Clemson defensive tackles Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins are two of eight Atlantic Coast Conference players on the 2017 preseason watch list for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, which was announced on Friday.
The eight ACC players ties for the highest from any conference. Clemson is the only school to have two players on the list.
Wilkins (6-4, 310) and Lawrence (6-5, 340) are being coveted by just about every preseason All-American team and preseason watch list. Recently, the two joined Clemson offensive linemen Tyrone Crowder and Mitch Hyatt to the Outland Trophy Watch list. Wilkins and Lawrence were also named to the Bednarik Award watch list as the nation’s best defensive player, while Wilkins is on the Maxwell Award watch list which goes to the best overall player in the country.
In 2016, Wilkins moved to defensive end where he created a lot of havoc for opposing offensive tackles. He finished the year with 56 tackles and was second on the team with 13 tackles for loss. He was also second on the team in pass breakups as he knocked down 10 passes – the most by any defensive lineman or linebacker in the country.
Wilkins moved back to defensive tackle this spring.
As for Lawrence, he had 78 tackles from his nose tackle position and set a Clemson freshman record with 9.5 tackles for loss as well as freshman record 7 sacks. He also had 23 quarterback pressures, second on the team.
The 2016 Walter Camp Player of the Year, Louisville junior quarterback Lamar Jackson, headlines the 2017 Watch List. Jackson accounted for 5,114 total yards and 51 touchdowns in 2016 for the Cardinals. The youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy, Jackson was also named as the 2016 National Player of the Year by CBSports.com, The Sporting News and the Maxwell Award.
The ACC has had the most players nominated on preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award (top defensive player), the Outland (top interior lineman) and Nagurski (top defensive player) Trophies, the Mackey (top tight end), Groza (top placekicker) and Hornung (most versatile) Awards and tied for the most players chosen for the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back), the Wuerffel Trophy (service) and the Walter Camp.
In all, 92 ACC players have totaled 165 appearances on preseason watch lists.
The Walter Camp watch list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists in mid-November. The 2017 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, which is voted on by the 130 NCAA Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced on Thursday, December 7. The winner will then receive the trophy at the Foundation’s 51st annual national awards banquet on January 13, 2018 in New Haven.
ACC Players Selected to the 2017 Preseason Walter Camp Award Watch List:
Name Position School Cl. Hometown
Deondre Francois QB Florida State So.-R Orlando, Fla.
Quadree Henderson WR-PR-KR Pitt Jr. Wilmington, Del.
Lamar Jackson QB Louisville Jr. Louisville, Ky.
Derwin James DB-KR Florida State So. Haines City, Fla.
Harold Landry DE Boston College Sr. Spring Lake, N.C.
Dexter Lawrence DT Clemson So. Wake Forest, N.C.
Mark Walton RB Miami Jr. Miami, Fla.
Christian Wilkins DT-FB Clemson Jr. Springfield, Mass.
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