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Minnesota Football: Rodney Smith and Thomas Barber named to preseason award watch lists

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Both are believed to have as good a chance at winning the awards as anyone else in college football

NCAA Football: Maryland at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year again! When the selection committees for the various college football awards close their eyes and throw darts at the list of players at each position, assembling a preseason “watch list” that will all but be rendered meaningless by the midpoint of the actual season.

Then again, #OffseasonContent.

Redshirt senior running back Rodney Smith has been named to the preseason watch lists for both the Maxwell Award and the Doak Walker Award. The former is awarded annually to the best all-around college football player in the country, and the latter is awarded annually to the premier running back in all of college football.

Smith rushed for 977 yards and three touchdowns last season, following a breakout sophomore campaign that saw him amass 1,158 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.

Junior linebacker Thomas Barber has been named to the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is awarded annually to the best defensive player in college football.

Barber was one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten last season, leading the team with 115 total tackles, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one interception.