior likely will not be a contender for the award however. Terrance Williams was a finalist for this award in 2012.

      Outland Trophy

      • Spencer Drango, LT
      • The Outland Trophy is given annually to the nation’s best interior lineman on either offense or defense. Baylor left tackle Spencer Drango is one of 64 players named to the watch list and nine Big 12 linemen. Despite missing four games to injury, Drango was a consensus All-Big 12 First Team member in 2013. If he can stay healthy all year, the junior will be a contender for All-American. Cyril Richardson was a finalist for this award in 2013.

        Rotary Lombardi Award

        • Spencer Drango, LT
        • Bryce Hager, MLB
        • Shawn Oakman, DE
        • The Rotary Lombardi Award is given to either a lineman or linebacker that sets up no further than 10 feet to the left or right of the ball or five yards down the field. The broad definition gives way to winners at many different positions, including all the way across both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as prototypical linebackers.

          Drango and Hager are both former All-Big 12 Team members, and Oakman is poised to be one of the breakout stars of the 2014 college football season. It is unlikely that any finish near the top for this award.

          Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award

          • Bryce Hager, MLB
          • Shawn Oakman, DE
          • Both the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award are given to college football’s Defensive Player of the Year. Hager appeared on the watch-list for both awards last season, and was the first Bear to do so since Joe Pawelek in 2009. Both should have standout seasons, but Baylor’s defense likely will not be potent enough to earn any real consideration for these two players.

            Butkus Award

            • Bryce Hager, MLB
            • The Butkus Award is given annually to the best linebacker in college football. Hager earned his way onto the watch list last season as well. Only seven Big 12 players were named to the 51-man watch list for this award. Hager should have a strong season if healthy, but likely not to the level necessary to win the Butkus.

              Hornung Award

              • Levi Norwood
              • The Hornung Award is given annually to the nation’s most versatile player. Baylor senior Levi Norwood was named to the list for his versatility of playing wide receiver and being an outstanding punt returner. The senior brought two kicks back for touchdowns last season, most notably in a pivotal moment against Texas Tech to push Baylor to an easy victory. Although Norwood is outstanding in both roles, he likely will not get enough chances at either to be competitive for the award.

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