Three Florida Gators were placed on pre-season award watch lists on Monday. More Gators are sure to follow as the National Collegiate Football Awards Association kicks off their pre-season award watch list announcements this week. The announcements of the Bednarik and the Maxwell Award Watch Lists are the first two of 15 awards that will be announced starting today through July 19.
Semifinalists for each award will be announced on October 29, the list will be cut down to three finalists on November 25.
The first list announced was the 77th annual Maxwell Award – given out annually to the “best player in college football.” Jeff Driskel was named to the watch list along with 76 other players. Driskel is entering his third season at Florida – second as the starting quarterback – and should see a rise in his numbers as he gets to play in the same playbook for the first time since arriving at Florida. Driskel threw for 1,646 yards last season with 12 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He also added 413 rushing yards and four more scores.
Dominique Easley and Loucheiz Purifoy were named to the Bednarik Award Watch List – awarded to the best defensive player annually. The Bednarik Award has been given out annually since 1995 and is currently held by Manti Te’o from Notre Dame.
Easley enters his senior season with 29 games played, including 23 starts. Throughout his career Easley has compiled 67 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks in three seasons. He led the team in sacks with four last season and is poised to have his best season yet in orange and blue.
Purifoy has taken on extra roles this offseason. The standout on defense and special teams from 2012 will also see an expanded role on offense in 2013. How much Purifoy will be utilized on offense remains to be seen, but we do know that Purifoy will continue to play cornerback and special teams this season.
In his two seasons in Gainesville, Purifoy has played in 26 games, including 12 starts at cornerback and one at receiver. Purifoy is the team’s leading tackler to return this season (51 tackles last season). Purifoy also forced three fumbles and broke up five passes in 2012.