Husker seniors Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell and junior Randy Gregory were each named to watch lists announced on Monday morning.
One of the nation’s top returning rushers, Abdullah was named to watch lists for both the 78th annual Maxwell Award and the Paul Hornung Award. Bell was also named to the Hornung Award Watch List, while Gregory was listed on the watch list for the 20th annual Chuck Bednarik Award.
The Maxwell Award has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937 and is presented by the Maxell Football Club. The club also presents the Bednarik Award, given annually to the College Defensive Player of the Year, since 1995. The Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse is given annually by the Louisville Sports Commission to the most versatile player in college football.
Abdullah rushed for 1,690 yards last season, the most by a Nebraska player since 1997, and this fall he could become the first Husker to record three 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He is also the nation’s active career leader in all-purpose yards and is on track to become Nebraska’s all-time leader in that category.
Like Abdullah, Bell is a dual threat for the Huskers, excelling as a receiver and kickoff return specialist. Bell enters his senior season poised to become the school’s all-time leader in both receptions and receiving yardage. He is also one of the nation’s top returning kickoff returners after averaging 26.5 yards per return last season, including a 99-yard touchdown.
Gregory became one of the Big Ten’s top defenders last season and has earned preseason All-America accolades in 2014. In his first year with the Huskers, Gregory led the Big Ten with 10.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Nine of Gregory’s sacks came in Big Ten Conference play, including a season-high three sacks at Michigan.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced Nov. 3, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled on Nov. 24. The winners will be announced as part of the ESPN College Football Awards show on Dec. 11.
Monday’s announcements were first of several watch lists which will be unveiled over the next two weeks. The National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2014 preseason watch list calendar:
Mon., July 7: Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award
Tue., July 8: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy
Wed., July 9: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award
Thurs., July 10: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy
Fri., July 11: Jim Thorpe Award
Mon., July 14: Butkus Award / Rotary Lombardi Award
Tue., July 15: Biletnikoff Award
Wed., July 16: Davey O’Brien Award
Thurs., July 17: Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 18: Walter Camp Award