Richardson, Smith On Preseason Watch Lists
July 10, 2017

2017 Schedule // Ticket Information

Two University of Minnesota football players - Steven Richardson and Rodney Smith - were named to preseason watch lists today. Richardson was named to the Bednarik Award watch list, while Smith was placed on the Maxwell Award watch list.

The announcement was made by the Maxwell Football Club. 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 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Maxwell Award, now in its 81st year, named in honor of Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell, has been given to America's College Player of the Year since 1937.

Richardson is a senior defensive tackle and is a menacing force for the Gophers. The Chicago native started 11 of 13 games last season and notched 31 tackles. Despite seeing numerous double-teams, he led the team with 11 tackles for loss and added seven sacks. Richardson, who was also named Academic All-Big Ten, was honored with All-Big Ten Third Team laurels.

For his career, Richardson has made 80 tackles (40 solo) in 36 career games. He has 25 career tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. Richardson has also forced four career fumbles, recovered three fumbles and broke up three passes.

Smith emerged as a complete back in 2016 when he rushed 240 times (tenth most in school history in a single season) for 1,158 yards (16th most in school history in a single season) and 16 touchdowns (third most in school history in a single season). Smith, who started 12 of 13 games last season, became the 20th Gopher ever to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. In addition, he caught 23 passes for 188 yards and returned eight kickoffs for 263 yards, which included a 94-yard touchdown against Rutgers. Smith recorded 1,609 all-purpose yards (12th most in school history in a single season) and scored 17 touchdowns (tied for second in school history in a single season) and tallied 102 points (tied for third most in school history in a single season). Smith was named All-Big Ten Third Team by league coaches and media and was named Offensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl after scoring one touchdown and recording 132 all-purpose yards.

For his career, Smith has rushed 397 times for 1,828 yards in 25 games. His 1,828 yards is tied for 19th all-time in school history. He has scored 18 (2 in 2015 and 16 in 2016) career rushing touchdowns, which ranks tied for 16th in school history. He enters the 2017 season with 155 consecutive carries without a fumble (last fumble was against Iowa in 2016).

Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced October 30 while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 20. 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.

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 23 awards boast over 745 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit www.NCFAA.org for more information. The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month. Seventeen of the association's 23 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award's preseason candidates. Following is the entire 2017 preseason watch list calendar:

July 10: Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award
July 11: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy
July 12: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award
July 13: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy
July 14: Jim Thorpe Award
July 17: Butkus Award / Paul Hornung Award
July 18: Biletnikoff Award / Wuerffel Trophy
July 19: Davey O'Brien Award
July 20: Doak Walker Award
July 21: Walter Camp Award


 

 

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