Four Oregon football players named to award watch lists

Every year, numerous college football committees release watch lists for the awards they hand out at the conclusion of the college football season.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was named to both the Maxwell Award list and the Davey O’Brien watch list. The Maxwell award is for Maxwell’s college football player of the year and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is given to the quarterback that is deemed the best in the NCAA.

Herbert will begin the season as the unquestioned starting quarterback for the Ducks once again, this time with Mario Cristobal at the helm. Cristobal will be Herbert’s third head coach in his three years at Oregon.

Last season, the sophomore quarterback put up 1,983 yards and 15 touchdowns in eight games. The Eugene native missed five starts in 2017 after breaking his collarbone in a 45-24 win over Cal.

Oregon does have a previous winner of both awards. In 2014, quarterback Marcus Mariota won both the Maxwell award and the O’Brien trophy while leading the Ducks to the National Championship game.

Other Pac-12 quarterbacks named to the Maxwell list were Stanford’s KJ Costello, Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins, Arizona’s Khalil Tate and Washington’s Jake Browning. Tate, Wilkins and Browning were also named to the O’Brien list.

Senior running back Tony Brooks-James was also nominated for the Doak Walker Award, given to the best running back in college football. With the departures of Kani Benoit and Royce Freeman, Brooks-James will begin the season as the Ducks starting running back.

On the other side of the ball, defensive lineman Jalen Jelks and linebacker Troy Dye were named to the 2018 Bednarik Award watch list.

Dye and Jelks were both named to last season’s Pro-Football Focus All-Pac-12 first team and the All-Pac-12 second team by the coaches poll.

Jelks was projected to be drafted in the first round by many publications thanks to his dominant junior season where he had 59 tackles, 15 for a loss with 6.5 of those being sacks. He was also named the and the defensive line MVP by his teammates.

Dye was named the Defensive MVP by his teammates after a sophomore season that saw 107 tackles, 13.5 for a loss, a fumble returned for a touchdown and an interception.

Only two Pac-12 players have won the award and both were linebackers. Arizona’s Scooby Wright did it in 2014 and USC’s Rey Maualuga did it in 2004.

The Ducks open their 2018 season with a game against Bowling Green in Eugene on Sept. 1.

Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack

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Maverick Pallack

Maverick Pallack

Maverick is an associate sports editor and reporter covering football, baseball, softball, track and field, women's tennis and men's tennis. You can follow him on Twitter @mavpallack or contact him at [email protected]