Crazy: Where's Player No. 8?

The inclusion of Golden Tate and Sam Young on their positions' respective "Watch Lists" extends Notre Dame's player nominations to seven student-athletes for eight awards.

In early August, Notre Dame junior halfback Armando Allen joined junior QB Jimmy Clausen (Davey O'Brien Watch List); fifth-year senior gunner Mike Anello (Lott Trophy); senior center Dan Wenger (Rimington Trophy); and sophomore tight end Kyle Rudolph (Mackey Award) as pre-season candidates for post-season awards.

Allen was named as a candidate for the 2009 Doak Walker Award (nation's top running back). Over the last three days, Allen and his four heralded teammates were joined by two more Irish stars as candidates for three additional post-season awards.

Junior wide receiver Golden Tate has been named to two "Watch Lists:" the Biletnikoff Award (the top wideout in college football) and the prestigious Walter Camp Award (College Football's Player of the Year). As well, senior right tackle Sam Young was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List – awarded to the nation's best offensive or defensive lineman at season's end.

Though these pre-season lists aren't necessarily based on diligent research or reviews of game film (one Irish nominee, Dan Wenger, is currently battling for a starting spot at center with converted guard and classmate Eric Olsen), they do generally represent a solid overview of the top established talent at each position.

Which brings us to the omission of sophomore wide receiver Michael Floyd.

Generally I have no problem with a promising, though accomplished underclassmen earning his stripes. Floyd had played in 11 college football games. In one of those (Navy) he was injured early and in another (Hawaii) he was not yet back at full speed. For the sake of argument, that's nine career games of potential impact.

Floyd's fellow heralded sophomore receivers, Georgia's A.J. Green and Alabama's Julio Jones are both members of the Biletnikoff Watch List. Deservedly so. But it's ludicrous to think that Michael Floyd is not a candidate to be "watched" entering the season for an award presented to a wide receiver in mid-December.

A player need not be present on a pre-season watch list to win the Biletnikoff (the same is true for most of college football's post-season individual honors) and no Notre Dame receiver has won the award (first presented in 1994, Jeff Samardzija was a finalist in 2005 and 2006).

Don't be surprised if the 2009 list of 10 semi-finalists has a new addition to its ranks.

Golden Tate and the Fred Biletnikoff Watch List

The Irish defense will square off vs. just two of the remaining 36 Biletnikoff Watch List members – USC wide receiver (and consensus pre-season All American) Damian Williams and Washington's D'Andre Goodwin. Both matchups occur in South Bend.

2009 Biletnikoff Award Watch List:

Golden Tate and the Walter Camp Award

The Walter Camp Football Foundation announced 30 "players to watch" for its Player of the Year award. Former Irish recipients of the award include tight end Ken McAfee in 1977; flanker/tailback/return specialist and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown in 1987; and flanker/tailback/return specialist Raghib "Rocket" Ismail in 1990.

Tate is one of five wide receivers to appear on the pre-season list. The Irish will square off vs. a single member of the watch list this season – October 17 vs. USC senior safety Taylor Mays.

2009 Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List

Sam Young and the Outland Trophy

Young is one of 40 players on the 2009 Outland Trophy Watch List. The award recognizes the nation's top interior lineman. In early October, the Football Writers Association of America will consider other players for the 2009 Outland Trophy Watch List when the majority of teams have completed four games. School's Sports Information Directors will be asked to contact their conference's representative on the 2009 All-America Committee and alert the FWAA with any nominated player. The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third oldest award in college football. The winner will be announced on the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10. Three former Irish players have received the prestigious honor – none since 1976:

  • Offensive Tackle George Connor, 1946
  • Offensive Guard Bill Fischer, 1948
  • Defensive End Ross Browner, 1976
Notre Dame will face three Outland candidates this season, all within a one-week period: USC guard Jeff Byers, USC center Kristopher O'Dowd on October 17, and Boston College center Matt Tennant on October 24.

2009 Outland Trophy Watch List


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