OKLAHOMA CITY – As the summer ticks down and football season approaches, the preseason award watch lists emerge and many feature top talent from the state of Oklahoma.
Tuesday, the Maxwell Football Club released its watch list for the 75th annual Maxwell Award, which is given to America's most outstanding football player, as well as the 17th annual Bednarik Award, given to the nation's top defensive player.
Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden along with Oklahoma's Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles and Tulsa's Damaris Johnson are all featured on the Maxwell watch list, while Oklahoma's Travis Lewis is on the list of those to watch for the Bednarik Award.
Blackmon, the 2010 Biletnikoff Award recipient and Big 12 offensive player of the year, caught 102 passes for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns during the 2010 regular season. He led the nation in receiving yards per game with 151.36 and in receptions per game with 9.27. Blackmon also came in fourth in the nation in points per game with 10.91 as well as ninth in the country in all-purpose yards per game with 159.
Weeden on the other hand completed 342-of 511 passes for 4,277 yards and 34 touchdowns.
For the Sooners, Jones completed 405-of-617 of his passes for 4,718 yards with 38 touchdowns and was named the offensive MVP in the Sooners' Fiesta Bowl victory.
Broyles was No. 2 in receptions with 131 and No. 4 in receiving yards nationally with 1,622 last season.
For Tulsa, Johnson led the nation in each of the past two seasons for all-purpose yards when he averaged 224 yards in the 2009 season and 202 yards last year.
Lewis, a linebacker, has started all 41 games of his career and has been the team's leading tackler in each of the last three seasons. He's just 82 tackles shy of cracking OU's prestigious career top 10 list for that category.
Besides Blackmon and Broyles, other returning Maxwell Award semifinalists from 2010 include Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, Oregon running back LaMichael James, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
The Maxwell Award has been given to America's outstanding collegiate football player since 1937 and is named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell. Meanwhile, the Bednarik Award, named after Chuck Bednarik, has been presented to the nation's top defensive player since 1995.
The watch lists incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision programs and conferences from coast to coast.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced October 31st and the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 21st. The winners of the 2011 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced on December 8th.