College football’s award watch list season finished up on Friday with the Cincinnati Bearcats experiencing varying degrees of success. Arguably these are more pointless at this time of the year than upcoming win-loss predictions for the 2014 season the day after the 2013 National Champinship. However it’s good publicity for the program to get a few UC players on these lists. And it’s the offseason, which is less enjoyable than getting teeth pulled for college football fans.
Center Deyshawn Bond got things kicked off for Cincinnati when the Rimington Award watch list was revealed last Tuesday. He was just one of five sophomores among the group of 66. His fellow lineman Eric Lefeld joined him a couple of days later when the Outland Trophy was revealed. This award is presented to the best lineman in college football and it only makes sense Cincinnati’s hulking offensive tackle made the field.
Lefeld’s opposite on the defensive line, Silverberry Mouhon, was named to the Lombardi Award watch list on Monday. The field was a whopping 123 players large at the time of the release. Finally, slot receiver Shaq Washington was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list the next day. Considering the journey he has had at Cincinnati, one in which he nearly left the program all together, I think I’m most proud of him above the rest.
The biggest snub of the last couple of weeks? Nick Temple, easily. There were several watch lists to which he could have been named like the Bednark (best defensive player) and the Butkus Award (best linebacker). Temple paced the Bearcats in several defensive categories last season and is fifth among returning linebackers in tackles for loss. Yet he didn’t get his named called once in the last two weeks. Even so, there’s still a chance he along with Gunner Kiel are selected at another stage later on in the process.
But among those Bearcats selected, I have a feeling Eric Lefeld will be the one to make it through the cuts. He has ideal measurables at 6’6″ 300 lbs and anchors the all-important left tackle position for Cincinnati. Lefeld is also on pace to become the Bearcats’ highest selected pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, if he stays healthy of course. So while offensive linemen don’t get a whole lot of love on gameday, those committees organizing these lists pay attention to performances like Lefeld’s.