Pittsburgh—Two more Pitt players were named preseason candidates for top national awards today.
Senior Hubie Graham is one of 33 players named to the watch list for the John Mackey Award, annually presented to the nation's top tight end. Additionally, senior Ryan Turnley has been named to the 51-player preseason list for the Rimington Trophy, given to college football's top center.
Graham (Scranton, Pa./West Scranton) had 28 catches for 325 yards (11.6 avg.) and three touchdowns in 2011, his first active season at Pitt following his transfer from Illinois. In addition to his production as a pass catcher, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Graham was also a major asset in the run game as a blocker.
Turnley (Hopewell, Pa./Hopewell) started every contest at center last year, his first season at the position. The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder was the offensive front's most consistent performer despite having to endure nagging foot injuries. He has built on his strong junior campaign with an excellent offseason. This past April he was named the offensive recipient of the Ed Conway Award, given each year to the most improved players of spring drills.
The 2012 season marks the first for Paul Chryst as head coach at Pitt. Chryst comes to Pittsburgh following an accomplished eight-year tenure at the University of Wisconsin, where he was a two-time finalist for the Broyles Award, annually presented to college football's top assistant coach.
Widely recognized as one of the game's finest strategists, Chryst directed a Wisconsin offense last year that averaged a school-record 44.1 points per game en route to the Badgers' second consecutive Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth.