As the preseason watch lists begin to roll out, Ohio State landed a pair of Buckeyes on the initial two awards Tuesday when the Maxwell Football Club released their respective charts.
Junior defensive end Nick Bosa and sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins were named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, while Bosa also appeared on the early group for the Bednarik Award.
Bosa and Dobbins are among those in contention for the 82nd Maxwell Award, which annually recognizes the most outstanding player in college football. Bosa is also in the mix for the 24th Bednarik Award, given to college football’s defensive player of the year.
Bosa joins five other previous semifinalists — Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, Duke linebacker Joe Gile-Harris, Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and Northern Illinois defensive end Sutton Smith — from last year. The 2017 Bednarik Award went to former Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
As a sophomore, Bosa broke out with team-high totals in sacks (8.0) and tackles for loss (16.0) across 14 games. He returns as a frontrunner for the 2018 Bednarik Award.
Bosa, who collected additional accolades on the American Football Coaches Association’s All-America first team and as the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, joins Dobbins in the mix for the 2018 Maxwell Award after former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the 2017 honor.
As a freshman, Dobbins made an immediate impact in 2017 with 1,403 yards to set OSU’s rookie rushing record. On 194 carries, Dobbins registered the second-highest rushing average in program history with 7.2 yards per tote. Dobbins added seven touchdowns in his 14 starts, rounding out a campaign in which he was named a freshman All-American.