TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Junior running back Dalvin Cook has been included on the 2016 Maxwell Award Watch List, the National College Football Awards Association announced Tuesday, while defenders Derwin James and DeMarcus Walker are on the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award.
The Maxwell Award has been given to the top College Player of the Year since 1937. Cook is on the preseason watch list for the second consecutive season and is looking to be the first Seminole since Charlie Ward in 1993 to walk away with the honor. Cook was a semifinalist for the award last season, when he became FSU’s single-season leader in rushing yards (1,691) and all-purpose yards (1,935).
The Miami, Fla., native earned the 2015 Jim Brown Award, given to the nation’s top running back by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. Cook ended the regular season leading the nation with 168.2 yards from scrimmage per game, including 194.3 yards per game against FBS teams with a winning record and 1,031 yards and 11 touchdowns against teams with top 50 rushing defenses.
The Bednarik Award has been presented to the top College Defensive Player of the Year. Former Seminole Jalen Ramsey was a semifinalist for the award a season ago.
James proved to be one of the best defensive freshman in the country in 2015 as he finished with 91 tackles, 95 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. James earned All-ACC Third Team honors as well as Freshman All-America honors from the Sporting News and USA Today. The Haines City, Fla., native led the team in tackles five times in 2015, including a season-high 14 stops against Houston in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Walker returns to the Seminole defensive front for his final collegiate season after an impressive junior year where he established career highs in tackles (58), tackles for loss (15.5), sacks (10.5), pass breakups (5) and forced fumbles (4). The Jacksonville, Fla., native registered his first career interception in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Houston and closed out the regular season with the first blocked kick of his career on a fourth quarter field goal attempt by Florida in Gainesville. His 10.5 sacks were the most for a Seminole defender since 2012 and tied for fifth in the ACC last season.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced October 31, with the three finalists announced November 21. The awards will be announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 8.
Over the next two weeks, watch lists will be released for 15 additional awards, including the Mackey Award and Rimington Trophy on Wednesday.