Tom Smart, Deseret News
John White during Utah football practice Thursday, April 5, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah. White is one of 65 nominees for the Maxwell Award
PHILADELPHIA — Utah running back John White and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei were named to two major watch lists on Monday.
White is one of 65 nominees — all offensive players — for the Maxwell Award, which has been given to America's outstanding collegiate football player since 1937, while Lotulelei is one of 65 preseason candidates for the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player since 1995. Defensive players are also eligible for the Maxwell Award and will be considered once the season gets underway.
Lotulelei has been named a preseason first-team All-American by Phil Steele and Blue Ribbon Football Yearbook and is Blue Ribbon's preseason Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Both Lotulelei and White are preseason first-team all-Pac-12 picks by Phil Steele and Blue Ribbon.
Lotulelei, considered by many to be the best interior defensive lineman in the country, was named first-team all-Pac-12 in 2011 when he won the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12's best defensive lineman. Some scouting services have projected the 6-foot-4, 325-pound senior as the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
White, a Heisman candidate, who finished second in the Pac-12 and 11th in the nation in rushing (116.8 yards per game) a year ago as a junior, broke a 29-year-old school record by rushing for 1,519 yards. Second-team all-Pac-12, honorable mention SI.com All-American and the Sun Bowl MVP, White led the league and ranked third in the nation in carries (316) in his first NCAA season.
The watch list candidates were chosen by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee. Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced Oct. 29 and the three finalists for each award will be unveiled Nov. 19. The winners of the 2011 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 6.