Berry, McCoy, Foster, Crompton on watch lists
Jonathan Crompton hasn't started a game since Nov. 11, 2006 but he's still one of 75 players on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the NCAA's outstanding player. Vol tailback Arian Foster also is among the preliminary-list candidates announced today by the Maxwell Football Club.
Although he has very limited college experience, Crompton has a decent shot at the Maxwell Award. That's because it has gone to a quarterback seven times in the past eight years Recent winners include QBs Drew Brees (Purdue) in 2000, Ken Dorsey (Miami) in 2001, Eli Manning (Ole Miss) in 2003, Jason White (Oklahoma) in 2004, Vince Young (Texas) in 2005, Brady Quinn (Notre Dame) in 2006 and Tim Tebow (Florida) in 2007.
Crompton, a 6-4, 230-pounder from Waynesville, N.C., completed 7 of 12 passes for 97 yards as a sophomore last fall. As a redshirt freshman in 2006 he completed 31 of 66 passes for 401 yards. He made his only college start that season, directing the Vols in a loss at Arkansas.
Foster, a 6-1, 225-pound senior from San Diego, rushed for 1,193 yards as a junior last season. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry and scored 12 touchdowns. An excellent receiver out of the backfield, he also caught 39 passes for 340 yards and two more TDs.
The Maxwell Football Club also announced the 75-man watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given annually to college football's premier defensive player. Two Vols are on this list, as well – safety Eric Berry and linebacker Rico McCoy.
Berry, a 5-11, 200-pounder from Fairburn, Ga., started all 14 games as a Vol freshman last fall, registering 86 tackles and 5 interceptions. He racked up 222 return yards on his picks and added another 55 return yards on two fumble recoveries. He shared the team lead in big plays for '07 with 14.
McCoy, a 6-1, 215-pounder from Washington D.C., ranked second on the team with 106 tackles last season. He also recorded 5 pass breakups, 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a quarterback hurry, an interception and a fumble forced.
Like Crompton, McCoy is at a distinct advantage because of the position he plays. Linebackers have won the Bednarik Award 10 times in its 13-year history. Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald doubled in 1995 and '96, Texas A&M's Dat Nguyen won in '98 and Penn State's LaVar Arrington prevailed in '99. Other 'backers to take home the prize were Miami's Dan Morgan in 2000, Maryland's E.J. Henderson in 2002, Oklahoma's Teddy Lehman in 2003, Penn State's Paul Posluszny in 2005 and 2006 and Penn State's Dan Conner in '07.
The Maxwell and Bednarik Awards are voted on by college head coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club and assorted sportswriters and sportscasters.
The list of candidates for the 2008 awards will be trimmed to the semifinalists in early November, then to three finalists on Nov. 25. The formal presentation of the awards will be made March 6, 2009 at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala at Harrah's in Atlantic City.