The watch lists for the 2011 Walter Payton Award and 2011 Jim Thorpe award are out, getting everyone pumped that college football is aaaaaaalmost back. The Payton Award is given annually to the most outstanding player in the NCAA Division One Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA. Steve McNair, Tony Romo and Brian Westbrook are among the former Payton Award winners who went on to have successful careers in the NFL. Jeremy Moses of Stephen F. Austin won the 2010 edition of the award. The Thorpe Award is given annually to the country's best defensive back.
On the 20-player shortlist for the Payton award, only two schools have more than one player represented. Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and wide receiver Brandon Kaufman both made the list, while Liberty got both quarterback Mike Brown and wide receiver Chris Summers onto the list.
A total of 37 players made the watch list for the Thorpe Award, with an incredible 10 shortlisted players coming from the SEC. The poor Big East has only managed to get one player onto the shortlist, less than both the WAC and Conference-USA. Impressively, Alabama has three of the members of its starting secondary on the shortlist.
For more on the preseason college football awards watch lists, stay with this StoryStream.