Auburn running back Mike Dyer, Alabama running back Trent Richardson and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray all named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, given annually to college football’s most outstanding player.
Sixty-six players were named to the list Tuesday. Members of the National College Football Awards Association will release 14 preseason watch lists from July 5-18.
Dyer, a sophomore, follows former teammate Cam Newton, who won the award last year. The running back rushed for a Tigers freshman record 1,093 yards in 2011, earning Bowl Championship Series title game offensive MVP by running for 143 yards against Oregon.
Richardson, a junior, averaged 6.2 yards per carry last year, running for 700 yards and six touchdowns while splitting time with former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Richardson will be the Tide’s featured running back this season.
Murray, a sophomore, was a freshman All-American last season after throwing for 3,049 yards, a Georgia freshman record and the second-most by a freshman in SEC history. He had 24 touchdown passes.
Five Alabama players and one Georgia player made the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player. There were 65 total players listed.
Alabama’s selections include safety Mark Barron, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, safety Robert Lester and linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
Barron, a senior, led the Crimson Tide with 75 tackles last year, adding three interceptions. Hightower, a junior, had the second-most tackles with 69. Upshaw, a senior, had a team-best seven sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss.
Kirkpatrick, a junior, had 53 tackles and three interceptions. Lester, a junior, led the team with eight interceptions.
Senior cornerback Brandon Boykin represents the Bulldogs on the list. He had 44 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and three interceptions as a junior. He is Georgia’s active leader with six interceptions and is the school’s all-time leader with 1,813 kickoff return yards.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced Oct. 31. Three finalists will be named Nov. 21, with the winner announced Dec. 8 during ESPN’s College Football Awards Show.