Top-end talent is not an issue for the Michigan Wolverines this season.
The Maxwell Football Club released its preseason watch lists Monday morning for the Maxwell Award for College Player of the Year and the Bednarik Award for Defensive Player of the Year. Five Wolverines made the cut.
Presumed starting running back Karan Higdon and transfer quarterback Shea Patterson are on the club’s radar for the Maxwell, while Devin Bush, Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich all populate the Bednarik list.
The five players combined between the two lists are more than any other Big Ten school. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Northwestern each have three, while Ohio State (Nick Bosa appears on both lists) and Penn State tie with many others with just two.
Since 2000, 15 quarterbacks won the Maxwell, including Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Two of those quarterbacks were transfers — Mayfield started at Texas Tech while Cam Newton originally played for Florida — so there is recent precedent for Shea Patterson. To be the rare running back winner, Karan Higdon would most likely need to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing, just as previous winners Larry Johnson and Derrick Henry did.
The only Michigan winners are Desmond Howard in 1991 and Tom Harmon in 1940.
Either Bush, Gary or Winovich look to take home the Bednarik for Michigan for the first time since Charles Woodson in 1997.
Previous defensive end winners all eclipsed double-digit sacks, which isn’t too far of a stretch for either Gary or Winovich. For Bush, a 100-plus tackle linebacker last year, he likely needs to replicate those numbers with more “disruptive” stats like tackles for losses and sacks.
Do you think a Michigan player will win either award? If not one of them, who?