Preseason Awards Watch

Fall practice has begun; the preseason is here. I'm going to take a look at Texas players' chances to win individual awards, if nothing more than to get a little football talk going:

Award: Heisman Trophy

For: Most Outstanding Player

Longhorn winners in the Mack Brown Era: Ricky Williams, 1998

Potential Candidates: Garrett Gilbert

- Unfortunately, we don't have a bona fide Heisman candidate like we did in 2008 and 2009, but in college football, crazy things happen. That being said, Gilbert probably isn't going to win the trophy or be a finalist simply because he's a new starting quarterback for a team with a lot of holes to fill. The only way I see him winning is if the Horns are undefeated or only have one loss and he has great stats, in which case his status as a new starting QB could actually help him. His case for the trophy is boosted by the fact that he played in the MNC, as it provides needed media exposure, but at this point he can be considered nothing more than a Heisman longshot. In 2011 or 2012 (should he stay) he should have a much better shot at winning.

Award: Maxwell Award/Walter Camp Player of the Year

For: Player of the Year

Longhorn Winners in the Mack Brown Era: Maxwell- Ricky Williams, 1998; Vince Young, 2005; Colt McCoy, 2009;              Walter Camp- Ricky Williams, 1998; Colt McCoy 2008, 2009

Potential Candidates: Garrett Gilbert

- Gilbert doesn't have a much better shot at these POY Awards than the Heisman, although if he is a finalist for the Heisman he could easily be given one or both of these as a sort of "consolation" for not winning the trophy. He could also receive the Davey O'Brien award for the very same reason, although it is unlikely and unfair of me to put that kind of pressure on him before he even started a game.

Thorpe Award

For: Best Defensive Back

Longhorn winners in the Mack Brown Era: Michael Huff, 2005; Aaron Ross, 2006

Potential Candidates: Aaron Williams, Curtis Brown

- Williams at this point in the season should be considered a top candidate for the award, but isn't because nobody throws his direction. Although he definitely has the talent to win the award, Williams must at least have a few balls thrown his way so he can accumulate some stats. For that reason I have Curtis Brown as a potential candidate: Brown should have more passes thrown his way as a result of Williams' superior talent and could accumulate great stats, which are really the basis of the voters' decisions.

Lombardi Award/Outland Trophy

For: Best Lineman (Linebackers are also eligible for the Lombardi but not the Outland)

Longhorn Winners in the Mack Brown Era: Lombardi- Brian Orakpo, 2008

Potential Candidates: Sam Acho

- Acho is easily our best shot at either one of the awards, but his candidacy could be hampered if he spends too many downs at DT, where he will have less opportunites to accumulate crucial sacks, which he would need plenty of to win either award. Also, if our defense is as strong as Coach Muschamp should be able to make it, there will likely be many other players that accumulate sacks and tackles, keeping Acho's totals lower than needed. Also, Kyle Hix could very well be good enough to win the award, but unfortunately, for an OT to win either he really needs to be a top pro prospect; that's the only way the voters will have heard of him.

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