Looking to take a step forward and win the American Athletic Conference this fall, the East Carolina Pirates saw six players named to preseason award watch lists.
The Dick Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's best linebacker, tabbed linebackers Zeek Bigger and Montrese Overton (68 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks) as two of the 51 linebackers to earn a spot on the watch list. Only five linebackers from Group of Five conferences were selected to the prestigious list.
Overton, a senior outside linebacker, finished the 2015 season with 68 tackles, 11.5 tackles, for loss, and three sacks for the Pirates.
The Rotary Lombardi Award, given to the best down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage named four East Carolina players to the 2015 watch list. Linebackers Bigger and Overton as well as offensive linemen J.T. Boyd and Ike Harris were part of the 144 players nationally named to the watch list.
Bigger, a second team All-American Athletic confernece honoree in 2014, led the Pirates with 140 tackles while intercepting two passes, and scoring one defensive touchdown was named to the Bednarik Award Watch List. The Chuck Bednarik Award is annually presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995.
Both linemen Boyd (11 career starts) and Harris (25 career starts) were also selected to the Outland Trophy Award Watch List. The Outland Award is given yearly to the nation's top interior lineman with 24 offensive tackles, 15 offensive guards, 17 centers, and 25 defensive tackles named to the list.
Senior East Carolina tight end Bryce Williams (18 catches, 237 yards, 4 touchdowns) was one of 33 players named to the Mackey Award Watch List. The Mackey Award is annually awarded to the nation's top tight end.
Junior Isaiah Jones (81 catches, 830 yards, 5 touchdowns) was one of 48 players named to the 2015 Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The Biletnikoff Award is given yearly to the nation's outstanding receiver.
- Zeek Bigger: Butkus, Lombardi, Bednarik.
- Montrese Overton: Butkus Award, Lombardi.
- J.T. Boyd: Lombardi, Outland.
- Ike Harris: Lombardi, Outland.
- Bryce Williams: Mackey.
- Isaiah Jones: Biletnikoff.