The Big Ten Conference appears prominently on the 2017 preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award (presented annually to the nation’s top defensive player) and the Maxwell Award (given each season to the national player of the year), with a combined 26 Big Ten students garnering preseason recognition for the honors, both of which are awarded by the Maxwell Football Club.
Fifteen conference students earned a spot on the Bednarik Award preseason watch list. The Big Ten nominees include Indiana’s Tegray Scales, Iowa’s Josey Jewell, Maryland’s Jermaine Carter, Michigan’s Rashan Gary and Maurice Hurst, Minnesota’s Steve Richardson, Northwestern’s Godwin Igwebuike, Ohio State’s Jerome Baker, Nick Bosa, Tyquan Lewis and Denzel Ward, Penn State’s Marcus Allen and Jason Cabinda, and Wisconsin’s Jack Cichy and Conor Sheehy. Since the Bednarik Award’s debut in 1995, nine students from Big Ten schools have earned the honor, most recently in 2009 by Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh. (FULL LIST)
Eleven Big Ten students received mention on the Maxwell Trophy preseason watch list. Those conference candidates include Iowa’s Akrum Wadley, Michigan’s Wilton Speight, Michigan State’s LJ Scott, Minnesota’s Rodney Smith, Northwestern’s Justin Jackson and Clayton Thorson, Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett and Mike Weber, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley, and Rutgers’ Janarion Grant. A student from a current Big Ten football program has been presented with the Maxwell Award on 20 occasions since the award’s inception in 1937, with Penn State’s Larry Johnson the most recent recipient in 2002. (FULL LIST)