July 10, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Maxwell Football Club today announced its watch lists for the 81st annual Maxwell Award and the 23rd annual Chuck Bednarik Award, and multiple Ohio State Buckeyes are on the radar for the organization’s respective player of the year and defensive player of the year awards.
QB J.T. Barrett – The only three-time captain in Ohio State history and the holder of 23 school records, Barrett is just six touchdowns shy of Drew Brees’ Big Ten record of 106 TDs responsible for. He needs 1,167 passing yards for that school record and needs 535 rushing yards to top 3,000 rushing yards and move into Ohio State’s all-time rushing Top 10. He was the Big Ten’s Griese-Brees quarterback of the year and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award winner in 2016.
RB Mike Weber – A freshman All-American in 2016 and a second-team all-Big Ten performer, Weber became just the third Ohio State freshman to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season (1,096 yards) while scoring nine touchdowns and averaging 6.0 yards per carry. He was the Big Ten’s Thomson-Randle El freshman of the year.
LB Jerome Baker – The big-play maker Baker was second on the team in tackles in 2016 (79) and was at his best against the best: he returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown to give the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead at No. 14 Oklahoma; he had 13 tackles in an overtime win at No. 8 Wisconsin; and he had a career-high 15 tackles against No. 3 Michigan, plus a critical interception late in the third quarter with Ohio State down by 10.
DE Nick Bosa – One of four defensive ends on the Ohio State roster with starter-like skills and stats, Bosa already has 5.0 quarterback sacks (second among Buckeyes in 2016) among his 7.0 tackles-for-loss and 29 career tackles. He was one of four OSU freshmen to garner freshman All-America status last year.
DE Tyquan Lewis – Rated the No. 2 defensive end in the country by College Football News, Lewis has been Ohio State’s leader in quarterback sacks in each of the past two seasons. He enters his senior campaign with 92 career tackles and 27 tackles-for-loss, a total that includes 16.5 quarterback sacks and is the reigning Big Ten Smith-Brown defensive lineman of the year.
CB Denzel Ward – Did not start a game in 2016, but he lined up on defense for 468 plays as part of a three-man cornerback rotation that also featured two 2017 first-round NFL Draft picks: Marshon Lattimore (No. 11 to New Orleans) and Gareon Conley (No. 24 to Oakland). Named honorable mention all-Big Ten, Ward tied for the team lead with Lattimore with nine pass break-ups last season.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced October 30, 2017, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 20, 2017. The winners of the 2017 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 7, 2017.