LUBBOCK, Texas – The first official watch lists for the 2021 football season were unveiled Monday morning with Texas Tech senior linebacker Colin Schooler landing on the Bednarik Award and junior wide receiver Erik Ezukanma named a preseason candidate for the Maxwell Award.
The two watch lists were announced as part of the National College Football Awards Association schedule, which will reveal the preseason candidates for 16 different awards through July 30. The schedule moves to the Davey O’Brien Award on Tuesday.
This the first career appearance for Ezukanma on the Maxwell Award watch list, which is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding player. Schooler, who transferred to Texas Tech from Arizona prior to the 2020 campaign, was tabbed to the Bednarik Award watch list for the second time in his career as he was previously recognized prior to his 2019 junior season.
Schooler represents one of the most experienced linebackers in the country entering this season as leads all active FBS players with 375 career tackles and 51.0 career tackles for a loss. Schooler is a four-time All-Conference honoree after garnering honorable mention accolades three times at Arizona and then again this previous season with the Red Raiders.
Ezukanma, meanwhile, was one of three Red Raiders on the preseason All-Big 12 team last week as the Fort Worth native leads all returning conference wide receivers in receiving yards per game (74.8) from a year ago. Ezukanma has led the Red Raiders in receiving yards in each of the last two seasons, becoming the first Red Raider underclassman to do so since two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree in 2007-08.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced Nov. 1 followed by its three finalists on Nov. 22. The winners of both the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held Dec. 9.