In our Hardware Hopefuls story published last month, IrishEyes speculated as many as 18 players could appear on pre-season or in-season Award Watch Lists.
Two sure-fire inclusions, wide receiver Michael Floyd and linebacker Manti Te’o, wasted little time – the former appearing on the Maxwell Award Watch List, honoring college football’s Player of the Year; the latter as a member of the Bednarik Watch List, presented to the nation’s top defensive player.
Floyd (#1) and Te'o (#2) topped IrishEyes Top 10 player list at the conclusion of the 2010 seaon. But the addition of a third off-the-radar choice joining Notre Dame's top dogs ranks as a pleasant summer surprise, as twice-injured senior Dayne Crist joins Floyd on the extensive Maxwell Watch List (Notre Dame is one of 17 teams with at least two players on the Maxwell Award Watch List).
Crist missed the final five games of the 2010 season following knee surgery. He threw for 15 touchdowns (7 interceptions) and more than 2,000 yards in eight games last fall, tossing at least two touchdowns in four of his eight full contests.
Floyd is on pace to shatter multiple program records, and should appear on forthcoming lists such as the Fred Biletnikoff (Outstanding wide receiver) and Walter Camp (Player of the Year).
Te’o, a Bednarik semi-finalist last fall, was likewise among the Butkus Award’s (Outstanding Linebacker) semi-finalist nominations in 2010, and will likely grace the 2011 Bronco Nagurski Watch List, an award also presented to the nation’s top defender.
No Notre Dame player has claimed the Bednarik Award (presented annually since 1993), while Brady Quinn (2006) took home the Maxwell Award following his senior season.
Future watch lists, including those for the Biletnikoff and Mackey Awards (Outstanding Tight End) will be revealed weekdays through July 18. Former Irish wide receiver Golden Tate won the Biletnikoff in 2009.
- July 6: Biletnikoff Award/Mackey Award
- July 7: Lou Groza Award/Ray Guy Award
- July 8: Bronko Nagurski Trophy/Outland Trophy
- July 11: Jim Thorpe Award
- July 12: Rotary Lombardi Award
- July 13: Rimington Trophy
- July 14: Butkus Award
- July 15: Davey O'Brien Award/Doak Walker Award
- July 18: Walter Camp Award