The Illinois offense certainly has a lot of questions, but its backfield duo certainly is talented and respected.
Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt was one of 30 quarterbacks named to the preseason watch list for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top quarterback; while sophomore running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn was one of 76 running backs named to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back.
It is the second preseason honor for Lunt, who was also named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation's top offensive player. Lunt completed 270 of 481 passes last season for 2,761 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. He ranks ninth among Illini in career passing yardage (4,524 yards) and touchdown passes (28). If healthy, he is on pace to finish among the top-five all-time passers at Illinois.
The Walker watch list was the first preseason recognition for Vaughn, who as a freshman led Illinois with 723 rushing yards and six touchdowns. The former four-star recruit earned 2015 Illinois Newcomer of the Year Award.
Illinois preseason watch lists
- Wes Lunt, QB: Maxwell Award (Off. POY), Davey O'Brien Award (QB)
- Ke'Shawn Vaughn: Doak Walker Award (RB)
- Joe Spencer, C: Rimington Award (center), Wuerrful Trophy (community service)
- Dawuane Smoot, DE: Bednarik Award (Def. POY)
- Hardy Nickerson, LB: Nagursky Trophy (Def. POY), Butkus Award (LB)