AUBURN, Ala. — Monday doesn’t only mark the start of “talking season” with 2017 SEC Media Days. It also marks the first big run of “watch list season,” and Auburn football is featured in both.
On Monday morning, Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway and quarterback Jarrett Stidham made it on the preseason Maxwell Award watch list. Auburn safety Tray Matthews landed on the Bednarik Award watch list, which is also released by the Maxwell Football Club.
The Maxwell Award is given annually to the “college football player of the year,” much like the more prestigious Heisman Trophy. The Bednarik Award is another player of the year award solely for defensive players.
Pettway is one of 33 running backs on the Maxwell Award watch list. In his first full season as a running back, the rising junior led the SEC in rushing yards per game last season with 122.4.
Stidham is Auburn’s presumptive starting quarterback for the 2017 season after transferring to Auburn by way of Baylor. The former 5-star quarterback played in 10 games for the Bears in 2015 before sitting out in 2016 to preserve his eligibility. Although he hasn’t officially been named the starter yet, hype around Stidham has soared since his impressive spring game showing in April.
Matthews, who will represent Auburn’s defense at SEC Media Days this Thursday, enters his third season as a Tigers starter in 2017. The senior and former Georgia Bulldog led Auburn in tackles in 2016 with 76.
Auburn has had only one Maxwell Award winner in its history — former quarterback Cam Newton, who took home the award in 2010. The Tigers have never had a Bednarik Award winner. Former defensive tackle Nick Fairley is the only finalist in program history, as he made the final three in 2010 behind winner Patrick Peterson.