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Watch Lists: Golson, Russell and Smith earn mention

Notre Dame at USC

Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell makes an interception in front of USC receiver Marquise Lee (9) in the second quarter at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday, November 24, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Wally Skalij

A trio of Notre Dame football players find themselves on the watch list for some very impressive postseason awards. Quarterback Everett Golson is on the Maxwell Award’s watch list while junior cornerback KeiVarae Russell and sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith were both selected to the Bednarik’s watch list.

The Maxwell Award is given to college football’s player of the year while the Bednarik honors the defensive player of the year. Manti Te’o won both after the 2012 season.

That Golson finds himself on this list gives you an idea of the expectations for the rising senior quarterback, even after a season off. After drawing rave reviews for his workouts at the Elite 11 camp, where Golson is serving as a counselor, the Irish quarterback will be the engine that drives Notre Dame’s offense in 2014.

Both Russell and Smith are on this list based more on promise than production. Russell has started all 26 games of his college career at cornerback after joining the Irish as a running back. He had 51 tackles last season and eight pass breakups. Smith’s impressive freshman season had him finishing third on the team in tackles with 67 and second with 6.5 tackles for loss.

A slew of other watch list announcements are set for later this week.

Tue., July 8: Mackey Award/Rimington Trophy
Wed., July 9: Lou Groza Award/Ray Guy Award
Thurs., July 10: Bronko Nagurski Trophy/Outland Trophy
Fri., July 11: Jim Thorpe Award
Mon., July 14: Butkus Award/Rotary Lombardi Award
Tue., July 15: Biletnikoff Award
Wed., July 16: Davey O’Brien Award
Thurs., July 17: Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 18: Walter Camp Award