Watch Lists & Preseason Awards: Catch the fever!

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I’m going to take a break from the verbal sparring between the Sun-Times and Phillip Daniels. If you’re interested, it shouldn’t be hard to track down, and I reserve the right to tackle it when the dust settles.

As is customary in early summer, the Football Writers Association of America has started releasing their preseason watch lists, and a few Notre Dame players have been mentioned.

Starting guard (or potentially starting tackle) Trevor Robinson has been named to the 2010 Outland Trophy watch list, one of 63 lineman (offensive and defensive) to receive the honor. Also getting some preseason kudos is linebacker Manti Te’o, who was among 74 players on the watch list for the Bronco Nagurski award, given to the best defensive player in college football.

It’s interesting that both Robinson and Te’o are projected to make “the leap” this year from solid to potentially great players. As a third-year player entering a system seemingly tailor-made for his size and skill, many can see Robinson ready to become a difference maker on the offensive line. (Frankly, I’m surprised that Chris Stewart wasn’t mentioned on this list.) As for Te’o, I completely expect exponential gains from his freshman season, especially playing in a system that turns inside linebackers into tackling machines.

On the preseason All-American side of things, tight end Kyle Rudolph was listed as a first-team All-American, while Michael Floyd made the second team. Georgia wide out A.J. Green and Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles were listed as first-team wide receivers, and I could make an argument that Floyd should be listed in front of both of them, though Broyles’ production trumped Floyd’s who missed games due to injury.

All that said, watch lists and preseason All-American honors are nice, but they’re ultimately meaningless once the season kicks off.