With the Ohio State football team returning most of its starters from last season’s national championship team, many have lofty expectations for the team and the individual players.
Members of the team have been named on 11 different major preseason award watch lists through Wednesday afternoon, including four players on the Maxwell Award watch list for the best offensive player in the nation.
Quarterbacks Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, who are set to compete for the starting job, were put on the Maxwell Award watch list, as was junior running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Miller and Barrett have combined to win the last three Big Ten Quarterback of the Year awards but are each returning from last season’s season-ending injuries. Miller injured his shoulder before the season started, while Barrett sustained an ankle injury in the final game of the regular season.
Barrett was replaced for the Big Ten championship game and inaugural College Football Playoff by Jones, who threw for 742 yards in the three games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.
Redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall and junior Dontre Wilson, a pair of H-backs, were each named to the Hornung Award watch list, given to the most versatile player in the country.
Fellow offensive weapons Nick Vannett and Michael Thomas were named to the Mackey Award, given to the top tight end, and Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver, watch lists, respectively.
Three of the five players expected to start on the offensive line were named to watch lists, as well. Senior Jacoby Boren was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list, awarded to the top center in the nation, while senior Taylor Decker and junior Pat Elflein were added to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, given to the top interior lineman.
Senior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington also represented OSU on the Outland Trophy watch list.
Bosa, Decker, Elflein, Washington and sophomore linebacker Darron Lee were listed on the Lombardi Award watch list, presented to the top down lineman. The award can go to an offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker.
The top defensive honor, the Bednarik Award, also saw two OSU players on its watch list. Junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa and senior linebacker Joshua Perry were named to the Bednarik Award list.
Junior safety Vonn Bell, who pulled in six interceptions last season, was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, given to the top defensive back.
Finally, the OSU special teams were represented on the Ray Guy Award watch list, honoring the nation’s top punter, which included junior Cameron Johnston.
OSU was shut out of the award recipients last season, but it did boast three players on the AP All-American team: Bosa as a unanimous first-team selection and Barrett and defensive lineman Michael Bennett, now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, on the third team.
Correction: An earlier version of the story said the Biletnikoff Award is given to the top wide receiver in the nation, when it is in fact awarded to the top receiver regardless of position.