STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) – Mississippi State’s senior duo of left guard Gabe Jackson and safety Nickoe Whitley were named to separate National College Football Awards Association watch lists, the organization announced Thursday. The Bulldogs have now had seven different players named on six different national award watch lists since Monday.
Jackson was included on the watch list for the 2013 Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America. The Liberty, Miss., native made the list for the second-consecutive year after earning All-America honors as a junior in 2012 by Phil Steele, Scout.com, Pro Football Weekly and Sports Illustrated. Jackson, a 2013 preseason All-American by most publications, is widely considered the number one offensive guard prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Whitley appeared on the watch list for the 2013 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented annually to the national defensive player of the year, as chosen by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. A 2013 preseason All-SEC safety by Phil Steele and Athlon Sports, Whitley started in all 13 games last season, tallying 88 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and one fumble forced. The Jackson, Miss., native is tied for second in the country among returning FBS players with 10 career interceptions.
Jackson, Whitley and the rest of their teammates begin the 2013 season on August 31 in Houston, Texas, at Reliant Stadium against Oklahoma State. The Texas Kickoff Classic is set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff and will be televised live nationally of ABC and ESPN2.