As the calendar progresses and hurdles toward another late-summer college football season, it’s no surprise to see the two-time defending SEC East division champions begin to rack up the preseason accolades.
Senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers has put in a lot of hard work for the Tiger team over the past several seasons. That hard work is finally being acknowledged on a national level as the Maxwell Club announced on Tuesday that Brothers is on the preseason watch list for the 2015 Bednarik Award, the premier award given annually to the nation’s top defender.
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One might see the list of names that includes some of the top talent from the SEC and assume that Brothers is just another guy in the mix. But he is the SEC’s leading returning tackler, something that gives him a leg up in experience. When former linebacker Andrew Wilson was in his senior season in 2013, he spoke about how Brothers was a solid understudy who simply “got” the game. Well, all that time spent studying has paid off, as Brothers is a legitimate threat to become a finalist and even win this award.
On the offensive side of the ball, the most productive returning backfield in the SEC, both quarterback and running back, were honored with nods on the preseason Maxwell Award watch list. Senior running back Russell Hansbrough and junior quarterback Maty Mauk were both named to this prestigious list. Both will try to follow up the 2014 winner, Marcus Mariota.
Without question, being named to these Maxwell Club lists helps to highlight each player’s individual effort. But it’s the collective fruit harvested by the whole Tiger team that will help push individual success to a much higher level.
Mizzou athletes have shined and excelled recently, and this newest batch of preseason names is encouraging to see for those who may be fearful about the likes of Markus Golden and Shane Ray moving on. But indeed, they were once in the shadow of players above them as well. This year’s star player or players may not even be someone from these lists. But being on either one of them is a great place to start.
The Tiger football season begins on Saturday September 5 as Mizzou welcomes an in-state FCS team, the Southeast Missouri Redhawks from Cape Girardeau.