STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics) – Three Mississippi State players have garnered watch list recognition from three national individual college football awards, the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) announced Monday.
Junior quarterback Dak Prescott is up for the Maxwell Award, presented annually to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Junior linebacker Benardrick McKinney was named a candidate for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is awarded to college football’s National Defensive Player of the Year.
Senior wide receiver Jameon Lewis was named to the watch list for the Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse. It goes annually to college football’s most versatile player.
Prescott heads into his junior campaign as one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks. He shattered the MSU single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback last season while throwing for 1,940 yards and 10 touchdowns. He leads all returning Southeastern Conference quarterbacks in career rushing yards (947) and career rushing scores (17).
McKinney, who was also named to FoxSports.com’s “Freaks” athlete list on Monday, is MSU’s leading returning tackler after racking up 71 a season ago. The 6-foot-5 McKinney was recently ranked the top linebacker in the SEC for the upcoming season by ESPN.com.
Lewis’ versatility will once again be on display in 2014. The elusive Lewis is the SEC’s leading returning receiver after making 64 receptions for 923 yards last season. He also averaged 23.5 yards per kick return, a mark that ranked fifth in the league.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced on Nov. 3, while the three finalists for those awards will be unveiled on Nov. 24. The winners of the 2014 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 11 at Walt Disney World.
Fans nationwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite player on the Hornung Award watch list during the regular season and again during the bowl season. Fan voting will open in late September and factor into selection of the finalists and winner. The winner will be honored at the official Paul Hornung Award Banquet, held at the Galt House Hotel and Suites in downtown Louisville in late January 2015.