Two University of Louisville football players were named to prestigious award watch lists on Monday.

Junior quarterback Lamar Jackson was selected to the 81st Maxwell Award Watch List — presented to the top player in college football. Cornerback Jaire Alexander was named a candidate for the 23rd Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive player.

Jackson, the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy last season, became the school’s first Maxwell Award winner after he accounted for 5,114 yards of total offense and 51 touchdowns in guiding the Cardinals’ offense to finish third nationally in total offense and sixth in scoring. The native of Pompano Beach, Fla., set the school record with 1,571 yards rushing and passed for 3,543 yards.

A native of Charlotte, N.C., Alexander, a junior, was a second-team all-ACC performer after leading the team with five interceptions in 2016. He picked off a pair of passes in a loss to nationally ranked Clemson and two more in a road win at Virginia.

The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell’s contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ’69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ’67.

Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced October 30, 2017, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 20, 2017. The winners of the 2017 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 7, 2017. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 9, 2018.

by Rocco Gasparo

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