MADISON, Wis. — University of Wisconsin teammates Montee Ball and Chris Borland have been named to two preseason watch lists for a pair of major college football awards.
Ball, a senior running back, is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented annually to the outstanding collegiate player of the year. Borland, a junior linebacker, is among the candidates for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to college football’s outstanding defensive player of the year. Both preseason watch lists were revealed Monday by the Maxwell Football Club.
Ball was one of 65 players named to the Maxwell Award watch list and will attempt to join former Badgers running back Ron Dayne as the trophy winner. Dayne captured the award in 1999 when he also won the Heisman Trophy.
Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist a year ago, is among 30 running backs up the Maxwell Award. He is the top returning rusher in the nation with 3,310 career rushing yards. Ball needs 17 total touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns to tie the NCAA career records in each category.
Last season, Ball tied Barry Sanders’ NCAA record with 39 touchdowns scored, leading the nation in rushing with 1,923 yards. In five games against ranked teams, he averaged 164.0 all-purpose yards and scored 15 touchdowns.
Borland was named to the Bednark Award watch list for the second consecutive preseason.
He finished second in the Big Ten last season with 143 tackles, trailing only teammate Mike Taylor, on his way to earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. Borland ranked third in the Big Ten and 12th nationally with 19.0 tackles for loss, the highest total for a linebacker in Wisconsin history.
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 2012 Maxwell and Bednarik awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 6.