The race for the best individual awards in college football this season will have standout players looking for rehearsals.
Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin won the Doak Walker Award as the country's best running back last season, while Alabama's Jerry Jeudy received the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the most outstanding receiver. Both players are back for their junior season.
Taylor commented on his bid for the award, citing the advice he had received from Baker Mayfield, a former Heisman Trophy winner, and Bryce Love, a former Doak Walker Award winner.
"What they've said about this award is that they're just out to try to win games," Taylor said. "Now I feel like I'm taking this into consideration. As long as I go out there and try to win games, everything will be in place. "
Taylor tries to become the first player to win the Doak Walker in two consecutive seasons since Darren McFadden in Arkansas in 2006-07. The only other player to win this award in consecutive years was Ricky Williams of Texas in 1997-98.
Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State in 2010-2011 was the only player to win the Biletnikoff Trophy two consecutive seasons.
Andre Szymt of Syracuse and Braden Mann of Texas A & M are also looking to win annual positions each season. Szymt won the Lou Groza Award as the best college kicker and Mann won the Ray Guy award as the best bettor of the game last year.
Some of the best preseason candidates for various college football awards:
HEISMAN TROPHY (best overall)
- Trevor Lawrence, Clemson: Lawrence's dominant performance in last year's college football playoffs sets the second-year quarterback as a Heisman favorite.
- Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama: The junior quarterback was Heisman's favorite for most of last season, but eventually finished second behind Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.
- Wisconsin improves its rankings from 8-5 last year
DAVEY O'BRIEN (upper quarter)
- Jake Fromm, Georgia: Fromm was ranked fifth in national efficiency last year and finished in the top 10 in this category each of the last two seasons.
- Trevor Lawrence, Clemson: He threw 30 touchdowns with just four interceptions as a freshman last season and was not eliminated in his last 169 tries.
- Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama: Tagovailoa was a finalist for this award last year while he pitched for 3,966 yards and 43 touchdowns with just six steals.
DOAK WALKER (top bearer)
- Eno Benjamin, State of Arizona: Benjamin racked up 1,642 yards in 300 races last season to win the honors of the Associated Press All-America's Third Team.
- Etienne Travis, Clemson: Etienne ran 1,658 yards and averaged 8.1 yards per race last season as a selection of the AP All-America side team.
- Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin: Taylor is eager to win 2,194 yards last year – 285 more than anyone else
BILETNIKOFF (top receiver)
- Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: Jeudy captured 68 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns in the second season of the season.
- Laviska Shenault, Colorado: Shenault played only nine games last year due to injury, but still managed 86 catches for 1,011 yards. He ranked fourth in the yards receiving per game.
- Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State: Wallace was one of three Biletnikoff finalists last season and won the second team, the AP All-America Honors team. He captured 86 passes for 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns, while finishing third in number of receptions per game.
OUTLAND (Upper Domestic Line Player)
- Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin: He is the leader of an offensive line that paves the way for Jonathan Taylor. The junior center is a third-year starter who earned the consensus of the first Big Ten all-season team last season.
- Walker Little, Stanford: Two years ago, Little became the first real Stanford rookie to play left-handed since 2000. He is now considered a junior as a likely first-round pick.
- Andrew Thomas, GA: This junior tackle is a third year starter who won the second All-America AP team last season.
BEDNARIK / NAGURSKI (separate awards for the best general defender)
- Grant Delpit, LSU: Delpit was a finalist at Nagurski and won the first AP All-America team honors as a second season last season.
- A J. Epenesa, Iowa: Epenesa has just finished a 2018 season during which he has collected 16½ tackles for defeat and 10 ½ sacks.
- Chase Young, State of Ohio: Young had 15 ½ tackles against 10 losses and 10 sacks last year.
- Paddy Fisher, Northwestern: Fisher has collected at least 113 tackles and has forced four fumbles in each of the last two seasons. He won the honors of the third AP All-America team last year.
- Dylan Moses, Alabama: Moses was one of three finalists for this award last season, having collected 86 tackles, including 10 by defeat.
- Isaiah Simmons, Clemson: This converted safety registered a team record with 97 tackles for the national champions last year. He had 9 and a half shots for the loss and seven assists late in the game.
JIM THORPE (first defender)
- Grant Delpit, LSU: Delpit had 74 tackles, five sacks and five interceptions last season. He hopes to follow former teammate LSU Greedy Williams, finalist of the Thorpe Award last year.
- Bryce Hall, Va: Hall led the country to the passing of the passes (22) and tied for the lead defending passes (24) last season.
- C.J. Henderson, Florida: This junior cornerback has already made 18 career starts. He made a decisive interception against South Carolina and scored 1½ tackle against the loss in a Puck Bowl win over Michigan.
JOHN MACKEY (tight end)
- Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri: He was a finalist for this award last year, although his injuries have limited him to nine games. Okwuegbunam has 17 touchdowns in the past two seasons.
- Colby Parkinson, Stanford: This junior has 11 career shots. He captured four touchdown passes against Oregon State last November.
- Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt: This fifth-year senior completes a season in which he captured 50 passes for 774 yards and seven touchdowns.
LOU GROZA (top kicker)
- Rodrigo Blankenship, GA: Blankenship made 14 ball attempts on a straight shot during a stretch last season and had a career of 55 yards.
- Cooper Rothe, Wyoming: Last year, Rothe was a finalist of the Groza Award. He scored 16 times on 17 attempts and 28 of 28 points.
- Andre Szymt, Syracuse: He won the Groza Award and was the first team of the AP All-American last year. He was 30 on 34 field attempts with a long of 54.
RAY GUY (best bettor)
- Braden Mann, Texas A & M: Defending champion Ray Guy averaged 51 yards per attempt and 19 shots inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
- James Smith, Cincinnati: Smith was a Ray-Guy Award finalist last year. He scored an average of 46.6 yards per punt and scored 20 of his 59 attempts from 20 of his opponents.
- Brandon Wright, Georgia State: His average of 48.2 yards per punt last season set a Sun Belt record.