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Gamecocks, Tigers Land On Preseason Watch Lists

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Clemson University and the University of South Carolina landed several star players on the first round of 2019 preseason watch list this week.

The Philadelphia-based Maxwell Football Club rolled out its annual watch list this week for both the Maxwell Award and the Bednarik Award.

Named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, the Maxwell Award has been awarded annually since 1937 to America’s “college player of the year.” Its most recent winner was Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – who is on this year’s watch list.

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(Via: Travis Bell Photography)

Joining him? Junior running back Travis Etienne (above), sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence and sophomore wide receiver Justyn Ross of Clemson. For South Carolina, senior quarterback Jake Bentley made the preseason watch list.

Etienne, a 5-foot-10, 215-pound native of Jennings, Louisiana, ran for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2018. He also caught a pair of touchdown passes.

Lawrence, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound native of Cartersville, Georgia, completed 259 of 397 passes (65.2 percent) for 3,280 yards and 30 touchdowns a year ago as a true freshman – despite not becoming Clemson’s starting quarterback until the fifth game of the season. He also ran for 177 yards and a touchdown.

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(Via: Travis Bell Photography)

Lawrence (above) threw only four interceptions on the season.

Ross, another true freshman, caught 46 passes for 1,000 yards – including 12 catches for 301 yards in two College Football Playoff (CFP) games. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Phenix City, Arizona native had nine touchdown receptions – including three during the CFP.

As for Bentley, he finished his junior season at Carolina completing 250 of 388 passes (61.9 percent) for 3,171 yards with 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

No Gamecock or Tiger has ever won this award.

The same is true of the Bednarik award, which was been presented annually since 1995 to America’s “college defensive player of the year.” Named in honor of former Philadelphia Eagles’ star Chuck Bednarik, the award was won most recently by former Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen.

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(Via: Travis Bell Photography)

Two Tigers landed on the preseason watch list for this award: Junior linebacker Isaiah Simmons and sophomore defensive end Xavier Thomas (above). Meanwhile South Carolina senior defensive end Javon Kinlaw also made the list.

Simmons, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound native of Olathe, Kansas, led the Tigers with 97 tackles (including 9.5 tackles for loss) during his sophomore season a year ago. He also had seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks and one interception (which he returned for a touchdown). Thomas, a 6-foot-2, 260-pound Florence, S.C. native, recorded 43 tackles (including 10.5 tackles for loss) and 3.5 sacks as a true freshman.

Kinlaw was credited with 38 tackles (including ten tackles for loss) and a team-high 4.5 sacks during his junior season for South Carolina. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound defensive tackle from Charleston, S.C. also broke up five passes for coordinator Travaris Robinson’s defense.

-FITSNews

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