TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It's that time of year again: time for two consecutive weeks of award watch-list unveilings, reminding us all that the start of the college football season is mercifully growing closer.
Kicking off a series of days of watch-list announcements for college football's top awards, the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards both officially revealed their own early candidates Monday. And while Florida State didn't have a player named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, there are three 'Noles featured among the student-athletes listed for the Bednarik.
Senior defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, senior linebacker Christian Jones and junior defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan are each on the watch list for a Bednarik Award given annually to college football's top defensive player.
Monday's announcement marks the second year in a row that Joyner's name is on this particular watch list. On the 2012 list of players, Joyner was grouped with former Seminoles standouts Brandon Jenkins and Xavier Rhodes, who both later became 2013 NFL Draft selections.
After considering an early exit to the NFL where he would have likely been selected like his former teammates, Joyner chose to return for his final season where he will be making a switch from safety to cornerback. In three seasons, Joyner has played in 41 games, racking up 128 tackles and six interceptions. He is also a stellar kick returner, with 1,150 career kick-return yards to his credit.
Jones enters his final year as one of the top outside linebackers in the entire country. The Winter Park, Fla. native is coming off a breakout junior year when he led the entire team in tackles with 95 total stops. For his career, Jones has played in 41 games with 169 total tackles and six sacks.
Jernigan is the only one of the 'Noles trio that isn't a returning full-time starter but that doesn't mean he didn't play starter's snaps in 2012. Playing on a deep and talented defensive line as a sophomore, Jernigan still registered eight tackles for loss and 46 total tackles. Jernigan is widely considered one of the top returning defensive tackles in the nation.
The watch-list countdown continues Tuesday with announcements for the Rimington Trophy and Mackey Award.