College football is almost upon us. In less than a month and a half, the Mountaineers will kick off their highly anticipated season against Marshall. It is the beginning of a new era for the Mountaineers entering the Big 12 in front of a larger national stage. The team already has two games being discussed as primetime games for ABC: at home against TCU and Oklahoma.
The stakes are higher against tougher competition. Gone are games against Rutgers, UConn, Cincinnati, etc. Say hello to matchups against Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., and Texas Tech to name a few.
For the Mountaineers to compete on a higher level, they need next level players. This iteration of the Mountaineer football team has those. Last year, Keith Tandy, Bruce Irvin, Geno Smith, Don Barclay, Tavon Austin, Julian Miller, and Joe Madsen were named to different watch lists. This year, Tandy, Barclay, and Irvin are in the NFL. Miller is on his way to the CFL. Madsen, Austin, and Smith popped up on the Watch Lists yet again with a few new additions.
The Preseason Watch Lists go along with different national awards typically given away at a banquet in Charlotte, NC at the end of every season.
Below are the current Mountaineers named to watch lists for this season. As you will see, this year the Mountaineers represented on these lists are mostly on the offensive side of the ball compared to previous years, where most of the players named to Watch Lists were on the defensive side. Going into the offensive explosion that is the Big 12, the Mountaineers need all the ammo they can get. With the Company of Smith, Bailey, and Austin, the question will be is there enough footballs to go around?
*Note* The Walter Camp Award and Doak Walker Watch lists will be announced later this month. We’ll update this list if needed.
Geno Smith – Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien
Stedman Bailey – Biletnikoff Award
Tavon Austin – Biletnikoff Award, Maxwell Award
Tyler Bitancurt – Lou Groza Award
Joe Madsen – Rimington Trophy, Lombardi Award