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Maxwell and Bednarik Award Watch Lists Feature a Trio of Gamecocks
Football  . 

Maxwell and Bednarik Award Watch Lists Feature a Trio of Gamecocks

July 16, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Three University of South Carolina football players have earned spots on the 82nd annual Maxwell Award and the 24th annual Chuck Bednarik Award watch lists, the Maxwell Football Club announced today.

Gamecock quarterback Jake Bentley and wide receiver/kick returner Deebo Samuel are among those in contention for the Maxwell Award, while defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum is on the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award.

Bentley, a 6-4, 224-pounder from Opelika, Ala., has started each of the last 20 games for the Gamecocks, posting a 13-7 record. He ranks 10th in completions (370), second in completion percentage (63.3), 11th in passing yards (4,214) and 11th in passing touchdowns (27) in school history.

Samuel, a 6-0, 210-pounder from Inman, S.C., is one of the most electrifying players in college football. He owns 86 career receptions for 1,194 yards and has scored 15 career touchdowns – seven on the ground, five receiving and three via kickoff return. Samuel is the school’s record-holder in kick returns for touchdowns.

Wonnum, a 6-5, 258-pound junior from Stone Mountain, Ga., was a two-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week selection during the 2017 season. He is one of just three sophomores who have been named a permanent team captain in school history. Wonnum owns 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

All three players will be representing the Gamecocks at the annual SEC Media Days, held this week in Atlanta.

The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell’s contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ’69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ’67.

Baker Mayfield capped a brilliant 2017 season at Oklahoma by becoming the third Sooner to win the Maxwell Award, joining Tommy McDonald (1956) and Jason White (2004). Minkah Fitzpatrick, the 2017 Bednarik Award winner, was the second Tide player to win the award, joining Jonathan Allen (2016). Fitzpatrick was a first round NFL Draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, and Mayfield was the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft going to the Cleveland Browns.

The Maxwell and Bednarik Awards are members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 24 awards boast over 750 years of tradition-selection excellence.