July 11, 2014 10:12:24 AM
DALLAS -- For the second time this week, Mississippi State junior linebacker Benardrick McKinney has earned watch list recognition for a national individual award as the Bronko Nagurski Trophy unveiled its 81 candidates for the 2014 season, the Football Writers Association of America unveiled Thursday.
Ole Miss sophomore defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche also was named to preseason watch lists for the Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy, while senior safety Cody Prewitt made the Nagurski list, and sophomore offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil made the Outland list.
The Narguski Trophy has been awarded to the National Defensive Player of the Year every season since 1993.
McKinney, a native of Tunica, enters his junior campaign having started 23 consecutive games and tallying 173 career tackles. The 6-foot-5 McKinney was the Bulldogs leading tackler a season ago with 71 stops, including seven for loss. The All-America candidate also was named Monday to the Bednarik Award Watch List.
McKinney joins a host of his teammates who have been named to preseason watch lists. He joins Dak Prescott (Maxwell Award), Jameon lewis (Hornung Award), Malcolm Johnson (Mackey Award), and Dillon Day (Rimington Trophy).
McKinney will join Prescott, Jay Hughes, and coach Dan Mullen at Southeastern Conference Media Day on Tuesday in Hoover, Ala.
Nkemdiche was a Freshman All-American last year when he posted 34 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and two sacks. He ranked second among SEC freshmen with 0.73 TFLs per game and also carried the ball five times on offense, gaining 32 yards. The Loganville, Georgia, native has already been tabbed a preseason All-America and All-Southeastern Conference pick by multiple publications this year.
Prewitt earned first team All-America honors as a free safety last year when he led the SEC and ranked among the nation's leaders with six interceptions. The Bay Springs native has been named by most of the preseason magazines to repeat as an All-American in 2014. He was also a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive back.
Tunsil exploded onto the college football scene last year as one of the top young offensive linemen in the country. He received All-SEC and Freshman All-America accolades after allowing just one sack all year as the team's primary starter at left tackle. He also has been named a preseason All-America and All-SEC selection.
Previously announced Rebels on watch lists are Prewitt (Bednarik Award), Bo Wallace (Maxwell Award), Evan Engram (Mackey Award), and Deterrian Shackelford (Lott IMPACT Trophy).
The Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from five finalists who are part of the 2014 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association's entire membership, selects the 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner.
The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be Dec. 8 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The SEC dominated the 2014 Outland Trophy Watch List with 19 players - at least eight more prospects than any of the seven other major-college conferences represented on the 64-man list released by the Football Writers Association of America.
The Outland Trophy has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football since 1946. The winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 26-man first team and eventually the Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.
The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists Nov. 20. Four days later, three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 69th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century, will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 11 from Disney's Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the award last season.
The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be Jan. 15, 2015, in Omaha, Nebraska. This year, Notre Dame's Ross Browner, the 1976 Outland Trophy winner, will be honored and presented an Outland Trophy, which was not given in the era in which he won the award.