Persa, Browne make award watch lists

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern senior quarterback Dan Persa and senior defensive end Vince Browne were among those players listed when the first round of Maxwell Football Club preseason watch lists were announced Tuesday.
Persa is one of 66 candidates for the prestigious Maxwell Award, presented annually since 1937 to the top performing college football player in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
Browne appeared on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, bestowed each year on the nation's most outstanding defensive player. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald won the first two Bednarik Awards in consecutive seasons (1995-96) and is one of two individuals ever to claim the honor more than once.
Both Wildcats have received numerous accolades in advance of their senior seasons. After compiling nearly 3,500 yards of total offense in 10 games a year ago, Persa also was named to the 2011 Manning Award watch list -- an honor given to the top quarterback in the nation -- and was The Sporting News' choice as the preseason first-team All-Big Ten signal-caller.
Browne begins his final season NU ranked fifth all-time in career sacks (16.0) and ninth in tackles for loss (31.0) and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last year. He recently was tabbed No. 81 on's countdown of the top 100 college football players in the nation and like Persa was a preseason all-conference selection by The Sporting News.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced Oct. 31 with the field being narrowed to three finalists on Nov. 21. Winners will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 8.
The Maxwell and Bednarik Awards are members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 13-day period this month. Fifteen of the association's 21 awards select a preseason watch list. Following is the complete 2011 preseason watch list calendar:
Tue., July 5: Maxwell Award/Bednarik Award
Wed., July 6: Biletnikoff Award/Mackey Award
Thu., July 7: Lou Groza Award/Ray Guy Award
Fri., July 8: Bronko Nagurski Trophy/Outland Trophy
Mon., July 11: Jim Thorpe Award
Tue., July 12: Rotary Lombardi Award
Wed., July 13: Rimington Trophy
Thu., July 14: Butkus Award
Fri., July 15: Davey O'Brien Award/Doak Walker Award
Mon., July 18: Walter Camp Award