July 22, 2011 - by
Breaking Down The Watch Lists

July 22, 2011

Brandon Mellor
Brandon Mellor

Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida State football team and its players have been generating so much positive preseason-buzz over the last few weeks that it may be hard to keep track of all the watch lists that feature guys in the garnet and gold.

Well, fear not. Seminoles.com has a complete list and breakdown of all the student-athletes that are considered some of the best at their respective positions heading into the 2011 college football season.

Here’s a list of the awards and their description and the Seminoles that have been named to the watch lists.

2011 Bednarik Award Candidates (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club):

  • Nigel Bradham – senior linebacker
  • Brandon Jenkins – junior defensive end
  • Greg Reid – junior cornerback
  • Xavier Rhodes – redshirt sophomore cornerback

2011 Butkus Award Candidate (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker by the Butkus Foundation):

  • Bradham

2011 Walter Camp Award Candidate (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding player by the Walter Camp Foundation):

  • Jenkins

2011 Lou Groza Award Candidate (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding kicker by the Palm Beach Sports Commission):

  • Dustin Hopkins – junior kicker

2011 Rotary Lombardi Award Candidates (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding down lineman by the Rotary Club of Houston):

  • Bradham
  • Jenkins
  • Andrew Datko – senior offensive lineman

2011 Maxwell Award Candidate (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding player by the Maxwell Football Club):

  • EJ Manuel – redshirt junior quarterback

2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Candidates (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte TD Club):

  • Bradham
  • Jenkins
  • Rhodes

2011 Davey O’Brien Award Candidate (Presented to the nation’s best quarterback by the Davey O’Brien Foundation):

  • Manuel

2011 Lott Impact Trophy Candidates (Presented to the defensive impact player of the year by the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation):

  • Bradham
  • Jenkins

2011 Outland Trophy Candidate (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman by the FWAA):

  • Datko

2011 Jim Thorpe Award Candidates (Presented to the nation’s most outstanding defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association):

  • Reid
  • Rhodes

So, what exactly does FSU’s presence on these different watch lists mean? It means that the 2010 season was much more than the Seminoles’ return to the 10-win plateau. Last year’s effort not only put the program back on the map but also served as a reminder to the college football world that some supremely talented student-athletes lace up their Nikes in Tallahassee.

One look at the Bednarik list and it’s clear that FSU boasts a playmaker on all three levels of its defense: line, linebackers and secondary. 

Jenkins burst on to the scene as a sophomore last year; doubling as quarterback intimidator and the human “symbol” of the ‘Noles’ renewed pass-rush ability. It’s no surprise that after registering a nation’s third-best sack total of 13.5 in 2010, Jenkins is considered one of the top players in the nation and worthy of appearing on watch lists for the Walter Camp Award and Lott Impact Trophy Award, among others.

Bradham, Rhodes and Reid all have the potential to have big-time seasons and could grab some hardware by year’s end as well.

Hopkins proved last season that he is not just one of the best and strongest-legged kickers in the nation but also one of the most clutch. 

The loss of Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon to graduation means that the offensive line is Datko’s and he has a legitimate shot to be a finalist for the Outland Trophy if he can stay healthy while protecting Manuel’s blind side. If he can successfully keep Manuel out of the arms of defenders and off the turf, FSU’s starting quarterback could in turn be a real contender for the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards.

Both Manuel and Jenkins will be in attendance at the 2011 ACC Football Kickoff starting this Sunday. Seminoles.com will also be there and will have full coverage with feature articles and videos and player and coach quotes from each ACC school. Make sure you continue to check back with the official athletics website of FSU during this big inaugural event.


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