Seven Gamecocks on preseason lists for 11 different awards

Seven Gamecocks on preseason lists for 11 different awards

**Story by Kyle Heck/photo by Allen Sharpe**

Over the past couple of weeks, several Gamecocks have landed themselves on preseason watch lists for various awards.

This week, quarterback Jake Bentley and his top target, receiver Deebo Samuel, landed on prestigious watch lists. Bentley was one of the 30 players on the Davey O'Brien watch list, given to the nation's top college quarterback. The sophomore is one of six SEC quarterbacks on the list, and he was also earlier named to the Maxwell Award watch list, given to the nation's most outstanding player.

Confident Bentley trying to set example for teammates 

Samuel earned a spot on the Biletnikoff Award watch list, which is given to the best receiver in the country. The junior was one of just four SEC players on the list, and he'll be a main focal point of the offense after leading the Gamecocks in receptions and receiving yards last season. He was also on the Maxwell Award watch list with Bentley, as well as the Paul Hornung Award watch list given to the nation's most versatile player.

On Thursday, tailback Rico Dowdle was named to the Doak Walker watch list. The award is given to the top running back in the country. In just seven games last season, Dowdle rushed for 764 yards to lead the Gamecocks. 

Three Gamecocks named to All-SEC preseason teams

In other news, linebacker Antoine Wilder was named to the Wuerffel Trophy watch list, which is known as college football's premier award for community service. Wilder was the Gamecocks' community service award winner in 2016. 

Senior linebacker Skai Moore has racked up all kinds of preseason awards. He was named to the Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year), Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) and Butkus Award (best linebacker) watch lists. Moore missed last season with a neck injury, but led South Carolina in tackles in all three of his years on the field.

Defense will be key to 2017 Gamecocks

Wrapping up the awards, Hayden Hurst made the John Mackey preseason watch list, given to the best tight end in the country, while Alan Knott snagged a place on the Rimington Trophy watch list, given to college football's best center. 

Muschamp may have his best offense, and that breeds confidence entering year two

All in all, six different Gamecocks are in consideration for 10 different postseason awards. For most of these awards, players can be added and dropped from the list, so stay tuned throughout the season to see which Gamecocks stay on as the lists are trimmed.