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Six Missouri Tigers On College Football Awards Watch Lists For Coming Season

The Missouri Tigers are well stocked with players on college football's national awards watch lists for the 2011 season. Six Tigers are preseason candidates for national awards.

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Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field at University of Missouri
Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field at University of Missouri

Three more Missouri Tiger football players were added to preseason watch lists for the 2011 season on Friday. This increases the number of Missouri players to six who are on national awards' watch lists.

On Friday it was learned that junior defensive end Brad Madison is one of the players on the watch list for the  Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation's most outstanding defensive player. The Nagurski Trophy is named after the late Bronco Nagurski, considered to be one of the great college (Minnesota) and National Football League (Chicago Bears) defensive lineman of all time.

Madison led Missouri in tackles for loss (11) and quarterback sacks (7.5) in 2010 despite not being a full-time starter. He also was selected last season to the All-Big 12 second team on defense.

Junior linebacker Zaviar Gooden also is a candidate for the Nagurski Trophy. Gooden led the Tigers in tackles (85) as a first-year starter last season. Previously, he was named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award. This award is presented by the Maxwell Football Club in Philadelphia, in honor of the former Philadelphia Eagles and NFL star of the same name, to the student-athlete deemed to be the best defensive player in the country.

Their Mizzou teammate, Dan Hoch, a senior lineman on offense, was selected Friday for the Outland Trophy watch list. This award is presented annually to college football's best interior lineman. Hoch has started 26 consecutive games for the Tigers at right tackle, and was named to the All-Big 12 second-team a year ago.

Earlier in the week, Missouri senior tight-end Michael Egnew and junior wide-receiver T.J. Moe were named to the watch lists for the Mackey Award and the Biletnikoff Award, respectively, the country's highest recognition for pass receiving at those two positions on offense. Former Missouri tight-end Chase Coffman won the Mackey Award in 2008, and last season the winner of the Biletnikoff Award was outstanding freshman Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State.

The Mackey Award goes to college football's best tight end, while the Biletnikoff Award is presented to the country's best wide receiver. The two prestigious awards are named after NFL Hall-of-Famers John Mackey of the then-Baltimore Colts and Fred Biletnikoff of the Oakland Raiders.

Egnew led the nation a year ago with 90 pass receptions as a tight end, including five touchdowns. He was on the Mackey Award watch list last season and was one of the three finalists. In addition, the Mizzou star was a consensus first-team All-America selection.

Moe was the Missouri leader last season in pass receptions (92), which ranked him ninth nationally. He gained 1,045 yards through the air and scored six touchdowns. Given that he caught only two passes his freshman year for a total of eight yards, Moe showed tremendous personal growth from his freshman to his sophomore season

As if to cover all of its bases, Mizzou football also has a player on the Lou Groza Award watch list as college football's most outstanding kicker. The Tigers' senior placekicker Grant Ressel is a candidate for this award. Ressel has been a semifinalist both of the past two seasons. The senior kicker has been successful on 96.2 percent of his kicks his sophomore and junior seasons (43 of 46 on field goals and 84 of 86 points-after-TD attempts.

Missouri and Texas are the only two Big 12 schools with two players on the Nagurski watch list. Along with Madison and Gooden of Missouri are defensive tackle Kheeston Randall and linebacker Keenan Robinson of Texas. Other Big 12 players are this award watch list are linebacker Arthur Brown from Kansas State, linebacker Travis Lewis of Oklahoma, safety Markelle Martin of Oklahoma State and cornerback Coryell Judie of Texas A&M.

Four players from other Big 12 schools join Missouri's Hoch on the Outland Trophy watch list: offensive guard Lane Taylor and offensive tackle Levy Adcock of Oklahoma State, center Ben Habern of Oklahoma and Texas' Kheeston Randall.

The Tigers are one of four Big 12 schools with two players on the Biletnikoff watch list. From Oklahoma are Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills; Oklahoma State: last year's Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper; Texas A&M: Jeff Fuller and Ryan Swope. In addition, Kendall Wright of Baylor, Alex Torres of Texas Tech and Mike Davis of Texas are candidates for the Biletnikoff Award.

Only one Big 12 player other than Egnew of Missouri is a watch list candidate for the Mackey Award: Tim Biere of Kansas.

The Bednarik Award watch list includes five others from the Big 12 along with MU's Gooden:  Jake Knott of Iowa State, and Travis Lewis of Oklahoma, Keenan Robinison and Kheeston Randall of Texas, and Coryell Judie of Texas A&M, the latter four of which all are candidates also for the Nagurski Trophy.

Four kickers from other schools in the Big 12 join Mizzou's Ressel on the Groza Award watch list: Oklahoma's Jimmy Stevens, Randy Bullock of Texas A&M, Aaron Jones of Baylor and Justin Tucker from Texas.