Alabama players make awards watch list

AJ McCarron and Eddie Lacy were both named to the Maxwell Award watch list Monday. The award is given to the country's most outstanding offensive player. Last year, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck took home the honor.

McCarron, who was often labeled a game-manager in his first year as the starting quarterback, threw for 2,634 yards and 16 touchdowns. His 147.3 quarterback efficiency rating was fourth-best in the SEC. Lacy was a backup to Heisman Trophy finalist Trent Richardson in 2011, but had a heavy hand in the offense when healthy. He ran for 674 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Lacy is the presumed starter at running back for the Tide this season.

The defense did even better in Monday's awards release. Nico Johnson, Robert Lester, C.J. Mosley and Jesse Williams were named to the Bednarik Award watch list, tied with LSU and Michigan State for the most nominees from any college. Last year, LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu won the award.

Johnson and Mosley figure to start at linebacker. Johnson finished fourth on the team in tackles last season and fourth in tackles for loss. Mosley tallied 37 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Lester's return to the Alabama secondary was big considering the losses of Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and De'Quan Menzie to the NFL. Lester rebounded from a strong sophomore campaign to finish sixth in tackles and tied for second on the team with two interceptions.

The Bednarik announcement made it two major watch lists with Williams' name on it. In May he was named to the Lott IMPACT Award Watch list, despite playing a new position this season. With the departure of Josh Chapman and Nick Gentry, Williams will likely slide into the nose tackle spot for the Tide.