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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats seek college football awards

Bill Mason, Cat Tran Driver (Brown hair) Dennis Cady, Cat Tran Driver (black and white striped shirt) AJ Dowgiert, Cat Tran Driver (Plaid/Checkered Shirt)

With college football season only six weeks away, it’s that time of the summer when the National College Football Awards Association and fellow organizations reveal their award watch lists.

Watch lists, by definition, don’t mean much, and college football’s lists are particularly trivial, given that it is seemingly harder to be left out than put in.

However, it is mid-July, and in mid-July, there’s not usually a whole lot to talk about. So let’s dive in and see which Arizona players made it to these admittedly irrelevant lists.

Not surprisingly, the name Scooby Wright III has appeared on a few watch lists already. Wright, after all, took home some real hardware last season by winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award.

Wright so far finds himself on the Bendarik Award and Nagurski Trophy watch lists, and should be the odds-on favorite to win both.

The junior is coming off a truly dominant 2014 season in which he ranked top five nationally in total tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles (hello Marcus Mariota.)

Basically, he did just about everything for Arizona’s defense. Given that the Wildcats lost a couple key guys like Tra’Mayne Bondurant and Jared Tevis, Wright will once again need to bring his indefatigable flair to every game.

Wright won’t be alone, however, just as he isn’t alone on the Bednarik Award watch list. His good friend, safety Will Parks, joins him there.

The Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player in the nation, could wind up in the hands of Parks if the senior produces a final season to remember.

Last year, the Philadelphia native guided the Arizona secondary with 81 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions. Parks’ best performance came in the upset win at Oregon, when he recorded a career-high eight tackles.

Parks is known as another tireless worker, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he broke out on the national stage like Wright did this past season.

On the other side of the ball, Arizona’s projected starting quarterback and running back are among 13 Pac-12 Conference players on the Maxwell Award watch list.

The Maxwell Award is one of the most prestigious in the sport and last year was won by Oregon’s Mariota.

For either Anu Solomon or Nick Wilson to win the award would require a phenomenal season.

That’s not out of the question for either sophomore, who both put up prolific numbers in 2014 despite battling through injuries.

Solomon, the first freshman to ever start a season opener at Arizona, now has a year of college experience behind him. The UA coaching staff will surely hope that translates into improved decision making, which is one area Solomon struggled in.

As for Wilson, the 5-foot-10 back just needs to stay on the field. Despite dealing with an ankle injury the latter half of the season, he set the school’s freshman rushing record.

Along with the big names, two other Wildcats have made award watch lists thus far; punter Drew Riggleman is up for the Ray Guy Award while offensive lineman Freddie Tagaloa, a Cal transfer, was named to the Outland Trophy watch list.

Riggleman has his work cut out for him as Utah punter Tom Hackett won the Ray Guy Award last year. Tagaloa, meanwhile, is expected to carry the load up front for a rebuilding Arizona o-line.

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