Three Notre Dame Fighting Irish rising seniors were named Monday to watch list for the Bednarik and Maxwell awards, two of college football’s most prestigious post-season honors.
Defensive lineman Jerry Tillery and linebacker Te’von Coney were named on the watch list of the Bednarik Award, bestowed annually on college football’s best defensive player, and quarterback Brandon Wimbush was placed on the watch list of the Maxwell Award, given to college football’s best player.
Notre Dame players have won the Maxwell seven times: Leon Hart in 1949, Johnny Lattner in 1952 & 1953, Jim Lynch in 1966, Ross Browner in 1977, Brady Quinn in 2006 and Manti Te’o in 2012. Baker Mayfield, formerly of the Oklahoma Sooners and now of the Cleveland Browns, was last year’s recipient.
The complete Maxwell Award watch list is here.
The Bednarik Award has only been awarded since 1995. Te’o is Notre Dame’s sole recipient, winning that in 2012. The Alabama Crimson Tide’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, now of the Miami Dolphins, won the award last year. Fitzpatrick is a high school teammate of Wimbush at St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.)
The complete Bednarik Award watch list is here.
Thus officially begins watch list season.
The release schedule is as follows:
Tuesday: Davey O’Brien Award, never won by a Notre Dame player. Last year’s winner: Mayfield.
Wednesday: Doak Walker Award, never won by a Notre Dame player. Last year’s winner: Bryce Love, Stanford Cardinal.
Thursday: Biletnikoff Award, won by Golden Tate in 2009. Last year’s winner: James Washington, Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Friday: John Mackey Award, won by Tyler Eifert in 2012. Last year’s winner: Oklahoma Sooners’ Mark Andrews. / Rimington Trophy, never won by an Irish player. Last year’s winner: Ohio State Buckeyes’ Billy Price.
July 23: Butkus Award, won by Manti Te’o in 2012 and Jaylon Smith in 2015. The high school version was won by both Te’o in 2008 and Jaylon Smith in 2012. Last year’s winner: Roquan Smith, then of the Georgia Bulldogs and now of the Chicago Bears.
Jim Thorpe Award, never won by a Notre Dame player. Last year’s winner: Fitzpatrick.
July 24: Bronco Nagurski Trophy, won by Te’o in 2012. Last year’s winner: Bradley Chubb of the N.C. State Wolfpack, now of the Denver Broncos.
Outland Trophy, won by George Connor in 1946 (its first year), Bill Fischer in 1948 and Browner in 1976. Last year’s winner: Ed Oliver of the Houston Cougars.
July 25: Lou Groza Award, never won by an Irish player. Last year’s winner: Utah Utes’ Matt Gay.
July 26: Paul Hornung Award: Although named after a Notre Dame player, an Irish athlete has never won this fairly new award. Last year’s winner: Saquon Barkley, then of the Penn State Nittany Lions and now of the New York Giants.
Wuerffel Trophy, never won by an Irish player. Last year’s winner: Kentucky Wildcats’ Courtney Love. (No word if the trophy has a hole in it or if Love lived through this.)
July 27: Walter Camp Award, won by Ken McAfee in 1977, Tim Brown in 1987, Raghib Ismail in 1990 and Te’o in 2012. Last year’s winner: Mayfield.
I’d also note that Notre Dame long snapper John Shannon was named July 1 to the David Binn Award watch list. I’ve reached out to the person running their Twitter account to determine the legitimacy of this new award, but have received no response so far. I remain skeptical.