Oklahoma football: Four Sooners make first wave of preseason award watch lists

With the countdown to kickoff of the new college football season now under 60 days, the first order of business at the stage of the offseason is the annual Media Days event hosted by the Power Five conferences. It is also the time in the offseason when the cascade of preseason award watch lists, which always manage to include a number of Oklahoma football players, begin rolling out.

So far, the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award and the Bednarik Award have been revealed, with a pair of Sooners on both award watch lists for the coming 2017 season.

Oklahoma junior offensive tackle Orlando Brown and two-time Heisman Trophy finalist Baker Mayfield, the OU starting quarterback the last two seasons, are candidates for the Maxwell Award, which has been presented annually since 1937 to the College Football Player of the Year.

Redshirt senior linebacker Ogbonnia “Obo” Okoronkwo and senior defensive back Jordan Thomas are preseason candidates for the Bednarik Award, which honors the Defensive Player of the Year in college football.

This is the 81st year for the Maxwell Award. Two former Sooners are previous winners of the award (Tommy McDonald in 1956 and Jason White in 2004). The Bednarik Award is a newer individual award, introduced in 1995. Only one Oklahoma player is a past winner of the Bednarik Award. Linebacker Teddy Lehman was the recipient of the award in 2003. Both individual honors are administered by the Maxwell Football Club.

Later this week, the preseason watch lists for the John Mackey Award (outstanding tight end), Lou Groza Award (top placekicker), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player) and the Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back) will be announced.