Three Washington State Cougars received spots on two national college football preseason award watch lists, the Maxwell Football Club announced on Monday.
Quarterback Luke Falk and offensive lineman Cody O’Connell both made the list for National Player of the Year, while defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa was named to the Bednarik Award Watch List – given to the nation’s top defensive player.
Falk, a redshirt senior, was one of 18 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award last season after throwing for the third most yards in the country (4,468) and tying a school record with 38 touchdown passes. He was on the second team for All-Pac-12.
O’Connell, a redshirt senior, was a unanimous All-American and a finalist for the Outland Trophy last season. O’Connell was rated the second-best offensive lineman in the country in 2016 by Pro Football Focus. He made the All-Pac-12 first team.
Mata’afa was All-Pac-12 second team last season averaging 13.5 tackles per game with five sacks. The redshirt junior enters 2017 with 24.5 career tackles for loss, second among active Pac-12 players.