It's Watch List Season! Part II
By Steve Barnes
It's time to take a glance at even more college football awards that will be received in about four months. Yes, here is Part II of the dreaded "watch lists" (catch Part I here).
Again, instead of listing every player on the watch lists — some resemble a telephone book — the lists have been boiled down to three players with a shot a the trophy, one who is flying under the radar and one that got on the list thanks to the publicity of their schools.
It recognizes the best defensive back in college football. Too many times it goes to the player with the best stats, and that is unjust. One season I covered Leodis McKelvin and he was not considered for the award because he only had three interceptions. No one noticed he was only thrown at 12 times and the cornerback opposite him led the nation in picks. Go figure.
Projected Winner: As much as I love saying "Ha Ha Clinton-Dix," I cannot go with him. This year the Atlantic Coast Conference is loaded with quarterbacks who will fill the air with footballs. Florida State's defensive front will make life tough for quarterbacks. Joyner will benefit from it and take home the hardware.
This goes to the best defensive player in the nation. It is very subjective. But that is what makes this fun.
Top Three: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina; Louis Nix III, Notre Dame; C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Under The Radar: Ben Gardner, Stanford
Who?: Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky
Projected Winner: Much like the Heisman, the Bednarik winner needs that one highlight that is burned into the minds of the voters. Even though it didn't happen during the 2013 season, Clowney already has that highlight from last year when he almost decapitated a Michigan running back. They may as well give it to him now.
Dick Butkus played linebacker like no one else. Unfortunately, the modern-day linebacker plays nothing like Butkus did. Still, these are pretty good.
Top Three: Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech; C.J. Mosley, Alabama; Christian Jones, Florida State
Under The Radar: Greg Blair, Cincinnati
Who?: Dorian Bell, Duquesne
Projected Winner: This is going to be all about exposure. Alabama plays Virginia Tech to open the season and everyone has the date with Johnny Football circled. If Bama's defense lives up to expectation, Mosley takes an early lead and cruises to the award.
The award for the most outstanding tight end in college football. It almost has become a lost art to play the position in a traditional sense with all of the four-wide formations. But the tight end is still a quarterback's best friend.
Top Three: Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin; Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State; Arthur Lynch, Georgia
Under The Radar: Gerald Christian, Louisville
Who?: Zane Fakes, Ball State
Projected Winner: With all the weapons at Braxton Miller's disposal in Columbus, Big Ten defenses are going to have to leave someone 1-on-1. Heuerman should run circles around linebackers trying to cover him and his stats will take him to the trophy.
It goes to the best running back in the nation. It doesn't automatically go to the one with the most yards.
Top Three: Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona; Duke Johnson, Miami; T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Under The Radar: Silas Redd, USC
Who?: Jordan Parker, Middle Tennessee State
Projected Winner: There is no East Coast bias here. Both Miami and Alabama have quarterbacks who are the focal point of the offense and that will take away from the production of Johnson and Yeldon. Carey is the front runner, literally. Unless the Wildcats just don't give him the ball, he wins. But look out for Redd. The Penn State transfer finally has a year of experience in the Southern Cal system.
The Heisman Jr. It goes to the best player in college football.
Top Three: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M; Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina; A.J. McCarron, Alabama
Under The Radar: De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Who?: Yawin Smallwood, UConn
Projected Winner: Manziel's ego simply is writing checks his talent can't cash. McCarron is solid, but not flashy. Again, Clowney has the highlight hit and he is getting more attention than any true defensive player in history. The trophy goes to Columbia.