Kansas State senior captains Tyler Lockett, Jake Waters and Ryan Mueller were each named to preseason watch lists for awards presented by the Maxwell Football Club, the organization announced Monday.
Lockett and Waters are candidates for the Maxwell Award, presented to America’s College Player of the Year, while Mueller is up for the Bednarik Award as the College Defensive Player of the Year.
All three Wildcats are in the running for their respective awards for the first time. The Wildcats have had four candidates for each award the last three seasons, as Collin Klein (2012) and John Hubert (2013) were up for the Maxwell Award, and Arthur Brown (2012), Nigel Malone (2012) and Ty Zimmerman (2013) were candidates for the Bednarik Award.
A Second-Team All-American at wide receiver in 2013, Lockett led the Big 12 last season with 105.2 receiving yards per game to go along with 11 touchdowns. The Tulsa, Okla., product broke the school’s single-game record with 237 receiving yards at Texas and reset that mark with 278 against Oklahoma.
Included in his game against the Sooners were 162 kickoff-return yards, as he broke the school record and posted the fifth-most all-purpose yards in FBS history with 440.
Waters, who was a community college transfer prior to the 2013 campaign, passed for 2,469 yards and 18 touchdowns during his first season in Manhattan. A native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Waters led the Wildcats to a 6-1 record during the final seven games, averaging 204.7 passing yards per game with 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
A former walk-on from Leawood, Mueller is coming off a stellar junior campaign in which he tied the school record with 11.5 sacks to go along with 18.5 tackles for loss. A Second-Team All-American, Mueller picked up Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year honors from the league’s coaches after ranking second in the league in both sacks and tackles for loss.
Semifinalists will be announced Nov. 3, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled Nov. 24. The winners of the 2014 Maxwell and Bednarik awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December on ESPN.