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Three Tigers named semifinalist for national awards

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA;  Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) makes a signal to the crowd after a touchdown during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award and Tiger defenders Christian Wilkins and Cordrea Tankersley are both semifinalists for the Bednarik Award.

The announcements were made by Maxwell Football Club President Ron Jaworski on Monday.

The Maxwell Award is presented each year to the Collegiate Player of the Year, while the Bednarik Award is presented to the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Each award has a list of 18 semifinalists. Voting is conducted throughout the nation by head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media.

Watson was a finalist for the Maxwell Award last year. So far this year the Tigers quarterback has led Clemson to an 8-0 record and No. 3 national ranking in both polls. He has completed 191 of 301 passes for 2,328 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has thrown for 378 yards and gained over 400 yards of total offense in each of the last two games.

The 2015 consensus All-America quarterback averages 332 yards of total offense per game.

Wilkins has 41 tackles, including a team best 10 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks so far this year. The sophomore defensive end has also made a big contribution to Clemson in terms of special teams and on offense. He caught a touchdown pass from Watson in the win over Troy and had a 10-yard run on a fake punt against NC State. He also blocked a field goal in that overtime victory.

Tankersely has been the senior leader of a Clemson secondary that ranks fourth in the nation in pass efficiency defense. He has 34 tackles, including five tackles for loss and has a team best seven passes deflected from his starting cornerback position. Tankersley is also under consideration for the Thorpe Award.

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