See Which Elite 2022 USC Trojans Have Been Named On Award Watchlists

College football Award season is upon us! A look at which USC Trojans are on the preseason watchlists.

Will Simonds
USC
USC Trojans Football "Best of" 2021 Season Gallery

The 2022 college football season begins in less than a month, which, of course, means only one thing: it’s award watchlist time. USC has plenty of preseason candidates for various individual accolades, so let’s take a look at which Trojans enter this season with high expectations from voters.

USC Candidates for the Maxwell Award

This award, named after Robert Maxwell, is given to the best player in college football each season, similar to the more well-known Heisman Trophy. Last year, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young won the Maxwell Award along with the Heisman, and he returns as the favorite for his junior season. This season, USC quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Jordan Addison both enter as contenders for one of the top honors in college football. Three Trojans — all running backs — have won this award in the past: O.J. Simpson (1968), Charles White (1979), and Marcus Allen (1981).

USC Candidates for the Walter Camp Award

Also awarded to the college football’s player of the year, the namesake of this award derives from “the Father of American Football.” Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III won this honor in 2021 over Young, though Walker will not have the chance to repeat after being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. Williams and Addison again are the two Trojans on the watch list. USC has had some more luck winning the Walter Camp Award over the Maxwell Award, with six in total — two more than any other school. Simpson won the Camp Award in back-to-back years, and Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush won in 2004 and 2005, respectively, to join White and Allen.

USC Candidates for the Davey O’Brien Award

This award is handed out to the top quarterback in the nation each season, in honor of the former Heisman-winning TCU quarterback Davey O’Brien. Alabama quarterbacks have won the award the last two seasons (Young and Mac Jones), though USC’s Williams has the chance to challenge the Tide and become the first Trojan quarterback to win this individual honor.

USC Candidates for the Doak Walker Award

Presented to the top running back in college football, the Doak Walker Award was also won by Walker III in 2021. USC running backs Austin Jones and Travis Dye are both mentioned in the watchlist, so the Trojans are definitely in the mix to win the award for the second time in school history. Bush is the only prior winner from USC, doing so in 2005.

USC Candidates for the Biletnikoff Award

Not specific to the wide receiver position, this honor, named after Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff, is given to the top pass catcher in college football. Addison won the award last season while at Pitt, and now comes to Los Angeles with a great chance to go back-to-back. Though fellow incoming transfer Mario Williams was a somewhat surprising snub from the watchlist, Addison can become the second USC winner of the award, after Marqise Lee in 2012.

John Mackey Award

The top tight end in the country wins the John Mackey Award each season, in remembrance of another Hall of Famer. Trey McBride of Colorado State, and now the Arizona Cardinals, was the 2021 recipient. USC tight end Malcolm Epps made the 2022 watchlist, and he can become the first Trojan winner since Fred Davis in 2007.

Rimington Trophy

Named after former Nebraska lineman Dave Rimington, this trophy is given to the top center in college football. Last year, Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum took it home on his way to being a first-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens. USC has never had a player win the accolade, but Brett Neilon is one of the top returning centers in the nation featured on the watchlist.

Chuck Bednarik Award

Derived from one of hardest tacklers ever, Chuck “Concrete Charlie” Bednarik, this honor is awarded to the top defensive player in the nation. Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis won it last year before the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him, and USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu wants to ensure the award is won by a defensive tackle again in 2022. The Bednarik Award has only been presented to one Trojan: linebacker Rey Maualuga in 2008.

Bronko Nagurski Trophy

The Nagurski Trophy also honors the most outstanding defensive player in college football, and its watchlist also includes Tuipulotu. The 2021 winner, Alabama linebacker Will Anderson, returns as the massive favorite to win it again this upcoming season. However, Tuipulotu could still become the first Trojan to take this trophy home.

Outland Trophy

In the spirit of two-way All-American John H. Outland, this individual prize goes to the top lineman in the country on offense or defense. It is the third-oldest major college football award, and Davis took it home last year as well. Though USC is not known historically for producing a ton of elite talent in the trenches, two Trojans made this year’s watchlist, one on each side of the ball. Tuipulotu was named in addition to USC guard Andrew Vorhees, a potential favorite for the award. The only Trojan to win the Outland Trophy previously is Hall of Fame offensive tackle Ron Yary in 1967.

Rotary Lombardi Award

Like the previous Outland Trophy, this award goes to the best defensive or offensive lineman in the nation but specifically refers to who reflects the legacy of Vince Lombardi, who you’ve probably heard of once or twice. Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was last year’s winner before becoming the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Again, Tuipulotu and Vorhees are two of the top candidates for the 2022 award, which a USC player has only won once. This time, the only Trojan recipient is offensive guard Brad Budde back in 1979.

Paul Hornung Award

The most versatile player in the nation is handed one of the newer awards in college football, in tribute to Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, who featured as running back, quarterback, and kicker during his career. USC wide receiver and return specialist Brenden Rice is a candidate for the 2022 award. While at Colorado for two years, Rice, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Jerry, was a fearsome deep threat at wideout in addition to returning kicks — he returned a punt for a touchdown in his freshman season. Houston’s Marcus Jones won this award in 2021 as a wide receiver, cornerback, and return specialist.