It may surprise you to learn that not everyone is wild about preseason college football award watch lists. What should be regarded as a moment of pride for hardworking student athletes is often ridiculed in the media and behind the invisibility cloak of social media.
I see more players made the college football "watch list" today. It is meaningless...useless info. Hard to believe anyone reports on this— Fred Heumann (@unclefred6) July 6, 2016
Is there anything more useless than a preseason watch list? #cfb— Gary Brown (@CFBupdate) July 8, 2016
And so begins "watch list" season...time of yr I remind everyone EVERY eligible college football player is watched, so watch lists are silly— Norm Wood (@normwood) July 5, 2016
Honk if you play college football and haven't appeared on an award watch list ... !— Teresa Walker (@TeresaMWalker) July 8, 2016
News: Every player at every school has been named to every Watch List. Congrats to them all.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 5, 2016
Ha ha! I get it! Lots of college football players are named to preseason watch lists! Good burns, y'all! Award yourself an ESPY! Rest assured, valued reader, I am not a Watch List snob. If anything, extracting the wheat from the chaff of 128 college football programs makes it easy for guys like me.
For example, were it not for College Football Watch List Season, I'd have had only a layman's awareness of the Sun Belt's talent richness. Now the research is done for me. Thirty different SBC players bring the #SunBeltHeat! If we can assume that each Sun Belt roster has 105 players, that means only 2.5% of Sun Belters made a list. How many of us are in the top 2.5% of anything?
So who are these guys? Bad asses, all of them! Do any of a chance at actually handling the hardware? Not unless Leonard Fournette transfers to the ULM Warhawks. Still, the talent in the Sun Belt is on fire for 2016. You'd do well to watch these guys, even if you're Stewart Mandel.
Sun Belt "Watch-List Players" to Watch in 2016
Appalachian St. Mountaineers
Marcus Cox, RB (Maxwell, Doak)
Barrett Burns, TE (Mackey)
Parker Collins, K (Guy)
Darian Small, DL (Wuerffel)
Taylor Lamb, QB (O'Brien)
Arkansas State Red Wolves
Ja'Von Rolland-Jones, DE (Bednarik, Nagurski)
Devin Mondie, C (Rimington)
Cody Brown, DB (Thorpe)
Blaise Taylor, DB/PR/KR (Wuerffel)
Warren Wand, RB (Walker)
Georgia State Panthers
Keith Rucker, TE (Mackey, Wuerffel)
Gabe Mobley, C (Rimington)
Bobby Baker, DB (Thorpe)
Robert Davis, WR (Biketnikoff)
Penny Hart, WR (Biletnikoff)
South Alabama Jaguars
Gerald Everett, TE (Mackey)
Aleem Sunanon, K, (Groza)
Xavier Johnson, RB (Hornung)
Jeremy Reeves, DB, (Thorpe)
Antonio Garcia, OL (Outland)
John Johnson, WR (Wuerffel)
Jordan Chunn, RB (Walker)
Georgia Southern Eagles
Matt Breida, RB (Maxwell, Walker)
Andy Kwon, C (Rimington)
Louisiana Ragin Cajuns
Elijah McGuire, RB (Maxwell, Walker, Hornung)
Karmichael Dunbar, DL (Weurfful)
Austin Rehkow, K (Guy)
Steve Matlock, C (Rimington)
New Mexico State Aggies
Larry Rose, RB (Maxwell, Walker, Camp)
Texas State Bobcats
Felix Romero (Weurfful)
Notes and Observations
- Appalachian State, Arkansas State and Georgia State led all programs with five nominees each for six awards.
- Louisiana's Elijah McGuire and New Mexico State's Larry Rose III earned the most preseason bling with three nominations apiece.
- ULM Warhawks was the only Sun Belt program shut out of College Awards Watch List Season. New head coach Matt Viator is starting from scratch.
- The Sun Belt is loaded at running back, with five rushers earning a Doak Walker nod. A sixth rusher, Xavier Johnson of South Alabama, received a Paul Hornung note.
If you note any omissions from this list, feel free to give me hell on the comments sections.