Smith, Christian named to award watch lists

Five Cardinals are now listed among multiple award lists.

A day after a trio of Cardinals were named to preseason watch lists, another pair were announced for similar on Tuesday.

University of Louisville tight end Gerald Christian and offensive lineman Jake Smith join Charles Gaines, Lorenzo Mauldin and DeVante Parker on early watch lists.

Christian was tabbed to the John Mackey Award list for the nation’s best tight end, while Smith was added to the Rimington Award list for the country’s top center.

In his first year after of action of transferring from Florida, Christian gave the Cardinals a weapon at the tight end position. The 6-foot-3, 244-pounder caught 28 passes for 426 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 15.2 yards per catch. He scored on a career-long 69-yard reception in a 34-3 win over South Florida and tallied a career-high five receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown against Eastern Kentucky.

Christian was among the standout performers during spring practice and is expected to play a larger role in the Bobby Petrino offense.

Smith moved to the center position last season and started all 13 games. A first team All-American Athletic Conference selection last year, Smith has made 38 career starts during his career.

Entering his final year with the Cardinals, Smith has a streak of 13 consecutive starts dating back to last season. He played his first two seasons at guard for the Cardinals before transitioning to center in 2013.

The anchor along the Cardinals offensive front, Smith will be key in providing leadership and helping newcomers transition into their new roles.

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