The 2011 watch list for the Maxwell Award includes 12 SEC players.
Given annually to college football's most outstanding player since 1937, the Maxwell Award was won last year by Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
Here's the list of SEC players making the cut:
RB Vick Ballard, Mississippi State
QB Tyler Bray, Tennessee
WR Greg Childs, Arkansas
RB Knile Davis, Arkansas
RB Mike Dyer, Auburn
QB Stephen Garcia, South Carolina
WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
RB Tauren Poole, Tennessee
RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Arkansas and South Carolina each placed three on the list, the most among SEC teams. Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt were shut out.
A couple of Childs' position mates at Arkansas could have easily been on the list -- Jarius Wright and Joe Adams. I've said repeatedly that Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden is the most underrated player in the SEC, and the omission of his name from this list only underscores that belief. You could also make a case for Chris Rainey and/or Jeff Demps at Florida, and not seeing anybody from LSU on the list is surprising.
Four SEC quarterbacks made it. Georgia's Aaron Murray was an obvious selection, but Arkansas' Tyler Wilson has never started a college game. He played extremely well last season in that Auburn contest after Ryan Mallett was knocked out with a concussion, and it's obvious that a lot of people are expecting big things from him now that he steps in as the starter. Tennessee's Tyler Bray will try to pick up where he left off as a true freshman, throwing 18 touchdown passes in his debut season, while South Carolina's Stephen Garcia is the most experienced of the bunch. He's the Gamecocks' third all-time leading passer, but is coming off his fifth suspension.
Six of the 12 SEC players on the list are running backs, another reminder of how deep the league is at running back this season.