Big East players on Bednarik, Maxwell lists

The release of preseason watch lists has begun!

So which Big East players have caught the eye of two prestigious awards?

First up, the watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented annually to the top player in college football. A total of 65 players made the list. Here are the Big East reps:

I thought Graham was a slam dunk candidate for the list. He was on pace for a monster season a year ago before tearing his ACL against UConn. He is expected to be ready to go when the season begins. Bridgewater and McCombs are two of eight sophomores to make the list. Bridgewater was Big East Newcomer of the Year last season, and many believe he will be the best quarterback in the Big East this season. McCombs ran for 1,151 yards a year ago, one of three players in the Big East to go over 1,000 yards rushing last season.

Now here are the four Big East representatives on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, presented to the best defensive player in college football. In all, 65 players made this list as well.

Not surprised to see Greene on the list. He was Co-Defensive Player of the Year last season, and goes into the season as one of the favorites to win the award again. Donald and Williams were two of the most productive defensive linemen in the sack department last season. Williams led the Big East with 12.5 sacks, and ranked second in the nation; Donald was right behind with 11, and ranked tied for No. 7 in the nation. Ryan developed into one of the best cornerbacks in the Big East a year ago, and finished with 67 tackles and 14 pass breakups. Rutgers is one of 19 schools nationally with at least two players on this watch list.