Four Longhorns Named to 'Watch Lists'

Frank Okam and Tim Crowder (Will Gallagher/IT)

Texas sophomore RB Jamaal Charles is included in the annual Maxwell Award watch list, honoring the Collegiate Player of the Year, it was announced Tuesday. It was also announced that three Longhorn defensive players -- senior DE Tim Crowder, senior SS Michael Griffin and junior DT Frank Okam -- are on the Bednarik Award watch list, honoring the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year.

Jamaal Charles will try to become Texas' fourth winner Maxwell Award winner along with QB Vince Young (2005), RB Ricky Williams (1998) and LB/G Tommy Nobis (1965). Charles led all Texas RBs with 878 yards rushing and 11 TDs (No. 2 on UT's freshman list) on the way to Freshman All-America honors and Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2005. His mark of 7.4 YPC last season ranked third among the nation's top 100 rushers. He set a UT freshman rushing records for a debut game (135 yards against UL-Lafayette), a starting assignment (189 yards against Rice) and against OU (116). His 80-yard scoring run against the Sooners was the longest run by a Longhorn in the history of the Red River Rivalry and the second-longest ever by a Texas freshman.

But an ankle injury suffered in the OU game hobbled Charles for the next three games. He also endured significant cramping in his first attempt at a rebound at Oklahoma State. How limiting was Charles' ankle injury? Consider this: he had just 67 yards and no TDs on 16 carries (4.2 ypc) during a three-game stretch following the injury. He had 811 yards on 103 totes (7.9 ypc) and 11 TDs during the other ten contests.

Tim Crowder, Michael Griffin and Frank Okam are looking to become Texas' first recipient of the Bednarik Award.

A first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, Crwoder led the Horns with 20 QB pressures, while recording 50 tackles, nine TFL and three sacks. The Tyler native has started 34 consecutive games after taking over at left defensive end four games into his career. He is also a member of the Lombardi (nation's top lineman) and the Lott Trophy watch list (Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year).

Griffin, who was selected to various All-Big 12 teams last season and is also a member of the Nagurski Trophy (nation's top defensive player) and the Lott Trophy (Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year) watch lists, was the Longhorns' leading tackler with 124 and tied for the team lead with three interceptions in 2005. He finished UT's National Championship season by recording 23 tackles at Texas A&M, matching Texas' highest single-game tackle total since 1992, posting five tackles and blocking a punt that was recovered for a TD in the Big 12 Championship game and making a crucial interception in USC's end zone to help Texas defeat the Trojans 41-38.

Okam, who has already been recognized as a preseason Playboy All-American, followed up a Freshman All-America selection with second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2005. He more than doubled his production from the year before, posting 48 tackles, five TFL and 11 pressures.

The respective watch lists include a field of sixty candidates for each of these awards as selected by the Maxwell Football Club Advisory Committee.Additions and subtractions to the lists, based on player performance, will be made through out the 2006 football season.

Twelve semi-finalists for each award will be announced in October 2005 and the field will be trimmed to three finalists in November 2005. The winners of the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show that will be broadcast on ESPN in December 2006.

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