Three Tigers land on awards watch lists

Jake Terry
LSU's Jalen Mills (left) and Kendell Beckwith (right). Photo by

LSU sophomore running back Leonard Fournette was named to the 79th annual Maxwell Award watch list, while LSU senior safety Jalen Mills and junior linebacker Kendell Beckwith were named to the 21st annual Chuck Bednarik Award watch list, the Maxwell Football Club announced Tuesday.

The Maxwell Award is presented each season to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937, and the Bednarik Award is given to the College Defensive Player of the Year.

Fournette made an immediate impact as a true freshman in 2014 when he set the LSU freshman rushing record with 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Fournette, who also handled kickoff returns last season, led the Southeastern Conference in all-purpose yards at 137.4 per game, and he ranked fourth in the league in kickoff returns at 26.0 per return.

Mills enters his senior season having started all 39 games in his career, racking up 186 tackles and six interceptions.

The Desoto, Texas native will begin his second season as a starter at safety after spending his first two seasons as a starting cornerback.

Last season, Mills finished with 62 tackles, five pass breakups, three tackles for a loss, two quarterback hurries, one interception and one fumble recovery.

Beckwith, who started the final seven games of the 2014 season, enters his first full season as the starting middle linebacker after he accumulated 77 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, three pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one interception that he returned 29 yards for a touchdown last year.

A gifted athlete, Beckwith will serve as a leader for the Tigers’ stout defense that ended 2014 ranked No. 1 in the SEC in total defense and No. 2 in scoring defense.

Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced Nov. 2, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled Nov. 23. The winners of both awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 10 in Atlanta.