With more of the college football awards watch lists still to be announced, Dak Prescott is officially being followed now by Maxwell Award, the Davey O’Brien Award, and the Danny Wuerffel Trophy. As a junior Prescott was Mississippi State’s first quarterback ever to reach the finalists roster for the Maxwell, and he goes into 2015 as a leading candidate already.
The O’Brien is a quarterback-specific award and as the reigning All-SEC triggerman Prescott was an automatic pick for their list. He should also be on lists when the Manning and Unitas awards announce their initial watch group. And, while the biggest trophy of them all does not release watch lists, Prescott assuredly is going to be watched by voters for the Heisman. He finished eighth in voting for the Trophy last December.
The Wuerffel Award is presented to a player epitomizing campus and community service, something Prescott is increasingly noted for with his appearances at elementary schools and civic functions.
Service is a calling-card as well for senior cornerback Taveze Calhoun. Today he was presented as a watch list member for the AllState AFCA Good Works Team.
As of Thursday, there were five more Bulldogs making the initial lists for other post-season awards. In fact, junior defensive tackle Chris Jones is being officially watched for as many such trophies as Prescott right now. Jones, who has yet to start a college game, still has enough respect from experts that his name is already on lists for the Bednarik Award, the Nagurski Trophy, and the Outland Trophy.
Cornerback Will Redmond is another new-for-2015 starter at State who is pegged as a must-watch player. The senior joins Jones on watch lists for both the Bednarik and Nagurski, though it was surprising that Redmond was not nominated for the Thorpe Award.
Of course these summer lists can and likely will be added-to during the season up to when semifinalists and finalists are announced, and with any early-season success Redmond’s name should join that roster as well. The Lott Trophy is another which Redmond should have every opportunity to win his way onto.
The other major defensive award is linebacker specific. And yet again it is a Bulldog who only this fall moves into a starting job that is on the initial watch list. Junior outside linebacker Richie Brown is formally up for the Dick Butkus Award. The surprise is that teammate and 2014 starter and junior Beniquez Brown wasn’t on the initial roster, something which should be easily enough corrected during the season.
On the offensive side, junior Ashton Shumpert has made the first list for the Doak Walker Award given to running backs. And yes, just like Jones, Redmond, and Brown, he too is moving up into the starting lineup for this season. This is quite a comment on what outside experts expect from Coach Dan Mullen’s club as Bulldogs with obvious ability are promoted to first-team status in 2015 and get award list respect.
And after hitting the ball with distance and depth last fall, junior kicker Devon Bell is being watched for the Ray Guy Award. Going into preseason Bell looks to return to the placekicking job along with his proven punting.
Other watch lists for remaining awards will be released by their organizers in coming days. Back here in Starkville, Mullen and staff returned from their mid-summer vacations to resume work Wednesday. Mullen and a selection of players were heading to Jackson on Thursday afternoon for the annual appearance at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, then stop by the Central Mississippi Extravaganza fan event at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Mullen and coaches have a heavy Friday ahead, hosting the key Big Dawg Camp on campus for invited prospects.