The Indiana defense will likely lead the way for the Hoosiers in 2017 (what a sentence), so it’s no surprised to see defensive standouts Tegray Scales and Rashard Fant on award watch lists of all sorts heading into the year.
Scales earned the brunt of the recognition, starting by being recognized as a Big Ten Player to Watch at the media days, one of 10 players in the conference to receive the recognition.
Scales also earned spots on the Butkus and Bednarik Award watch lists, given to the top linebacker and defensive player in the nation, respectively. Similarly, Scales was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List, an award that “purports to equally recognize the personal character of the winning player as well as his athletic excellence”
Both Scales and Fant were named to the Bronko Nagurski Award watch list, one of the more prestigious awards given to the best defensive player in the country. Fant was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch list, given to the top defensive back.
He was also named to the Wuerffel and Allstate AFCA Good Works watch lists, both awards of which factor both on-field performance and community service off the field as well as academic achievements.
Richard Lagow was named to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list, given to the top quarterback in the country. Nick Westbrook, meanwhile, earned a spot on the Biletnikoff Award watch list, which recognizes the top wide receiver in the country.
Lastly, Devonte Williams earned a spot on the Hornung Award watch list, one of the more unique awards. The award is given to players who start or play significant downs on offense or defense while candidates will be measured on:
- Playing multiple positions on offense and/or multiple positions on defense
- Playing a significant role on special teams
- Performing as a two-way player who starts either on offense or defense and is used on the other side of the ball in some capacity
- Making a significant impact during big games and elevating the team's performance through leadership displayed by excelling in multiple roles
To be clear, though, the award was given to Jabril Peppers last year, so there’s plenty of leeway.