Six Clemson football players were named to preseason “Watch Lists” for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards on Tuesday. Clemson and Alabama have the most players on the two award lists combined with six selections each. Clemson was the only FBS school with at least three selections to each list.
The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell, has been given to America's College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell's contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of '69 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of '67.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson, running back Wayne Gallman and wide receiver Mike Williams were all on the Watch List for the Maxwell Award. Defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, cornerback Cordrea Tankersley and linebacker Ben Boulware are all on the watch list for the Bednarik Award.
Watson was a finalist for the Maxwell Award last year when he won the Davey O’Brien and Manning Awards as the top quarterback in college football. He also was a consensus first-team All-American, the first in Clemson history. Gallman set a Clemson record for rushing yards in a season with 1527 and was a first-team All-ACC selection. Williams played just 12 plays last season before suffering a neck injury while catching a touchdown pass, but was Clemson’s top receiver in terms of yardage in 2014 with 1,057 yards on 57 catches.
Watkins is a preseason first-team All-American defensive tackle, who was a first-team All-ACC player a year ago. Boulware ranked second on the Clemson team in tackles in 2015 with 138 and was a first-team All-ACC selection. He was also defensive MVP of the Orange Bowl win over Oklahoma. Tankersley made third team All-ACC last year, but he led the Clemson team and ranked 20th in the nation in interceptions with five.