(This story has been updated to include players nominated for the Walter Camp and Hornung Awards.)
Now that all of the college football preseason award watch lists have been issued, a total of seven USF football players have now been nominated. This includes
- Marlon Mack had previously been nominated for the Maxwell Award, given to the college football player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club. Mack has also been nominated for the Doak Walker Award, given to the top running back in college football. This is the second year in a row Mack has been placed on the Doak Walker preseason watch list. And one more honor for him -- he's been placed on the Walter Camp Award watch list, for the best overall player in the country.
- Deatrick Nichols has been named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list. The Thorpe Award is given to the best defensive back in college football. The nomination is in addition to the one Nichols already received for the Chuck Bednarik Award for the best overall defender. These are the first national award nominations Nichols has received.
- Rodney Adams was added to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award for college football's best wide receiver. Last year Adams set USF's single-season receiving yardage record with 822 yards on 45 catches, scoring nine touchdowns. (As we mentioned a few weeks ago, his pace from midseason on was much higher than that.) Adams also excelled as a kick returner and gained nearly 100 more yards as a ballcarrier. The Biletnikoff nomination is Adams's first time on a preseason watch list.
- Elkanah Dillon is on the Mackey Award watch list for the country's top tight end. Even though Dillon only caught nine passes last year as a freshman, he averaged over 23 yards per reception and looks set to inherit the big-play potential that Sean Price filled in USF's Gulf Coast Offense.
- Quinton Flowers has been nominated for the award for college football's top quarterback, the Davey O'Brien Award. In his first year as a starter, Flowers beat just about everyone's expectations for him with 2296 passing yards and a school-record 22 touchdown passes, with only eight interceptions. He also rushed for 991 yards, easily the most by a USF quarterback in a season, and led the Bulls with 12 touchdown runs.
- D'Ernest Johnson has been placed on the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, a relatively new honor that is given to college football's most versatile player. USF found plenty of ways to get the ball in Johnson's hands last season. He ran for 307 yards as a backup to Marlon Mack, caught 26 passes for 356 yards, and averaged 26.8 yards per kick return. He had USF's longest play from scrimmage, a 71-yard touchdown catch against FSU. And he threw two passes, both completed for touchdowns.
- Auggie Sanchez is up for the Butkus Award, given to the best linebacker in college football. Sanchez was all over the field in 2015, racking up 117 tackles (tied for the second-most in school history) and 8.5 tackles for loss. He was named second-team all-AAC and is currently on pace to finish his USF career right alongside Kawika Mitchell's school record of 367 tackles.
Sure, watch lists are pretty big and sometimes too big, but it's been a long time since USF had this many individual honors to announce... and the combination of award nominations at the skill positions is very rare indeed.