Expectations are high for the South Carolina football team, and some of South Carolina’s top performers are getting noticed.
Players top national awards watch lists
Three Gamecock juniors, — Jadeveon Clowney, Rory Anderson and Bruce Ellington — have been named to preseason award watch lists for the 2013 season.
Clowney, a defensive end and unanimous All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, was named to the watch lists for both the Maxwell Award and the Bednarik Award. The Maxwell Award is given annually to America’s College Player of the Year, while the Bednarik Award is presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year.
The Rock Hill native, who is expected to be a first-round, if not the number one, draft pick in next year’s NFL draft, is one of just six defensive players named to the Maxwell watch list.
Clowney also finished last year as a finalist for the Bednarik Award, which was ultimately awarded to Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. Clowney would become just the second player in history to win both the Maxwell and Bednarik awards, after Te’o captured them both last season.
Anderson, who is predicted to be USC’s main target at tight end following the graduation of Justice Cunningham, is on the watch list for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end.
The junior from Powder Springs, Ga. has eight career touchdown receptions for the Gamecocks, including five in 2012, the most of any South Carolina tight end. Anderson was fourth on the team last year in yards per catch, averaging 19.4 yards per reception in 13 games last season. He is one of just five SEC tight ends on the list.
Anderson accounted for the fifth-most points of any Gamecock last season. He started two games last year and hauled in two touchdowns against East Carolina. Ellington, South Carolina’s leading receiver last year, has been named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list for the 2013 season. The award is given annually to the most versatile player in college football.
Ellington, who also doubles as a point guard on USC’s basketball team, has spent time at wide receiver, kick returner and quarterback in USC’s Wildcat formation in his Gamecock career. He scored seven touchdowns last year and has been South Carolina’s top kickoff returner for the past two seasons. The junior is one of nine SEC players to make the preseason list.
The semifinalists and finalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik awards will be announced on October 29 and November 25, while the winners will be unveiled on December 12 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show. The John Mackey Award mid-season watch list will be announced on October 14 and the semifinalist will be named on November 18. Finalists will be unveiled the following week, with the announcement of the winner coming at the Red Carpet Show. The Paul Hornung Award watch list is the largest of the four, consisting of 44 players.