Following last season’s best turnaround in college football, Troy continues to reap the benefits of the record-setting 2016 season, as seven players have been named as contenders for national awards heading into the fall.
Senior quarterback Brandon Silvers highlights that list after he was placed on the watch list for four prestigious awards in the Davey O’Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Award, Maxwell Award and Allstate Sugar Bowl Manning Award.
Other Trojans who received recognition were receivers Deondre Douglas and Emmanuel Thompson, running back Jordan Chunn, center Deontae Crumitie, defensive end Seth Calloway and cornerback Blace Brown.
Silvers was one of 30 players in the country named as candidates for the O’Brien Award, which is given to the nation’s best quarterback and often goes hand-in-hand with the Heisman Trophy.
Silvers also joined 85 other hopefuls in the Maxwell Award watch list. Although dominated by quarterback winners in recent years, the award is given to “America’s College Player of the Year,” regardless of position.
Finally and most recently, Silvers was also added to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Manning Award, which is an award only for quarterbacks.
What makes it big news is that it takes into account the bowl performances of its candidates; something that other awards refrain from.
No player from Troy University or the Sun Belt has ever won any of these awards, but running backs Larry Rose III and Jalin Moore also made the Maxwell preseason watch.
Silvers tallied 23 touchdowns through the air in 2016 — ranked 35th nationally — which pushed his career total to 54. The Orange Beach native averaged just under 250 yards per game last season and heads into this season with 7,394 passing yards to his name during his time at Troy.
Next are a pair of Troy receivers who are on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the best receiver in college football.
Senior Emmanuel Thompson and junior Deondre Douglas are the lone Sun Belt players to make the list, with hopes that one of them will be the first conference player to bring the award back to Troy. The award watch list consists of any player eligible to catch a pass, not just wide receivers.
Thompson caught 80 passes in 2016, followed by Douglas’ 60, earning them both spots on the All-Sun Belt team. Thompson led the conference in receptions, while Douglas led the nation in receptions without dropping a single pass. The finalists for the Biletnikoff Award will be announced on Nov. 21.
Also playing a key role in Troy’s high-powered offense is senior Jordan Chunn, known to some as “MegaChunn.”
Chunn needs 12 more rushing touchdowns to tie the most-all-time record by a Sun Belt running back. If he can reach that tally, his chances are high for taking home the Doak Walker Award.
Helping Chunn reach that tally will be junior Denotae Crumitie, who was placed on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy.
That award goes to the best center in the nation, and considering the total of eight sacks given up by Cumitie and last year’s offensive line, Crumitie is a legitimate candidate.
On the defensive side of the ball, junior cornerback Blace Brown earned his spot on the watch list of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Brown was tied for first for most interceptions in the early weeks of the 2016 season, but ended the year at seventh place after picking off six passes, leading the Sun Belt.
The finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy is set to be announced on Nov. 16.
Rounding out the defensive candidates contending for an award is senior defensive end Seth Calloway, who will be competing for the Wuerffel Trophy through on-the-field play, community service and academic achievement.