Three San Diego State football players were named to preseason awards watch lists on Monday.
Running back Greg Bell made the list for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the player of the year. Caden McDonald, a linebacker, and Cameron Thomas, a defensive end, are on the list for the Chuck Bednarik Award for the college defensive player of the year.
Last season, though hampered by injury, Bell ran for 637 yards on 113 attempts, scoring six touchdowns in seven games, while adding 11 catches for 114 yards and another touchdown.
Bell became the first player in SDSU’s storied running back history to begin his Aztec career with three straight 100-yard rushing games.
The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell’s contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, sportswriter and official.
McDonald, meanwhile, is coming off a breakout season in 2020, when he totaled 34 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hurries. For his efforts, he was named a first-team all-Mountain West selection.
Thomas who moved from defensive tackle to defensive end midway through the 2020 season, had 35 tackles, 21 solo, in eight starts. He was named a first-team all-MW pick and the team’s Defensive Lineman of the Year for a second straight season.
The Bednarik Award has been presented to top college defensive player 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 NFL Hall of Fame.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced Nov. 1, while the three finalists for the Maxwell Award will be unveiled Nov. 22. The winners will be announced on ESPN on Dec. 9.
SDSU opens the 2021 season at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson on Sept. 4 against New Mexico State. The Aztecs again will play home games in Carson due to construction on the new Mission Valley stadium.