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Luke Falk, Cody O'Connell, and Hercules Mata'afa named to pre-season award watch lists

The watch lists Monday were just two of the 16 to be released

Idaho v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Three Washington State Cougars found themselves on pre-season award watch lists that were released on Monday. Luke Falk and Cody O'Connell were named to the Maxwell Award watch list while Hercules Mata'afa landed on the Bednarik Award watch list. Monday was the first day of a two week releasing of all 16 pre-season watch lists.

The Maxwell Award is given to the player of the year in college football and it is not a surprise to see Falk on the list. The Cougar quarterback threw for 4,468 yards and 38 touchdowns last season while completing 70% of his passes. With most of the offensive line and a new range of receivers to throw to, Falk should be able to duplicate and better those numbers this season.

While Falk has been a name that many Cougar fans have known for a while, Cody O’Connell burst onto the scene last year. After earning himself unanimous All-American honors and being named a finalist for the Outland trophy (best interior lineman) O’Connell decided to return for his senior year to finish what he started in a Cougar uniform.

Washington and Washington State are the only teams in the conference to have two players listed on the Maxwell Award watch list as a total of 11 made it from the Pac-12.

Hercules Mata’afa was named to the Bednarik Award pre-season watch list for the second year in a row. The award is given to the top defensive player in college football. Mata’afa has definitely earned the right to be on the watch list. He finished last season with a team high five sacks and was 5th in the Pac-12 with 13.5 tackles for a loss. Mata’afa was named All-Pac-12 second team by the Associated Press, Phil Steele, and the Pac-12 last season.

Mata’afa joins 12 other Pac-12 athletes on the Bednarik Award watch list.

Every week day until July 21st, the National College Football Awards Association will be releasing the remaining 14 pre-season award watch lists. The John Mackey Award and the Rimington Award watch lists will be released today at 7:00 am PT.

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