Listed among several publications' preseason Heisman Trophy watch lists, the Rose Bowl MVP threw for 1,849 yards and 12 TDs and rushed for 1,079 yards and 14 TDs during UT's 11-1 '04 season.
"When you've been the Most Valuable Player in the Rose Bowl, and with two 10-point come-from-behind wins, and you've got two years left, and everybody back except your tailback and fullback, you're in pretty good shape," head coach Mack Brown said. "He's carrying that confidence throughout our team."
Young became the first player in Longhorn history to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in a season in 2004. Young, who is 17-2 as a starter (89.5%), ranks eighth on the UT all-time passing list (3,004 yards), eighth in passing TDs (18) and his 2,077 career rushing yards are tops among Longhorn quarterbacks.
The 11th Chuck Bednarik Award honors the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year
A preseason first-team All-American, Wright is a fourth-year starter who has posted 181 tackles, 13 sacks, 28 TFLs, 52 QB pressures and forced five fumbles in 37 career games (32 starts). He earned second-team All-America honors from The Sporting News and was a first-team All-Big 12 performer in 2004. Wright was previously named to the 2005 Lombardi Award watch list, recognizing the nation's top lineman.
Harris is a third-year starter who led Texas with nine tackles in the 38-37 win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl. The senior has tallied 191 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 20 QB pressures, 11 pass breakups and forced five fumbles in 38 career games (18 starts). A second-team All-Big 12 pick in 2004, Harris ranked second on the team with 118 tackles. He also registered two sacks, 10 TFLs and nine PBUs on the year.
"I thought he took a great step forward in the Rose Bowl," Brown said. "I thought he had a great Rose Bowl game. We've got to have him play with that kind of passion every week. He needs to be the middle leader of the defense."
Former Longhorn WLB and Butkus Award winner Derrick Johnson was a finalist for last year's Bednarik Award while Johnson and running back Cedric Benson both made the list of 10 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award in 2004.
Ten semifinalists for each award will be announced in October and the field will be trimmed to three finalists in November. The winners of the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show that will be broadcast on ESPN in December. Additions and subtractions to the lists, based on player performance, will be made throughout the 2005 football season. Players selected to these initial watch lists have distinguished themselves as All-Conference or All-America selections from their respective universities in past years. Underclassmen are selected based on recommendations from the Maxwell Football Club Advisory Committee.