FAYETTEVILLE — Three Arkansas football players were named to preseason watch lists for national awards Monday morning.
Running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams were among 78 players selected to the watch list for the 2014 Maxwell Award, which is presented annually to the college player of the year. Defensive end Trey Flowers is in consideration for the 2014 Bednarik Award, which recognized the nation’s defensive player of the year.
Collins and Williams were selected to the watch list after combining to rush for 1,926 yards with 10 touchdowns last season and will be vital to Arkansas’ offensive success once again in 2014. Williams is a candidate for the award after combining for 972 yards with six touchdowns last season, while Collins topped the 1,000-yard mark and was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year.
Arkansas is among four schools to have two running backs on the Maxwell Award watch list, joining Alabama (T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry), Texas (Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray) and Oregon (Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner).
Flowers earned second-team All-SEC honors after collecting 13 ½ tackles for losses and 5 sacks last season. He considered entering the 2014 NFL Draft as a junior, but will be back to lead a defense that allowed 30.8 points a game last season.
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron won the Maxwell Award last season, while Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald was the Bednarik Award winner.
The Maxwell and Bednarik watch list announcements were the first of several over the next two days. Watch lists for the Mackey Award (nation’s top tight end) and Rimington Trophy (nation’s best center) will be announced today.
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau