Grier, Sills And Long On Preseason Watch Lists
While traveling to Frisco, Texas, for their round in the scrum of Big 12 Media Days, three Mountaineer football players earned spots on preseason national award watch lists.
Redshirt senior and Heisman Trophy Award candidate quarterback Will Grier, along with 2017 Biletnikoff Award finalist and All-American senior wide receiver David Sills were named to the watch list for the 82nd annual Maxwell Award, while redshirt junior linebacker David Long, a 2017 ProFootballFocus All-American, was named to the 24th annual Bednarik Award Watch List.
The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell’s contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ’69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ’67.
Grier, the 2018 Big 12 Offensive Preseason Player of the Year and a consensus preseason All-America selection, was the 2017 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and an All-Big 12 Conference performer. In 2017, he passed for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns before his season ended against Texas when he sustained a season-ending hand injury in the first quarter. His 34 touchdowns were second-most in WVU history, and he threw for a school-record 300 or more yards in nine games. He also recorded multiple touchdowns in 10 games and set a school record by throwing five touchdowns in back-to-back games.
Sills V, named to several 2018 preseason All-America teams, was an All-Big 12 first team selection in 2017 after finishing with 60 catches for 980 yards and tied for the nation’s lead with 18 touchdowns.
Long Jr. returned to play in nine games in 2017 after suffering a preseason knee injury. The ESPN.com All-Big 12 Conference selection finished third on the team with 76 tackles, including 56 unassisted tackles, four sacks, a team-leading 16.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced October 29, 2018, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 19, 2018. The winners of the 2018 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 6, 2018. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 8, 2019.
All three players will be on hand in Frisco on Tuesday in one of their final major media appearances before the start of fall practice.