Mettenberger named to Maxwell Award watch list

PHILADELPHIA — LSU senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger was named to the watch list for the 77th annual Maxwell Award, presented to college football’s player of the year, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday morning.

Mettenberger is one of a nation-leading 16 Southeastern Conference players on the list, which includes seven quarterbacks.

Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon and UL-Monroe quarterback Kolton Browning are also on the list.

Mettenberger, a native of Watkinsville, Ga., is coming off a junior season in which he threw for 2,609 yards and 12 touchdowns on 207-of-352 passing. He joined Matt Flynn (2007) and Warren Rabb (1958) as the only first-year starting quarterbacks in LSU history to lead the Tigers to double-figure victories.

He threw just seven interceptions in 2012, and his 50-1 ratio of passes to interceptions is the best for a single-season in school history for quarterbacks with at least 300 attempts. Mettenberger had the fifth-best single season in LSU history in passing yards and completions last season.

The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. The watch list candidates are chosen by the Maxwell Football Club’s selection committee, which analyzes both past performance and future potential.

The winner of the 2013 Maxwell Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 5 at Walt Disney World Resort.

Louisiana Tech’s Dixon ran for 1,194 yards last season and an NCAA freshman record 27 rushing touchdowns on 200 carries, breaking a record held by Marshall Faulk. He also broke NCAA freshman records held by Faulk for most overall touchdowns (28) and most points scored (168).

ULM’s Browning was 273-for-428 passing last season for 3,049 yards and 29 touchdowns. He ran for 488 yards and another seven touchdowns.

Bednarik Award

THREE LSU PLAYERS ON WATCH LIST: Three LSU football players — defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, linebacker Lamin Barrow and safety Craig Loston — were recognized on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is presented annually to college football’s National Defensive Player of the Year, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday.

Both LSU and Alabama lead the SEC with three players on the list. Only six teams nationally have at least three players on the list. LSU is the only school in SEC history to claim multiple Bednarik Awards: Patrick Peterson in 2010 and Tyrann Mathieu in 2011.

Johnson, a junior from New Orleans, has 42 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and four sacks in two seasons. In a reserve role last season, he finished third on the team with 10 tackles for loss.

Barrow, a senior from Marrero, is LSU’s top returning tackler with 104 last year. He had 7.5 tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries and five pass breakups.

Loston, a senior from Houston, has made several preseason All-America teams. In 35 career games, Loston has 91 tackles, four interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He was second-team All-SEC last season with 55 tackles and three interceptions with three, including a 100-yard return for a touchdown in a 37-17 win win over Mississippi State.

The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Oct. 29, and three finalists will be named Nov. 18.

The winner of the 2013 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 5.